Childhood is a phase of learning. Learning about things, habits, manners, etc. But sometimes we forget to teach our children good food habits. Whatever you learn in your childhood stays with you your whole life. And that’s why it is very important to inbuild good diet habits in your child. Like an adult, a child’s immunity needs to be strong and healthy in order to fight foreign germs and viruses.
Whatever sort of diseases a child catches can leave an impression on his future growth. So base needs to be strong in order to build an empire on it. Similarly, for healthy living, children’s immune system is a base that needs to be very strong. The immunity system creates an army of healthy cells and sends them out to fight germs, viruses, and bacteria in our bodies.
“Our immune system is a series of cells, tissues, and organs that, throughout our lifetime, protects us from different invading pathogens and keeps us healthy and able to resist many repeated infections,” says Dr. Ashouri, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at CHOC. Infants get their immunity cells from their mothers through the placenta and breast milk, if they are breastfeeding. When time passes, a child’s immune system gets mature and starts fighting off infections. As an infant, a baby can get essential nutrients from breastmilk. As they grow up, their diet can affect their immunity the most.
We know that diet plays a major role in making our immune system strong. Similarly, diet habits can affect your child’s immune system too. So, it is very important for parents to know that what food items are healthy for their children. Some food items help in boosting children’s immunity.
The first food item you can think of to add to your child’s diet is fruits. Fruits are a brilliant source of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants neutralize free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons. During this process, In making this sacrifice, they act as a natural “off” switch for the free radicals. This breaks the chain reaction and prevents other molecules and cells from germs and bacteria. Immune cells called macrophages produce free radicals while fighting off invading germs. These free radicals can damage healthy cells. This can cause inflammation which leads to many diseases.
So adding fruits to your child’s meal will help them in boosting their immunity. But never fall for packed fruit juices. People might recommend you packed food items, but some artificial preservatives may kill of nutrients from raw fruits. The real strength of fruits lies in fibre-rich pulp. Here are some fruits that will help you in boosting your child’s immune system.
- Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are a great source of Vitamin C. It is a water-soluble vitamin well known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system. As our body can’t make Vitamin C on its own, it’s important for us to get it from the food we eat. Research shows vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of tissue all over the body. Vitamin C helps heal wounds and repair and maintain healthy bones, teeth, skin, and cartilage. Grapefruits, oranges, clementines, tangerines, limes, and lemons are such fruits.
Blueberries contain the antioxidant “anthocyanins”. Anthocyanins in blueberries belong to a family of polyphenols antioxidants called flavonoids. Research shows that people who consume Flavonoid-rich food are less likely to have an upper respiratory tract infection or common cold. Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to fight our body with free radicals.
Apples and Pears are also recommended when it comes to boosting your child’s immunity.
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Vegetables are a great source of fibre. They have low calories and fats. Not only this but vegetables provide you with so many essential minerals and vitamins. William Sears, M.D., author of The Family Nutrition Book says that vegetables like Carrots and green beans contain carotenoids. These are immunity-boosting phytonutrients that help the immune system to fight unwanted germs. Phytonutrients may help in increasing the production of white blood cells in our body, that fight infections. Also, it helps in increasing interferon. Interferon is an antibody that coats the cell surface and blocks out the virus.
Hence, adding vegetables to your child’s diet will help in boosting their immunity. Some of the vegetables that are very beneficial for your child’s health are :
Moringa leaves: Make sure you introduce your child to moringa leaves. These can help their body with preventing a lot of infections. It contains amino acids, calcium, iron, antioxidants etc.
Broccoli: Broccoli is a great source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a kind of nutrients that is most essential for the immune system. Brocolli clearly fulfils this requirement. Research shows that Vitamin C is essential for preventing and fighting any disease. Taking 100-200 mg of vitamin C daily can help you fight many harmful infections.
Ginger: It is said that ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties that are likely to offer health benefits.
Spinach: Loaded with minerals and vitamins, Spinach definitely helps you in boosting your immunity. Spinach also includes many antioxidants.
Yogurt contains probiotics. Probiotics are great for our body. They support our digestive system and smooths the digestion process. It also increases good bacteria in our body and it supports overall health. It’s very important to add yogurt to your child’s diet as it is a great source of vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and other nutrients that helps in improving the immune system in children naturally.
One more benefit of yogurt is that probiotics also help in the reduction of inflammation. Inflammation is the root of many chronic diseases in our bodies. Hence, it is very important for it to be in control. Also, research shows that in some instances, probiotics may also help reduce the incidence, duration, and severity of the common cold.
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- Nuts and Dry fruits
Nuts and dry fruits are loaded with essential oils, proteins, potassium, calcium that helps to increase your immunity. They are also a source of anti-oxidants, that helps you in fighting sickness and illness. Not only this but dry fruits have many other health benefits. Almonds and cashew nuts are known to prevent breast cancer. They are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients which prevents the activity of cancer-causing cells.
Many dry fruits can help in maintaining heart health. Dry fruits can control cholesterol levels and normalize blood pressure. They also reduce the risk of heart diseases, stroke, etc. Specially raisins can help you out the most.
- Herbs and Spices
Indian households are underrated immune boosters themselves. There are many species that we use in our daily meals which offer so many health benefits. Many Indian herbs and spices help in boosting immunity and make your child’s body strong enough to fight infections.
Turmeric- It has many health benefits. Even Turmeric milk is a very common home remedy. It helps to heal from any injury fast. Many medicines consist of turmeric as a healing agent. It can surely help in boosting immunity. Turmeric contains a compound known as “curcumin”. Curcuma in Turmeric crushes many inflammatory components in the body.
Basil – It helps in providing relief to symptoms of cold, flu, and sore throat. It is said to increase the “T” cells in our body. It naturally helps in making the body strong to fight diseases and infections.
These food items can help your child to lead a healthy life. A good immune system not only fights infections and diseases but also prevents the body from catching any. Hence, it is crucial to introduce your kid to these food items and adding them to their regular meals to build a habit.
Eat – Sleep – Exercise – REPEAT…
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