The best gift you can ever gift to your child is a healthy body and strong immunity to fight infections. Life is more difficult now days. Ill health is the biggest hurdle in a child’s life journey. From food, climate, eating habits, and life style, to almost everything is constantly changing (not all for good as at seems). In this evolving scenario, immunity plays a major role.
Immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues and organs that not only protects your body from harmful disease causing viruses and bacterias but also aids in tissue repair and wound healing. In the context of corona pandemic, we can only rely on our immunity to safeguard us from the nerve-wrecking battlefield. While, to some extent, our immune system depends on genetics, it is also majorly influenced by our everyday choices- food and lifestyle.
Immunity boosting is a comprehensive process which starts right from the early age. As babies grow and start preschool, they are more likely to be attacked by viruses and bacteria causing cold cough and other infections. Building immunity becomes key at this early stage.
Tips to Strengthen Immunity
- Breastfeed your baby (studies suggest that breast milk builds immunity)
- Follow kid’s vaccination schedule
- Encourage kids to eat nutritious and healthy diet
- Proper rest and sleep (studies indicate that sleep and immunity are positively related)
- Develop hygienic habits (washing hands)
- Access to fresh air and sunlight (outdoor activities and vitamin D both help build immunity)
- Avoid Antibiotics (unless necessary since they reduce good bacterias in the body which build immunity)
There are certain nutrients required for the growth and functions of immune cells such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Selenium, Iron and Protein. Focusing on nutrient rich food and a well-balanced diet is the best way to boost your kid’s immunity.
Immunity Boosting Foods for Children
Vegetables: Study shows that vegetables provide nutrients like beta- carotene (Vitamin A), Vitamin C and Vitamin E that can boost immune system. Many vegetables are also rich in other antioxidants that help reduce free radicals in the body (what are free radicals?). Vegetables are often good source of prebiotic fiber that supports a healthy gut and immune system by becoming the food of the good bacterias living in the gut. Encouraging your child to eat variety of vegetables in all colours like Broccoli, Spinach, bell paper, tomato, carrot, and beet root in a day will take care of multiple vitamins and minerals required to keep the immunity high. (How to give complete nutrition for kids?)
Citrus fruits: Vitamin C is a key ingredient in all the citrus fruits. Vitamin C helps building up your immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, which fights infections. Fruits like orange, guava, grape fruit, lemon and kiwi are high in Vitamin C. (Best fruits for kids and teens?)
Ginger: Known for its amazing medicinal properties, ginger has been used as an active ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines. Loaded with Vitamin B6 and magnesium, ginger also has gingerol (photochemical compound in ginger that activates spice receptors on the tongue) which helps in enhancing immunity. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory property, which helps in fighting infections. (Home remedy to treat cold in kids that actually works?)
Nuts: The vitamin E found in nuts like pistachio, almonds, cashews, walnuts and others help immune system to fight against invading bacteria. They are a great source of antioxidants that keep body healthy and disease free by neutralizing free radicals and reduce inflammation. Study shows that some roasted nuts appear to have an increased antioxidant level as compared with raw one. (What are some high protein nuts and seeds?)
Cinnamon: This aromatic spice is the richest source of antioxidants among all the spices that give a boost to immune system. Loaded with antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties which fight against viruses causing infections like cold and flu.
Moringa: Moringa is a magical tree with lots of health benefits attached. Every part of this tree such as roots, barks, fruits, flowers and leaves are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The leaves are good source of vitamin A, B, C minerals like calcium and Iron, which makes it a natural immunity booster. Apart from immunity it also helps in bones development, fight iron deficiency and aids in muscle building. (Whats an easy food for fixing healthy eyesight?)
Seeds: Seeds are incredible source of nutrients. Subja seeds are rich in omega3 (alpha- linolenic acid) and also packed with flavonoids both of which help to keep the immune system strong. Sunflower seeds are rich in magnesium, vitamin E, antioxidants and good fats. Together they help to boost immunity. Sesame seeds is rich in zinc which aids in healthy immunity by protecting the body cells from invading bacterias and viruses. Pumpkin seeds are rich in Vitamin E which is necessary for immunity building and also packed with other bone-building nutrients like potassium, magnesium and vitamin K. (What are some seeds good for brain?)
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