Build your child’s immunity to fight seasonal diseases
It is normal to be concerned about your child’s health as a parent, but equally important to safeguard your family and children by boosting their immunity. In addition to standard precautions like hygiene and staying away from infection-prone places, follow these simple guidelines to keep your children healthy and safe.
It is vital that even during extended periods at home, your child continues to eat balanced meals that contain ample amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are some nutrition suggestions that will continue to build your child’s immunity.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, eggs, fishes containing omega-3 fatty acids and healthy oils like olive oil are great for children. Please ensure the vegetables and fruits are of different colours, so that your little one gets all kinds of micronutrients. These are best if had in raw, steamed, boiled or grilled forms, so that your child can get sufficient dietary fibre too.
- Vitamin C is a great immunity booster for children so make sure your child gets plenty of it. This vitamin protects your child against common colds and the flu and is abundant in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, guavas, and strawberries. Another excellent source of Vitamin C is Amla, it has been known to boost the immune system and reduce the duration of the common cold. A veggie or fruit salad, smoothies and fresh juices are some wonderful options to include in the diet.
- Vitamin B6 is another vitamin known to strengthen immunity. Moderate to severe deficiencies of B6 can cripple the immune system and make your child susceptible to infections. Vitamin B6 can be found in whole-grain cereals, legumes, green leafy vegetables, fish, seafood, meat, poultry, and nuts. An easy and safe way to feed your child nuts is by grinding them into a powder and adding to his cereals or porridge. Banana is also an immune-boosting food because it contains vitamin B6- serve it as a whole fruit or chop it up to add to cereals or smoothies. Sweet potato also has high vitamin B6 content- boiled sweet potato in a tangy chat is something most kids love!
- Iron is another nutrient that boosts immunity and essential for the formation of haemoglobin in the red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of your child’s body. Red meat, fish, chicken, eggs, and green leafy vegetables are rich sources of iron. Iron from vegetarian sources is harder for the body to absorb, than the iron your child gets from animal sources. So, pairing iron-rich vegetarian sources with foods rich in vitamin C, recommended above is ideal for better absorption. A mid-day snack of ghee, roti and jaggery may be a good idea to make sure your child gets his iron!
If your child displays respiratory symptoms like nasal congestion, cough, sneezing, sore throat or a runny nose, make sure to consult your paediatrician for medical care. Bear in mind that your child may prefer smaller, more frequent meals as opposed to large meals, if he is unwell. Keep your child adequately hydrated. Your child’s body needs to repair and replenish itself so make sure they continue to get enough sleep and stay with a routine.
Worrying for your family’s health, especially when seasonal diseases are rampant, is normal. However, stay calm and keep boosting your child’s immunity by making the best food choices for them.