Mom and Baby Healthcare Tips

Nutrition

Ways to boost immunity in your child

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  • November 19, 2020
  • MKB Team

How do you help your child build a strong immune system?

All of us enter this world with an inexperienced immune system. Parents play a crucial role in ensuring that they build a strong immunity for their children, to protect them from diseases and illnesses. But this is easier said than done, with children facing endless exposure from an array of germs every day.

Children with low immunity fall prey to various types of infections. This high rate of infections has caused an increased and inappropriate use of antibiotics, leading further to the widespread problem of antimicrobial resistance. 

What is antimicrobial resistance?

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most pressing health problems in the world today. When medicines are overused, the disease causing microbes build a wall of resistance against the medicines that were meant to kill them. The best way to defeat antimicrobial resistance is to build a strong immunity, protecting your child from infections.

Here are a few healthy habits that will give your child's immune system a natural boost.

  • Healthy Diet

A healthy diet includes all the fundamental components like minerals, proteins, vitamins, micronutrients and unsaturated fats. Consumption of carrots, beans, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, strawberry, yogurt, ginger and garlic is healthy. Try to get your child to eat five servings of fruits and veggies a day. (A serving is about two tablespoons for toddlers, 1 cup for older kids.)

  • Adequate Sleep

When kids are deprived of adequate sleep, the immune system ceases to function properly, making children susceptible to infections. New-borns need almost 18 hours a sleep a day, toddlers 12 to 13 hours and pre-schoolers require 10 hours of sleep.

  • Hygiene

Proper hand hygiene must be maintained before and after meals, after play, after handling pets, after using the restroom and after coming indoors. Fight those germs with proper hand washing techniques.

  • Herbal Solutions

The antioxidants in naturally obtained herbs like Guduchi, Yashti Madhu, and Guggulu improve immunity in children. The antiviral property of Yashtimadhu keeps asthma, bronchitis, and chronic cough in check. 

  • Breast-feed your baby

The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that moms exclusively breastfeed for the first six months to increase immunity. Breast milk has turbo-charged immunity-enhancing antibodies and white blood cells. Breast milk may enhance your baby's brain power and help protect him/her against insulin-dependent diabetes, Crohn's disease, colitis, and certain forms of cancer later in life. 

  • Exercise as a family

Regular exercise increases immunity naturally. Be a good role model to get your children to exercise by doing the same yourself. This will introduce your children to a lifelong fitness habit. Exercise with them rather than just urging them to go out and play. Fun family activities include camping, bike riding, hiking, skating and outdoor sports.

  • Quit smoking!

There are more than 7,000 harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, which can harm or kill the cells in the body. Kids are more vulnerable to second-hand smoke than adults as they breathe at a faster rate. Also, a child’s natural detoxification rate is less developed and second-hand smoke increases the risk of a child to catch SIDS, bronchitis, asthma and ear infections. It might also affect neurological development and intelligence. If you can’t quit smoking, the least you can do is smoke outside the house for your child’s safety.  

5 Foods Boosting Immunity in Kids

  1. Fruits and vegetables

All seasonal fruits and vegetables are immensely rich in essential antioxidants and vitamins. Although low in calories, most of them are packed with vitamin A and C that are instrumental to build up a child's immunity. The best ones to include in your child’s diet as immune-boosters are fruits like guava, oranges, papaya, berries and vegetables like pumpkin, onions, dark green leafy vegetables.

  1. Yogurt

Yogurt is packed with calcium and several other nutrients helping maintain strong and healthy bones for your child and making it a great immunity booster as well. Yogurt is a protective, anti-infection agent making your child immune to infections. 



  1. Proteins 

Proteins from animal sources have essential amino acids and are a must to make the immune cells of your child stronger. Proteins are abundant in fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, and milk. For vegetarians, its possible to obtain the protein from grains and legumes like soyabeans, rajma, chickpeas etc.

  1. Nuts

Walnuts and almonds are blessed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids that help your child’s body combat illness. Studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids decrease the number of respiratory infections in kids. Sprinkle walnuts into a snack mix or on your baby’s cereal.

  1. Condiments and spices

Indian condiments and spices like garlic, ginger and turmeric have antiviral and antibacterial properties. These are proven natural immunity boosters for children. Garlic also helps prevent cold and flu symptoms.



Was this article helpful? Do write in and let us know in the comment section. Also share any tips, suggestions or questions that you may have regarding the same. We’d be happy to help.

 

Some frequently asked questions have been answered below for you!

You ask and we answer!


               

Q. 1 How can I boost immunity naturally? (Vandana Menon, Calicut.)

Here are 8 suggestions:

Get enough sleep. Sleep and immunity are closely connected.

Eat more whole plant foods.

Eat more healthy fats.

Eat more fermented foods or take a probiotic supplement.

Limit added sugars.

Engage in moderate exercise.

Stay hydrated.

Manage your stress levels.

 

Q. 2 How can i boost my 3- year-olds immune system? (Anita Dua, Ranchi.)

Try to include the following iron-rich foods in your toddler's healthy, balanced diet to help strengthen their immune system:

Meat – Especially red meat.

Liver – limit their intake to one portion per week to avoid getting too much vitamin A.

Beans.

Nuts.

Dried fruit like dried apricots.

Wholegrains like brown rice.

 

Q. 3 What age is a child’s immune system developed? (Persis Narielwala, Mumbai.)

The immune system consists of a team of cells, proteins, tissues and organs that fight off illness, germs and other invaders. When an unsafe substance enters the body the immune system attacks. Children do not have fully developed immune systems until they are about 7-8 years old.

 

Published by

MKB Team

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