The back to school season is thoroughly upon us, and you may have noticed your child has brought home more than tonight’s homework. Often the first problem people come across after their bouncing well-holidayed kiddy-winks are back to school is the sudden influx of back-to-school bugs, viruses and general immune system mayhem.
You can boost your child’s immune system through a good well balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, with their bodies being filled to the brim with plenty of vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and the likes.
With a whole new routine, early mornings, lots of new information being thrown at them and then their after school activities to top it off, children need as much energy and brain support as they can get their hands on!
That’s why we’ve wrangled a few tips on how to help keep your kid’s concentration and learning abilities up, and not having them fall asleep 15 minutes into class!
Make sure your backpack is zipped and your shoes are tied: we’re about to run through 4 Back to School Supplements to help support your child’s immune system, energy levels and concentration.
1. Children’s Multivitamin and Mineral Formula
Taken alongside a well-balanced diet, multivitamin and mineral supplements can be great for giving additional support to your child’s diet to help ensure those vitamin and mineral levels are well topped-up and maintained to help avoid any nutritional deficiencies.
With all the new information and new routines being thrown at them, a decent multi-vitamin will help give your kids the nutrients they need to support their action-packed days and help them from becoming very fatigued both mentally and physically.
I’m not suggesting that stuffing your child full of vitamin pills is the solution the good health, but that being said, a good diet isn’t always easy to maintain in a child!
You know yourself—some children are fussy eaters, others will eat anything, and those who are very lucky will find their child enjoys eating green leafy veggies and oily fish on a regular daily basis!
Incorporating highly nutritious foods regularly into your child’s diet can be more difficult when your little sprogs are not so fond of eating fruit, vegetables or fish; but these are the foods that contain so many important nutrients. They not only keep you from being hungry but also increase energy levels, support brain function and concentration and help encourage growth and development. To ensure your kids are getting these essential nutrients, a good multivitamin can do the world of good.
Various studies have been done on children’s IQ scores, concentration and performance and overall behaviour, and these studies have shown much improvement can be made with the simple addition of a daily multivitamin to a child’s diet.
2. Vitamin D for Kids
The recommended intake of Vitamin D for Children is between 400IU – 1000IU daily for children aged 1-18 years old.
One of Vitamin D’s main jobs is to help absorb calcium from foods. This contributes to building strong healthy bones and teeth which is essential for growing children.
Vitamin D also supports the maintenance of a healthy immune system making it a very important vitamin when your little ones are heading back to school.
The most obvious place to source Vitamin D from is from the sun, however in Ireland we don’t get nearly enough to rely on to keep our levels up throughout the year, so it’s important to get it elsewhere.
Food sources include cod liver oil, egg yolks, fortified milk, fish, such as salmon mackerel and sardines, liver, butter and vitamin D enhanced mushrooms. It should be noted that food sources of Vitamin D are not always a reliable source and you may not get enough to prevent Vitamin D deficiency.
It’s advised that you get a blood test done before supplementing with Vitamin D to both check your levels to know how much you should take, but also to know if you have a deficiency or not. You could need a higher dosage if you’re already deficient. Check out the blog What’s the scoop on Vitamin D here for more info.
Because we know that cod liver oil and egg yolks aren’t always on the top of the kid’s menu, liquid D Drops are one of the more popular options as they are fast absorbing and proven to deliver this vital vitamin into the blood stream fast and effectively.
Probiotics are the good or ”friendly bacteria” that live in the intestinal tract. These friendly bacteria are essential for the body to function properly and maintain your overall health.
Bad bacteria on the other hand can cause intestinal microflora imbalances that can lead to general un-wellness, including sickness, thrush, digestive problems, IBS symptoms and even skin problems.
Most often there imbalances are caused from poor diet choices, with high sugar intake, low fibre foods and/or not enough good bacteria (e.g sauerkraut, kerfir, natural yoghurt) or good bacteria supporting foods in the diet (e.g artichokes, onion, garlic).
However lifestyle and environmental factors can also affect our friendly bacteria levels, including stress, both mental and physical, but also from outside sources like pollution and secondary smoking; along with antibiotic use and not enough sleep.
For small children aged between 0 and 5 years old, Udo’s’ choice have an Infants blend powder which can easily be added to formula or any liquid as part of a meal. It’s a really easy way to add in probiotics and ensures your kids will receive a minimum of 3 billion viable/active cells and 6 strains of healthy bacteria.
For children aged between 5 and 15 years, a children’s blend is available also from Udo’s choice. Within this formula there are 5 Billion viable/active cells and 7 strains of healthy bacteria.
A child’s healthy microflora will closely resemble that of an adult, but due to their smaller size, children need much smaller quantities of the same bacteria.
The intake of these friendly bacteria will help limit the influence of unfavourable bacteria, aid absorption of minerals, promote regular bowel movements and support their immune system. See my blogs on gut health here and here for more info to improve gut health with food.
4. Omega Oils
Omega-3 fatty acids have been well studied for their role in the support of many systems in the body, but one of the most studied is in the area of brain function.
Growing brains and bodies need constant nourishment from a variety of foods to obtain the nutrients needed for growth and development, and Omega 3 is one of them.
Omega 3 intake has been shown to improve cognitive function, including hand-eye coordination, attention span, social skills, behaviour, attention and intelligence test scores. They have even been linked to strengthened immune systems, having mood-boosting effects and reducing hyperactivity.
Good examples of Omega- 3 rich foods include oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, and in a variety of nuts and seeds including walnuts, flax, chia, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Unfortunately children are often consuming much more omega-6 found in pastries, crisps, biscuits, margarine and processed foods instead of the more beneficial omega 3. This imbalance can cause their brains to can become sluggish, which ultimately affects their ability to concentrate and learn, and sometimes even their behaviour.
Providing them with a natural pure fish oil or algae oil will boost their intake of these beneficial fats at the recommended levels, and ensure they are not deficient in these essential fatty acids.
For under-fives, you should look for supplements with higher DHA levels as these are important for the proper development of the brain, eyes, and nervous and immune systems.
Older kids require higher levels of EPA which helps to support cardiovascular, joint, skin, immune and brain health.
Eskimo Kids is a firm favourite with the Nourish team, our customers and especially our youngest little shoppers. It’s a pure, natural, essential fatty acid supplement specially formulated for the requirements of children aged 1 up to the age of 12.
So that’s it! Our 4 Back to School Supplements for Energy, Concentration and Immune System Support!
Combine these supplements with a well-balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle with plenty of fresh air, exercise and rest, and your child will be unstoppable!
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.
If your child is on any medication, please consult your doctor before taking any of these supplements