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Support Your Family

Support Your Family's Immunity

Don't let a fall cold get the best of your family. Here are five ways to nourish everyone's immune system.

Get adequate sleep.
Sleep is vital for both short-term and long-term health. The body does important work while it's asleep, including producing infection-fighting antibodies and cells. Too little sleep leaves us susceptible to illness -- in fact, a recent study finds that fewer than six hours a night may quadruple your risk for colds. Make quality sleep a priority and aim for at least seven or eight hours a night. School-aged children need 9 to 11 hours a night, while teenagers need 8 to 10 hours.

Load up on colorful fruits and veggies.
Vitamins A, C, and E and minerals like selenium and zinc are all critical for supporting healthy immunity, so in addition to a daily multivitamin or immune-support formula, enjoy a wholesome diet rich in these nutrients. It's particularly important during cold and flu season to get plenty of immune-boosting antioxidants, so include lots of brightly fruits and veggies in your diet every day.

Add some extra vitamin C.
While vitamin C may not prevent the common cold, research finds that taking vitamin C regularly may help reduce a cold's severity and duration. Several key immune system cells need vitamin C to function properly, and a deficiency of this vitamin may reduce resistance against certain pathogens. Vitamin C is available in foods like citrus, berries, peppers, and broccoli. It's also available as individual supplements and is commonly included in immune-support formulas.

Get moving.
Regular exercise protects against a variety of diseases and contributes to overall wellness. While research examining the link between exercise and immunity is ongoing, experts say that it's reasonable to consider moderate regular exercise to be an important means for keeping your immune system healthy.

Chill out.
In today's fast-paced world, parents are stressed out, kids are bogged down with too many extra-curricular commitments, and everyone suffers. Stress affects children the same way as adults -- when the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline rise, the body's immune response decreases. In order for everyone's immune system to thrive, both adults and children need lots of downtime and plenty of rest.

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