School is back in session. With hours and hours spent crammed into classrooms, our children’s immune systems and attention spans are going to be tested for all they’ve got. There’s a whole world of supplements and techniques that can help out kids, but if you want to keep it simple — focus on these.
Iron: The body needs iron to produce red blood cells. The body also needs red blood cells to transport oxygen. Proper circulation is everything when it comes to good health, so red blood cells always deserve consideration. Low iron levels are especially concerning however, because iron-deficiency can lead to the fatigue and sluggishness of anemia.
Meat offers a quick bite of heme iron which the body can absorb in a jiffy. Vegetarians options are available thanks to plant sources of nonheme iron, but plant-based iron should be coupled with vitamin C to maximize absorption. Young or old, an entire day’s worth of iron can be eaten with a cup of pumpkin seeds. Lentils, spinach, turnip greens, and peas will help out too.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) is crucial because vitamin C boosts white blood cells which are responsible for fighting off microscopic invaders. A constant and sufficient supply of C is a sure way to keep viruses and bacteria away; especially since the foods so high in this antioxidant are so healthy.
Dark green vegetables like kale, broccoli, peas, and brussel sprouts come packed with vitamin C. Colorful fruits like berries, cantaloupe, guava, and bell peppers are yet another powerful punch of C. You can even drink your vitamins thanks to rose. Rose fruit (aka rose hips) tote about 900% of daily C per cup. Just make sure your tea isn’t boiling hot since heat impacts vitamin C.
Magnesium: Cell growth. Energy production. Blood pressure. Nerve and muscle function. Magnesium has a place in these processes plus hundreds of others, so even though it doesn’t get much credit, it’s an important part of every diet.
Studies show that magnesium can improve everything from diabetes to PMS and depression, so it’s a must-eat no matter the age or season. Regular magnesium will help keep the body performing at it’s best — so load up on natural sources of magnesium like sunflower seeds, peas, and corn. Pumpkin seeds shine yet again as just half a cup will exceed the adult RDA for magnesium.
Essential Oils: You may be tired of seeing essential oils in your Facebook feed, but it’s high time you saw what all the buzz is about. An essential oil bottle may be small, but it’s really a powerful and potent concentration of a plant’s most precious compounds. A study from 2001 showed that lavender, cedarwood, and vetiver improved performance in children with ADHD. And that was just through inhalation!
Essential oils benefit ADHD performance big time, but even kids needing basic alertness and attention can get big bene’s from essential oils. Peppermint, cypress, and rosemary can help stimulate memory and alertness, and even thrifty options like lemon essential oil can enhance concentration (and fight off microbes at the same time). With better focus, kids can do more work and less doodling.
[About the author: Ash Stevens is a mother, writer, and a wannabe shaman. She loves health, gardening, simplicity, culture, chocolate, and sarcasm. If she isn’t writing or talking family and relationships on her blog, then she’s surely playing badminton with the kids. Find her on Twitter or Facebook and make a new friend!] Check out her guide to e111 cards for Europeans, she has had some interesting traction with her readers.
Image: Elizabeth Albert