Back to school: get the brains into gear and keep the bugs at bay

The most magical time of the year has been and gone the decorations are down, the tree is gone, the presents have been opened and you’ve done a trip to the tip to get rid of all the paper and cardboard.

A new term and the challenges

The term is well under way and you are crossing off the days until half term. The general vibe might be a little sluggish, you are having trouble getting everyone going in the morning, and you are trying to dodge the numerous bugs going around school and work.

One of the major challenges for children heading back to school can be sustained attention, mood and behaviour in the classroom, with some finding it tough to adjust, especially in the first weeks back. Does this sound familiar?

After a period of rich foods, sweet treats and no early wake up calls, a lot of children find it hard to be interested in schoolwork, completing homework and may even complain about school, becoming increasingly grumpy, unfocused and restless.

A review of their diet

One quick and easy way to help ease your child back into school life is to review their diet. Feeding our bodies with the right nutrients needed for brain health can have a significant impact on focus, energy and mood in general (it can even make them less grumpy!).

It’s not just that 5-a-day though and making sure everyone has enough water! Many of us parents struggle to include the Government recommended portion of fish and oily fish per week and the Omega-3 fatty acids that impact brain health.

There are three types of Omega-3:

  • Omega-3 Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), found in oily fish and seafood, which makes up 40% of the healthy fats found in the brain and helps reaction time and sustained attention.
  • Omega-3 Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), found in oily fish and seafood, which plays an important role in mood and behaviour.
  • Omega-3 Alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which cannot be immediately absorbed and used by the body – it has to be converted into DHA and EPA to be useful.

Dr. Emma Derbyshire states that: “A growing body of research suggests that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA may help to improve children’s mood, attention and behaviour, particular amongst those with low intakes of these essential fatty acids or conditions such as ADHD.”

Results from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey show that over the past nine years we have made little improvement in encouraging our children to eat oily fish. Of the 140g a week that is recommended, children consume between 13g and 29g.  So, if your children don’t like fish, they may not be getting the levels of omegas needed to perform at their best.

Well chosen supplements

Of course, ideally, children should obtain all the essential fatty acids they need from their diet, but where this isn’t possible, supplements such as Equazen liquid and chews are available as a supplement to help bridge any potential nutritional gaps and support brain function. Do you give your children supplements at all?

Equazen Children’s Chews and citrus liquid are available from a range of retailers including Boots, Holland and Barratt and Amazon. Equazen have removed the fishy taste and odour and use natural flavours (without sugar). Equazen has a unique and specific, clinically researched blend of Omega-3, DHA and EPA with Omega-6 GLA – Gamma Linolenic Acid to ensure a synergistic and balanced formulation.

This is really welcomed as the bulk of Omega supplements I’ve tried with the children get rejected because, well, they taste of fish!

In order to give their immune systems a much needed boost, why not try something like Spatone and Sambucol?

Spatone is gentle liquid iron with added Vitamin C. Iron has lots of roles in the body, but one of these is that it is necessary for immune cells proliferation and maturation, particularly lymphocytes, which are associated with helping us to keep healthy. Lower iron levels may contribute to an increased risk of our immune systems being compromised and our bodies falling sick. 

Sambucol is really good for boosting the immune system of the whole family. Sambucol is a range of great tasting food supplements founded on the unique qualities of Black Elderberries. Sambucol Kids is a suitable alternative safe for children since the ban of Echinacea in children under 12 and is suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans. You can get liquid, chew and pastille form, and it’s a really handy to have in over the Winter months in particular.

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