The immune system is what your body uses as a defense mechanism against several infectious organisms & other foreign invaders. Most of the time, the immune system does an excellent job of keeping you healthy. However, it can run into trouble under some circumstances which may lead to infections & illnesses.
When a child's immune system is weak it results in recurrent runny noses, colds & repetitive gastrointestinal infections, it is time to take a closer look at their immune system. There are many measures you can take in order to boost your child's immune system. These measures can actually boost their defenses as well as speed up the healing process.
BREAST MILK & CHILD'S IMMUNITY
Human milk provides substances that benefit the baby's immune system, including antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, & white blood cells. They protect the child against a spectrum of diseases & infections.
1. GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, & kale are loaded with antioxidants & other nutrients which are essential for a healthy immune system. Children are usually not fond of green veggies, but we can smartly incorporate the same in their meals.
Ways to incorporate: You can add spinach puree to pasta/ noodles/ spaghetti. You can add kale to a smoothie.
2. CITRUS FRUITS & BERRIES:
Citrus fruits like oranges, lime, guavas & berries are one of the best sources of antioxidants & immune-boosting nutrients. The bright red, blue & purple colours get their pigment from a potent antioxidant called anthocyanin. They also contain ample amounts of vitamin A, as well as vitamin C, both of which strengthen your child's immune system.
Ways to incorporate: Add a handful of mixed berries to your child's breakfast cereal. A delicious snack idea could be a handful of mixed berries stirred in a bowl of plain yoghurt. Orange & berry smoothies can be a good option.
3. YOGHURT [PROBIOTIC]
In children as well as in adults, when the distribution of gut bacteria is imbalanced, your ability to fight infections is compromised & you may experience an increase in cold & flu.
Yogurt or curds contains probiotics i.e., the good bacteria which strengthen the intestinal tract & keep the gut healthy. In children, yogurt can also help reduce diarrhoea caused by antibiotics.
Ways to incorporate: Most children don't like to eat plain curds & so you can try flavoured yogurt, Greek yogurt or smoothies made out of them.
4. EGGS & LEAN MEAT:
Eggs & lean meat are rich in proteins which is an important macro-nutrient for children. The egg yolk is a storehouse of vital vitamins, minerals & antioxidants. Lean meats & poultry also contain high amounts of zinc & important minerals that lead to increased white blood cells to fight infection.
Ways to incorporate: Egg omelette for breakfast, chicken or fish gravy in the main course.
5. NUTS & SEEDS:
Walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds & flax seeds are excellent sources of Vitamin E & antioxidants & thus, they help in boosting immunity.
Ways to incorporate: We can add crushed nuts to desserts. We can even give dry fruit powder for babies, & crushed nuts in milk. We can make a mix of seeds & sprinkle on fruits.