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7 ways to keep the family well this winter

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Discover how you can strengthen and support yours and your kids’ immune system health with some simple strategies and lifestyle tweaks – and why it’s such a smart move.

No one enjoys getting sick, right? And while adults typically get between two and four colds a year, your kids could get as many as 10 in a 12-month period . 

With statistics like that, it makes sense to do what you can to boost your family’s immune system, as a strategy to spend more healthy days than sick ones this season. 

But what is the immune system anyway? And how can you improve it? Here’s what you need to know. 

What is the immune system?

In a nutshell, your immune system is a network of cells and proteins that defend your body against infection, so taking steps to make sure it’s healthy and working as well as possible, is a good idea. 

It’s also important to remember that your child’s immune system differs slightly from your own , but regardless there are things you can do to boost your family’s immune health against seasonal colds and flu. 

How can I support my family’s immune system?

Here’s what you can do as a family to improve your natural resilience to cold and flu viruses and help your household stay well this season.

1. Get moving

You can reduce the risk of catching a cold just by being active regularly . 

Getting out for a run with your kids or introducing them to the some old-school favourites like elastics and hopscotch are great ways to get the whole family active. 

2. Stress less

While one in three Australian adults are living with significant levels of stress, more than 70 per cent of us say that stress is impacting our health in some way . 

Plus, nearly half of Australian school kids are stressed, too. And thanks to the impact stress has on the immune system, you’re more susceptible to developing a cold when you’re experiencing it.

One way to de-stress? Yoga. Research shows it’s an effective way to slow both the markers of stress and the harmful health effects it can have . 

The good news is there’s a way to do yoga that’ll suit both you and your kids.

3. Sleep tight

Sleep is one of your immune system’s best friends. The flip-side if you’re not getting enough? The risk of suffering the symptoms of a cold if you’re exposed to a cold virus is about four times higher . 

While adults should aim for at least seven hours of sleep a night to support their immunity , how much your children need depends on their age . If you’ve got yourself a reluctant sleeper a guided meditation just for kids or recognising those sleeping cues can help to settle into sleep. 

4. Eat well

A healthy, nutritious diet, particularly one that’s rich in fruit and vegetables, is key to a healthy immune system  for both adults and children. 

Struggling to get your kids to eat their greens? We get it – and our ‘Healthy eating for kids in 3 easy steps’ action plan, is designed to help. Take part to get yourself and your children on the journey quickly and easily. 

5. Avoid alcohol

Okay, so your kids don’t drink, but if you do, for the sake of your immune system, it pays to take it easy. 

Consuming too much alcohol decreases the frequency of lymphocytes , which are white blood cells that play a key role in immunity . 

Limit your intake to 10 standard drinks per week, and never have more than two standard drinks on any one day .

6. Have a laugh

Research suggests that laughter not only has a positive effect on modulating components of the immune system, it can even enhance your immunity . 

So why not get everyone on the couch to watch a family friendly, funny movie and have a good laugh together?

7. And, be gutsy about your gut health

Gut health and immunity are closely linked, regardless of your age . 

The good news is, by exercising  regularly and making sleep  a priority, you’re already doing two things that will keep the ‘good’ bugs living in your gut happy. 

 Support your family’s gut health further with a breakfast full of gut-friendly foods like our mini multigrain pancakes or blueberry and banana quinoa porridge