7 ways to boost immunity in kids

How To Boost Immunity in Kids

How To Boost Immunity in Kids

Old McDonald had a home
Ee ya ee ya O
And in that home, he had a child
Ee ya ee ya O
With a cough, cough here
And an achoo! there

As a parent, you must’ve often felt that the flu and stomach bugs are unavoidable, especially when your child’s immunity is in question. Such illnesses tend to be challenging and take a toll on your child’s health. Several pediatricians also agree that children are bound to fall ill. Therefore, six to eight colds, bouts of flu, or ear infections per year are considered normal. In order to shield your children from a wide array of germs and viruses present in our environment, all you need to do is adopt a few healthy habits. Here’s how to boost immunity in kids :

Nutrition: Experts have stated the benefits of nutritious food time and again. They do so for good reason. Carrots, green beans, oranges, strawberries serve as wonderful immunity boosters for your child. These fruits and vegetables are rich in carotenoids i.e. immunity-boosting phytonutrients. They increase the production of disease-fighting white blood cells and interferon. Consuming 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day is recommended for children. ( A serving is approximately two tablespoons for toddlers and 1 cup for older kids. ) The following are also excellent immunity boosting foods for kids :

  • Whole-fat, plain yogurt Plain yogurt is a fantastic source of probiotics i.e. the good bacteria that promote a healthy digestive tract and overall immunity. Yogurt is also packed with vitamin D and protein. They help grow, maintain, and repair every single cell in the body. You can serve yogurt by itself or top it with chopped fruits or stir it into fruit/vegetable purees. ( Tip: Avoid using sweetened varieties of yogurt. ) 
  • Sweet Potatoes – Nutritious sweet potatoes offer beta carotene – the body converts this nutrient into vitamin A, which is essential for healthy immune function. Carrots, squash, pumpkins, mangoes, and dark, leafy greens are also rich sources of beta-carotene.
  • Avocado –  Creamy and delicious, this fruit offers vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and vitamin B6, which helps build the cells of the immune system. The omega-3 fatty acids present in avocados aid the body in better absorbing immune-boosting nutrients. Before serving, you must ensure that the avocados are pureed or mashed well. 
  • Blueberries – This popular superfood provides an impressive assortment of nutrients. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Whole blueberries are a choking hazard. However, you can serve them blended alone or mixed with apples, bananas, pears, yogurt, or oatmeal. 

 

Sleep: Scientific studies reveal that sleep deprivation makes an individual more susceptible to illness as it reduces the natural killer cells i.e. immune-system weapons that attack microbes and cancer cells. A sufficient amount of sleep functions as a significant immunity boost for kids. While infants require up to 16 hours of sleep, toddlers need 11-14 hours, and preschoolers need 10-13 hours of sound sleep. If your child is unable to nap during the day, it is advisable to put him to bed early.

Breast-feeding: Breast milk provides immunity-enhancing antibodies and white blood cells in abundance. It protects your tiny tot from ear infections, allergies, diarrhea, pneumonia, meningitis, urinary tract infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Some research also suggests that breast milk can enhance your baby’s brainpower. It may also provide protection against insulin-dependent diabetes, Crohn’s disease, colitis, and certain forms of cancer later in life. Colostrum, the thin yellow “pre-milk” that flows from the breasts during the first few days after birth, is especially rich in disease-fighting antibodies. If possible, mothers should exclusively breastfeed their child for the first 6 months of life.

Exercise: Exercise is also an effective immunity booster for children as it increases the number of natural killer cells in the body. In order to inculcate a lifelong love of fitness, parents must act as role models. Instead of urging your child to go outside and play, try exercising with them. Some fun and healthy bonding activities include bike riding, hiking, skating, basketball, tennis, and badminton.

Also Read: Brain Food for Child’s Growth

Guard against germs: Even though fighting germs doesn’t technically boost immunity, it reduces stress on your child’s immune system. Teaching your children to wash their hands regularly with soap will work wonders in the long run. Pay attention to your child’s hygiene before and after meals, after playtime, handling pets, blowing his nose, using the restroom, and returning from daycare. When you’re out, carry disposable wipes with you for quick and easy clean-ups. In order to make the handwashing habit exciting, you can let your child select bright and colorful hand towels and soap in fun shapes, colors, and scents.

No secondhand smoke: If you or your partner smoke, quitting would be a good idea. Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 harmful chemicals, many of which can irritate or kill cells in the body. Kids are more susceptible than adults to the detrimental effects of secondhand smoke because they breathe at a faster rate. Additionally, a child’s natural detoxification system is less developed. Secondhand smoke increases a child’s risk of SIDS, bronchitis, ear infections, and asthma. It may also affect intelligence and neurological development. If you absolutely cannot quit smoking, you can minimize your child’s health risks considerably by strictly smoking outside the house.

Antibiotics and pediatricians: Parents tend to coerce pediatricians into prescribing antibiotics every time their little one catches a cold or has a sore throat. They believe it’ll do no harm. However, the opposite is true. Antibiotics treat only illnesses caused by bacteria but a majority of childhood illnesses are caused by viruses. Studies indicate that pediatricians reluctantly prescribe antibiotics at the constant urging of parents. This has resulted in the flourishing of a strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Due to such stubborn bacteria, simple ear infections become difficult to cure as the bacteria have become unresponsive to standard treatment. The solution? Whenever your pediatrician wishes to prescribe an antibiotic, ask them if it’s really necessary. Several times, doctors will be prescribing antibiotics solely because they think you want it.

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