Compromised Immune Function- Causative Factors:
- Poor Diet: A diet in processed and highly refined foods such as white flour, sugar and chemical food additives or artificial sweeteners will drastically reduce a person’s immunity to disease-especially children, the elderly and those with previously weakened immune systems. Studies have shown that the amount of sugar in just 24 oz of soda will depress the immune system by 50% for five hours. Kids today consume incredible amounts of sugar not just in soda, but also in so-called “fruit snacks,” cereal, juice (even real fruit juice contains a high concentration of sugars) and candy. Too much dairy creates more phlegm too.
- Lack of Exercise: It is not uncommon to see today’s youth spending hours in front of television, computer and video game screens. Many kids hardly even get outdoors at all. Fresh air, exercise, and exploration of the natural world are absolutely necessary for children. Not only does the activity promote healthy lungs, bones, circulation and strong muscles, but the connection to nature creates a healthy mind and spirit. A healthy disposition equals a healthy body.
- Poor Social Environment: Healthy relationships are the cornerstone to good health in all people-young and old. A television doesn’t represent the nature of healthy relationships and often kids try to emulate behaviors seen on TV. Limit their consumption of popular media-generally speaking, the media is grooming your children to be consumers of their products and doesn’t really care about their emotional or physical health. Healthy people make poor consumers!
- Overuse of Antibiotics: Bacteria are not all bad. In fact there are many types of bacteria that are symbiotic and necessary for our optimum health. Antibiotics do not discriminate between “good” and “bad” bacteria; they kill everything in their path. The intestines provide a home for beneficial bacteria that keep the disease-causing bacteria at bay. If these bacteria are wiped out with the use of antibiotics, then the more populous and aggressive “bad” bacteria get a foothold in, readily causing frequent colds, infections, viruses and flu. Antibiotics should only be used for bacterial infections that do not respond to other methods like herbs, diet and supplements; they must be taken as prescribed and should always be taken in conjunction with a quality probiotic such as acidophilus. When taking a probiotic with an antibiotic, allow a window of several hours between both supplements so that the prescription doesn’t render the probiotic useless and take the probiotic for several weeks after the antibiotic has been finished.
- Poor Hygiene: This doesn’t always mean that a kid is like “Pig-Pen” with a cloud of dirt hovering around him, even forgetting to wash hands after going to the bathroom or wiping a runny nose could fall into the hygiene category. Don’t rely upon “Purell” type products; again these agents don’t promote the natural immune function of a healthy body and may even help bacteria to become stronger and more resistant-think “Borg” from Star Trek. Good old fashioned soap and warm water to the tune of “Happy Birthday” are enough to rid even stubborn germs from hands. It should be remembered that many pathogens are passed from hand to hand to mouth.
Excellent Immune Functioning- Suggestions for Health:
- Whole Foods: Giving your children whole grains, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, organic-and preferably local-meats along with quality whole food vitamins is a supportive and nurturing way to ensure good health and a strong immune system. Preparing quality home-cooked meals and sitting down at the table for a family meal (families come in all shapes and sizes) also has the benefit of improving the digestion, increasing Qi and creating a healthy mind, body and spirit.
- Plenty of Clean Water: Installing a good filter under your sink will usually make any questionable tap water safe and delicious. Contaminants like chlorine, pesticides and many heavy metals are removed by most filtration systems. Bottled water not only contains contaminants leached from the plastic container, but also pollutes the environment. Instead choose reusable stainless steel bottles and fill them with filtered tap water. Many of these bottles are now available in fun colors and styles that are attractive to kids and adults alike. Also, drinking water icy cold is a shock to the system, decreases Qi and can weaken the body. Water is best assimilated when it is closer to room temperature.
- Fresh Air and Exercise: Muscle tone, strong lungs, shock-resistant bones and tendons, and a body-mind-spirit connection to Nature makes active, outdoorsy kids healthy and tough. Say it loud and proud when you quote your own Mother, ‘It’s a beautiful day! Get out of this house and go play outside!!’
- Good Herbs & Supplements: Herbs like Astragalus, He Shou Wu, and Reishi are all helpful for building immune strength. Whole food vitamins (like the brand Megafoods) and good quality probiotics all help to keep your child strong and disease-resistant. Occasionally it will happen though: your child will get sick. How you deal with their illness not only shapes their immune system, but also shapes the choices they will make about their own health care in the future. Qualified herbalists are available to help you make the best natural choices to get your child well as quickly as conventional drug therapy-without the possible side effects. Don’t go into panic mode- know the facts: herbal remedies, when used correctly, can be as effective (or even more so) as antibiotics and over-the-counter drugs marketed to worried parents.
- Healthy Relationships: Kids need to relate to other kids, sure. They also must have healthy relationships with older mentors. Elders that they respect can instill confidence and maturity in a child and a good sense of self relates to a healthy body. We get our Qi from quality food, quality water, quality air and quality relationships. Abundantly flowing Qi is one of the keys to great health. Be sure that your child’s relationships both outside and within the family are supportive, nurturing and healthy.
- Teach by Example: Your kids are watching you. Everything you do. If you want them to be healthy and strong and form good, lifelong habits for healthy, happy and balanced lives, then you must also follow your own good advice. Get outside with them, eat healthy foods with them, have them help you to shop for and cook good foods, grow a garden, drink your water and give them your time, attention and love. You will not only see your children thrive, but you will also prosper with great health, vitality and energy!
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