My nine-year-old son, Colin, went back to school today, thus concluding a lovely and full summer break. As always with the beginning of a new school year, my emotions run the gamut: excitement about his new teacher and classmates, relief that we made it through without a flaming sunburn or a bevy of mosquito bites, and a bit of sadness that another summer has swept by. Even though it’s still officially “summer” according to the Gregorian calendar, in my mind it’s something else: the prelude to flu season.
Now is the time to strengthen our bodies so that they may battle the onslaught of germs that are about to come our way. Here are three simple basics for you and your family:
- First and foremost, wash your hands, especially when you’ve touched anything that’s been touched by someone else.
- Eat foods appropriate for the season. As the weather gets cooler (which can be almost imperceptible here in Southern California) think about making warmer foods - soups, stews, casseroles - and eating more foods that are grown in season. We may live in a modern world where we can purchase watermelon year-round, but our bodies are old fashioned creatures that always respond best to the natural order of things. So, come October, trade in that fruit salad for some rich, warm pumpkin soup.
- Start strengthening your immune system now. Get enough sleep. Limit your sugar intake. Cook with immune-inspiring ingredients like ginger, garlic and onions. Boost your vitamin C intake, and add a cup of antioxidant-laden green tea to your day. I add a little local raw honey (which can strengthen those who have seasonal allergies) to Colin’s morning tea.
The start of a new school year is filled with many emotions and activities. May it also be filled with good health!