immune boosters

as we are right in the middle of winter cold & flu season, i thought i would post some tips that have really helped us stay healthy. these are just a few things that i personally have found preserved my kids health as well as my own. i am not a huge fan of medication for the kids & because i have been pregnant or breastfeeding the past few years, i have not been able to utilize conventional defenses or medications once sick and so it became my project this winter to keep us all healthy, all of the time. and to my surprise any of the below tips have worked far better than anything i have ever bought at a pharmacy.
  • exercise: keeping active increases your circulation by 5x which helps move those immune fluids up to 5x more than if you were not active (this is just maintaining 30 minutes of activity throughout the day - without that activity, your immune fluids may circulate just once throughout your body during the day)
  • fresh air: even if it's just opening the kid's bedroom windows for a few minutes before bed, it really helps increase the amount of oxygen in your system, which powers your immune system
  • sleep: well rested kids, are not only happy kids, they are healthy kids. i always have to remind myself of this truth when i feel the pressure to clean or tidy while they are napping. i should be resting (especially if i feel like i am coming down with something). an early bedtime for mom, is a gift for everyone!
  • manage your stress: nothing is worse for your immune system than stress. so adapt healthy ways of coping. i personally love our hot tub just before bed or a hot bath (also good at blasting out germs - it imitates a fever which puts your body on guard). i also just love reading - it takes my mind to another world. taking a deep breath also does wonders (and increases oxygen) or a good 10 minutes of stretching. a darn good giggle works to. learning to make relaxing apart of your daily routine is difficult when you have little ones but it's worth it.
  • eat well everyday: this one is probably the most difficult to maintain in a busy lifestyle. while asking a pharmacist to guide me to the best super vitamin i could take, he said just eat a lot of blueberries & drink a ton of water. i guess most multivitamins don't get digested properly and that makes them ineffective & expensive. so with that new philosophy in mind, i make sure my kids eat tons & tons of blueberries, strawberries, oranges...any high fibre, probiotic & organic food. it also helps to limit your intake of refined sugar and overly processed foods (refined sugars contribute to an increase in 'bad' bacteria, which can weaken your immune system). so home cooked and limited sugar is best. slipping veggies into everything and learning to cook all veggies with the most nutritional value intact has also been helpful (no need to eat a carrot that has had all of the nutrition boiled out of it). i add flaxseed (but be careful, it is a diarrhetic), wheat germ & ground sunflower seeds to everything from muffins to yogurt to baby food. they add fibre & omega fats which boost immune function. you can get just about any vitamins you need from just having a salad for lunch & fruit for breakfast. having said this i do give davith the jameson brand chewable vitamin (brand with least amount sugar) and chewable calcium. the twins get a liquid vitamin supplement as liquid is much easier to digest. and i just take vitamin D through the winter (it helps improve mood) & liquid iron while pregnant or breastfeeding (boosts my energy).
  • taking my "gos-pills": so cheesy, i know! but it works! i find the better my relationship with God is, the better my relationship with the world is. reading the word is a spiritual defense that protects my mind & my body. i have also, personally, found that speaking in tongues has been a great defense too. while doing it, i don't always feel the immediate benefit, but i know somewhere down the line i will reap a benefit tenfold, spiritually & physically. i have really felt strongly since having kids to make a habit out of practicing the presence of God. as i am sure most mom's can relate, there may or may not be a set time to just sit down uninterrupted and so i do it on the go, while i am feeding babies & changing diapers (practicing the presence of God by brother lawerence was a huge inspiration)
below is an article i found good on specific benefits to specific foods (i always find i can motivate myself to eat just about anything if i know what the benefit is): http://hubpages.com/hub/top-immune-system-boosters

hope that helps! it's kept us well all winter long, which is a first for the wilkins clan. it's a lot of work, especially during the winter when my natural inclination is to hibernate in a cave of sugar, but i cannot even imagine what the alternative would have been like!

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