Even when COVID-19 isn’t a concern, starting the school year off with a strong immune system and good hygiene habits is important for the maintenance of personal wellness and optimal educational performance. And by “hygiene,” we don’t just mean hand-washing and teeth-brushing – it’s a broad term that covers a variety of health aspects, from getting enough sleep and engaging in physical outdoor activity to drinking plenty of water and taking supplements to support ideal nutrient levels and encourage stress management. “Education is the passport to the future,” after all, and students receive greater benefits from instruction when their minds and bodies are healthy!8
The start of the school year can be challenging as students, parents, and teachers navigate new routines, systems, and concepts. This year will bring a variety of new obstacles as physical distancing guidelines remain in place and parents consider whether the benefits of in-person schooling, which extend beyond professionally-facilitated education to include social interaction, exercise, mental health support, and healthy meals, outweigh the risks of allowing their students to frequent a public space.1
It’s up to governors, college presidents, local school authorities, public health educators, teachers, and parents to decide whether reopening schools and sending students back to them for in-person instruction is the right move for a given community or college campus in this current moment. Regardless of the decisions these entities make, and whether parents choose to send their student(s) back to school, there are a number of practices that can be implemented to boost wellness and reduce stress – for both students and parents alike!
If ever there was a time to prioritize getting enough sleep each night, it’s now. Not only does sleep promote brain function for better concentration and productivity, it also allows the body to repair itself and restore the systems that help to fight against germs and sickness. Adequate sleep leads to lowered risks of health concerns like heart disease and obesity, and can support greater social intelligence and empathy.2 For adults 18 and older, seven or eight hours of sleep per night is usually sufficient, but for kids in primary school, nine to 12 hours is the recommended amount. For teenagers, eight to 10 hours is ideal.
Physical activity improves heart health and lung strength, and helps to regulate body weight and blood pressure. It also encourages good circulation for the distribution of nutrients and immune cells throughout the body. Recent research suggests that exercise may even offer benefits for gut health, and it’s a great opportunity to get outside for some fresh air, sunshine, and exposure to microbes that help diversify gut flora for better defense against illness-causing pathogens. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, five times a week, is enough for noticeable health benefits and an immunity boost.3
The link between vitamin and mineral deficiencies and higher incidences of infectious diseases is well documented. Micronutrients that may play a more central role in maintaining a well-functioning immune system include zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folate, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E.4 Fruits and vegetables, especially leafy green ones, are the best source of these essential nutrients. Regular intake is important to support immune system health – eating one orange when you already feel a cold coming on will not be nearly as effective as eating an orange every day and including vegetables in as many meals as possible!
The most effective ways to prevent any infection, including but not limited to COVID-19, are also some of the simplest ones: using proper hand-washing techniques, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue, touching your face as infrequently as possible, and following a dental hygiene routine for healthy gums, teeth, and oral microbiome.5 Additionally, staying at least six feet away from anyone you don’t share a household with, whenever possible, and wearing a mask or facial covering can help to slow the spread of coronavirus. And whether you or your student is attending school in person or making trips out of the house for other reasons, stay home if you feel unwell and avoid contact with anyone as much as you can!
Emotional stress has a negative effect on immunity, though stress loads and their exact repercussions are difficult to isolate and measure. The expectations of education and extracurricular activities alone can cause stress, not to mention the potential for anxiety contributed by a sudden switch to homeschooling or a return to a drastically reconfigured school environment in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. Sleep, exercise, and healthy diets can help make stress more manageable for both students and parents, as can play time, a morning routine, laughter, and frequent reminders that these circumstances are unfamiliar to everyone – no one knows exactly how to proceed in these uncertain times.6
In addition to getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a nutrient-dense diet, taking supplements that support the immune system and encourage stress relief can give parents and students, from grade school to college level, that extra edge to stay healthy, focused, and upbeat throughout the school year. We’ve put together collections that showcase our best supplements for immune defense and support for stress relief.
Some of our top picks include:
Magnesium – Involved in over 600 processes and 300 enzymatic reactions throughout the body, magnesium plays a role in the activation of immune cells to support the eradication of germs and other illness-causing substances. NatureWise Magnesium provides pure magnesium derived from seawater, combined with olive oil to promote absorption.*
Ubiquinol – The active form of CoQ10, a coenzyme involved in the production of energy in cell mitochondria, ubiquinol also has antioxidant properties and promotes optimal wellness by defending cells against free radicals and encouraging immune system function. NatureWise Ubiquinol uses a bioavailable form of CoQ10 to effectively deliver maximum benefits.*
Oral Health Probiotics – As the first line of defense against potential invaders, the healthy bacteria that reside in the mouth protect the body against respiratory infections and other illnesses, promoting the health of the teeth and gums, as well as the eyes, nose, and throat. NatureWise Oral Health Probiotics contain 3 billion CFU with clinically studied strains for advanced oral protection.*
Vitamin D3 – Vitamin C often takes center stage when it comes to immunity-supporting vitamins, but vitamin D3 has a crucial part in promoting the activity of immune cells like the B and T cells that target and eliminate pathogens. It may also offer benefits for individuals with autoimmune diseases.7 Vitamin D3 is produced naturally by the body when exposed to sunlight, so you can choose from a range of NatureWise Vitamin D3 concentrations to match your level of daytime outdoor activity.
Multivitamins with Stress Support – Formulated with organic fruits and vegetables, a fulvic ionic mineral complex, Sensoril Ashwagandha, and digestive enzymes, our Men’s and Women’s Whole Food Multivitamins & Minerals deliver comprehensive support to help prevent nutrient deficiency, promote comfortable digestion, and encourage the reduction of feelings of stress, fatigue, and tension.*
Whatever school looks like for you and your students this year, stay healthy and safe! We’re here to help with natural supplements designed to promote your well-being from the inside out.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.