It is a great time of year to improve the health of your family. While preparing for the coming school year, it can take only a few moments to identify simple steps that will substantially improve your family’s wellness and make your life simpler.
Sleep is important – I consider it an essential nutrient. Some medical studies show that decreased sleep can increase your chances of getting a cold. Healthy amounts of sleep also improve mood and support weight loss. Keeping regular bed times and avoiding stimulating activities (i.e. movies, wild play, caffeine, and sugar) before bed can go a long way to getting your family to bed at a reasonable hour and waking refreshed.
Vitamin D is important for both neurological and immune function. Vitamin D is produced in the skin when exposed to direct sunlight – something that does not occur in cooler months of the year. 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day is safe for adults and children older than 12 months.
Healthy food is the cornerstone of good health. Most people know that vegetables, fruits and whole grains are health foods, but many don’t realize the many negative effects of refined carbohydrates. Beyond encouraging obesity, refined sugars cause emotional agitation and reduce immune function; some studies show that sugar, honey, and maple syrup reduce the ability of white blood cells to destroy bacteria by as much as 50%! Simply reducing – it is not necessary to eliminate – intake of refined carbohydrates can have many positive health effects for your family.
Imagine what your family’s school year could be like with less illness and irritability. Imagine how this can improve your stress level and support the time and energy required for raising a family and having fulfilling relationships. Sometimes, great changes can result from the simplest of interventions.