It is disheartening for any parent to see their child being sick. It is almost impossible for any parent to prevent the child from falling ill. A child’s immune system is not fully developed and becomes stronger as they grow. The immune system builds resistance to infections as they get exposed to germs and minor childhood illnesses. As a parent you can always help to strengthen your child’s immature immune system. And, the simplest way of doing this is it to include healthy foods a part of your child’s daily intake. Research proves that a balanced diet of food items that are high in vitamins, proteins and minerals can increase the body’s natural ability to fight infections. Here is a list of foods that can boost your child’s immune system and protect them from serious ailments.
7 Everyday foods that boost Immunity
- Citrus Fruits- Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are very rich in vitamin C. It helps in the production of antibodies and white blood cells that aid the immune system to fight against viruses.
- Curd/Yogurt - Yogurt is rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that prevents gastrointestinal illnesses in children.
- Eggs - Egg is a super health food that is a nutrition powerhouse. Egg yolk is rich in vitamin A and minerals that leads to increased white blood cells, that helps fight bacteria and viruses.
- Nuts - All the variants of nuts are rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals. They are also rich in antioxidants like zinc, iron and omega fatty acids that support and boost immune system
- Vegetables - Leafy vegetables like cabbage, spinach, broccoli and fenugreek are packed with nutrients including folic acid, omega fatty acids and antioxidants. Colorful vegetables like carrot, beetroot, tomatoes are very rich in beta carotenes and carotenoids. These nutrients present in vegetables are very essential in building a strong immune system in kids.
- Whole grains and oats- Oats and whole grains like wheat, barley are rich vitamin B that helps in protecting your child from harmful bacteria and viruses. They are loaded with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
- Fish - Fishes like salmon and tuna are rich in omega fatty acids that helps the white blood cells to fight infections. Vitamin D present in oily fish like salmon and mackerel plays a vital role in immune functions and protection against infections.
Other natural ways to boost your child’s immunity
1. Breastfeeding your baby
Research proves that breast milk contains antibodies that reduce the risk of allergies and infections in babies. WHO says that exclusive breastfeeding of babies for the first six months offers the most protection against respiratory illness, diarrhea and ear infections.
2. Good Sleep
Children need around 10 to 12 hours of sleep a day. Studies prove that sleep deprivation leads to increased vulnerability to illnesses. A good sleep schedule is very essential for a child to revive their body and fight germs. Make sure your child naps during the day. If your child won’t take a nap, put them early to bed.
3. Physical activity
Outdoor physical activity and exercise is very essential to boost immunity and strengthening your child’s body. Always ensure that your child gets few hours of physical activity which might include swimming, bicycle riding, skating, playing tennis or exercising with you. When you exercise with your kid rather than insisting them to play outdoor you will be inculcating the fitness habit. Being a role model, you can gift them the lifelong habit of fitness.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a remarkable role in growth and facilitating normal immune system function. Deficiency of the this “sunshine vitamin” is associated with increased susceptibility to infections. Vitamin D is also needed for absorption of calcium for healthy bones and teeth. The body produces vitamin D when the the skin is exposed to UVB rays from sunlight. Even the richest food source contains insufficient amounts of vitamin D in them. If you are not sure whether your child receives enough of vitamin D consult your child’s doctor for medical supplements.
5. Avoiding unnecessary antibiotics
When your child is sick and if your doctor doesn’t recommend antibiotics and let the illness take its course - the doctor has done your child a favour. Antibiotics are effective against bacteria and not the viruses which is the major cause for most of the childhood ailments. The truth is when your child takes antibiotics for a viral illness, it creates bacteria that are harder to destroy. When antibiotics are not used carefully and sparingly, it might lead to antibiotic resistance- bacteria in your child’s system will become resistant to antibiotics.
If your child frequently suffer from recurrent colds, flu, stomach disorders it indicates a weak immune system. With the above mentioned simple dietary and lifestyle changes you can keep your child’s immune system intact and help them fight off common health problems.