There is nothing better than providing good nutrition, to strengthen your child’s immunity.
By Prachi Mandholia
This weather change is taking a toll on the health of the kids. Whether it is during school or playtime, children pick up bugs easily. As no parent wants to see their child unwell, it’s wise to step up their immunity to prevent illness and recover from it quickly.
There is nothing better than providing good nutrition, to strengthen your child’s immunity. These foods will help you support the same. Here are a few guidelines to boost your child’s immunity:
Oranges are packed with Vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts immunity and prevents infections. Regular consumption of oranges will keep your child’s defences strong. They could consume whole fruit or have it in the form of juice.
Tulsi, the holy basil, a known grandma’s remedy for cold and flu, works well too. Consuming tulsi regularly prevents and reduces the bouts of common cold and other infections. Children can have the leaf or if the astringent taste is too much for them, crush the leaf and add a few drops of honey to it.
Honey has antimicrobial properties. Moreover, it coats the throat and eases the irritation of the throat. All kids love honey, give them a spoonful or add it to their cereal.
Turmeric is very effective in fighting infections. Curcumin in turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Fresh turmeric works better than the powder, so add it to milk or add its juice to a spoonful of honey and give it to your child regularly.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts like almonds, walnuts and seeds like pumpkin and flaxseeds are good immune boosters. Nuts can be consumed whole or after being soaked. Seeds can be added to their cereal.
Immune Boosting Energy Bite: Almonds + Walnuts + Dates + Cinnamon + Flaxseed
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria present in the intestinal tract that keep bad bacteria away. Curd has ‘good bacteria’ or probiotic which strengthens the immune system by warding off microorganisms. Note that flavoured yoghurt does not provide the same benefits, but contains artificial flavour and is loaded with sugar. Let your kids consume preferably homemade curd regularly either as is, or in smoothies, buttermilk, raita and more.
Antibiotics destroy these good bacteria, so use it only when other medicines do not work. Also make sure, antibiotics are accompanied with probiotics for it to restore wellbeing.
Keep These Tips in Mind
White blood cells are our ‘army cells’ that fight off germs. Eating foods loaded with sugars reduces the white blood cells ability to fight germs, thus lowering immunity. Sugar provides no nutrition, but empty calories. So you must limit your child’s sugar intake.
Avoid adding sugar to milk as it already contains natural sugars. Restrict desserts like cupcakes, ice-creams, doughnuts and other sweets to once a month. If you achieve this, it will prevent them from falling sick often as well as keep their teeth healthy too.
After so much activity in the day, every child above the age of 3 years needs minimum 10 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation in children will leave them feeling tired and increase the chances of catching an infection. So do create a concrete bedtime routine for them.
Hands down! The best way to prevent a cold or flu is to keep your child’s hands clean. Encourage frequent washing of hands especially before and after meals, after playtime and every time your child uses the washroom. Also, practicing personal hygiene like brushing teeth twice a day and changing the toothbrush every 3 months will keep your child healthy and away from pathogens.
Eating immunity boosting foods everyday keeps the doctor away!
(The writer is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator. She is a practicing Clinical Nutritionist, based out of Mumbai. For more ideas, email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)