5 AMAZING HOME REMEDIES FOR DRY SKIN IN CHILDREN

Dry skin is a common condition. There can be many reasons for dry skin in kids. At least one in 10 children have eczema an ongoing skin problem that causes dry, itchy, red skin (what category of foods can help eczema?). Children with eczema have more sensitive skin than other people. Babies with severe eczema may also have food allergies. The most common being allergy from cow’s milk. 

Common reasons causing Dry skin

Bathing too often and using soap can cause dry skin and if skin is already dry it makes it more worse. This happens because soap removes the layer of skin’s natural oil and makes it difficult for skin to keep moisture in.

Climate is also responsible of having dry skin. It’s especially common in winters. When the humidity level drops outside, it affects skin as water in your skin evaporates quickly. This makes your skin feel dry and tight and makes it look cracking.

Genetics also plays a role in dry skin. Researchers say that dry skin can be inherited. According to a study, mutations in genes that control the production of the protein filaggrin, which plays a role in forming and hydrating the skin barrier, can cause several skin conditions.

Chlorine protects from harmful bacteria that can form in swimming pools. But spending too long in swimming pool can be a cause for your kid’s dry skin. The chlorine in pool water can dry out kid’s skin and make it feel tight and itchy because chlorine strips hairs and skin of the natural lubricant (sebum). Dry skin is less common in teenagers than in younger kids as the oil glands are more active in teenage years.

Common cure for dry skin

There are many home remedies one can use to get rid of dry skin. Most common being oil. However, a study in 2013 found that olive oil actually damaged skin’s barrier, suggesting not all natural oils are suitable for use as moisturisers. Below are some nuts and fruits which can be applied or consumed to improve skin health.

  • COCONUT OIL: A study in 2019 explained that soothing properties of coconut oils have positive results on dermatitis and extremely dry skin. Coconut oil act as a sealant as it trap water into the skin and keep it moist. It also provides key essential fatty lipids. These lipids improve the function of the skin allowing it to feel hydrated as a result. (Is it beneficial to eat coconut oil too?). Other than applying the oil for dryness purposes, coconut also contains antibacterial properties, which help to heal a rash or allergy on the skin. This can also be mixed with aloe vera and kept.

ALOE VERA: Aloe Vera has healing and hydrating properties and is a great choice for dry skin. However, it absorbs easily, making it ideal for oily skin too. It helps to seal moisture into your skin. According to a 2015 systematic review study, aloe Vera has antioxidant, antimicrobial and wound healing properties that may help with the symptoms of eczema (What kind of food can help with allergies?).

  • COCOA BUTTER: Cocoa butter is mostly made up of fatty acids. People use cocoa butter to help relieve dry skin. It is a boon for people with dry and dull skin conditions. It has ability to nourish and hydrate the skin and develop elasticity. Mixing this with tea tree oil can give added acne solving benefits to the skin. It can also be a great butter replacement in baking goods. (A recipe for a super nutritious chocolatey bar)
  • ROSE WATER: It has been used as a natural product for thousands of years to reduce skin redness and hydrate the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties (what kind of food can help with inflammation?) It works as an antibacterial spray to help reduce acne (How to treat acne?). Preparing it at home with all natural rose flowers is the best way to get a chemical free product.
  • SUNFLOWER SEEDS: Loaded with fatty acids like linolenic, oleic and palmitic acid and other vital nutrients it can be beneficial for skin. It can help you to get rid of acne, scars, dull and dry skin. It increases the production of collagen and gives a smooth glowing skin. Sunflower seeds also contain substantial amounts of zinc and vitamin E which helps to protect skin cells from ageing and decaying. (Does eating sunflower seeds help too?). Based on the age of the child, consuming the seed or its powder, or applying its oil on the skin, both benefit the skin dryness levels.

TOMATOES: Benefits of tomatoes for dry skin are plenty. It contains several skin friendly vitamins and nutrients that can give you beautiful and glowing skin such as lycopene and antioxidants. These can repair damaged skin cells and restore its natural, healthy glow. It also contains deep cleansing agents and corrects the skin pH levels (making it not too dry nor too oily), therefore can very well prevent dryness in skin and minimise acne. (What are other benefits of consuming a tomato everyday?) Juice of tomato also reduces the sun tan from the skin apart from providing it moisturising effect.

AVOCADO: The natural oils in avocado deeply penetrate the skin to nourish, soften and hydrate. Avocado is packed with vitamin A which is responsible for ensuring effective cell repair. It is a great source of biotin, which is part of Vitamin B and helps to control dry skin issues. They are factory of healthy fats including vitamin E, which are essential to keep skin flexible and moisturised. Additionally, avocado also helps to slow the visible signs of ageing. (What is an easy recipe to use avocado?) Applying avocado on the skin is a great child moisturiser (can also mix along with aloe vera). Eating helps too!

WALNUTS: Walnuts have many characteristics that make them an excellent food for healthy skin. They are good source of essential fatty acids, which are fats that body cannot make itself. In fact they are richer than most other nuts in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that strengthen the membranes of skin cells, locking in moisture and nutrients that keep the skin plump and glowing and keeps out toxins that can damage skin cells. Walnuts have anti-inflammatory properties which help to boost vitamin B levels that are responsible for improving your skin health and preventing skin dryness. Depending on the age of the child, feeding the nut or using its oil are options to keep the skin healthy and plump.

Recipe for Cornflakes seed cookies

  • 1/3 cup each cornflakes (crushed), wheat flour, oats
  • Handful sunflower seeds or any nut crushed or powdered
  • Handful Choco chips (or more)
  • Honey (as per sweetness)
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 2 heaped tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
  • Milk as little as to make sticky dough
  • Take small scoop of dough and place on lined baking tray
  • Preheat oven for 5 min.
  • Bake at 200 celsius for 15 min. Once edges begin to brown, take it out.
  • Cool on rack. Once completely cool, eat right away.  

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WHAT CAUSES MOUTH ULCER AND HOW TO TREAT THEM

Spotting a mouth sore (ulcer) in your child’s mouth is a matter of concern. While having mouth ulcer child feels pain, especially when he/she eats salty or spicy food. Children might refuse to take food till they get rid of these sores. Mouth ulcers are painful areas on gums, inner lips, tongue, roof and floor of mouth caused by loss of delicate tissue of the mouth. They can be white, red, yellow or grey in color and there are possibilities to have more than one ulcer at a time. Growing kids are at a higher risk of having mouth ulcers. They make it uncomfortable to eat, drink or brushing the teeth. In most of the cases there is nothing to worry about, as they go away by themselves in around 7 to 14 days. However, if they exist for more than two weeks and developing larger in size, it is always advisable to visit a doctor. Kids having a family history of mouth ulcers are most prone to develop them. Although no one knows exact cause of mouth ulcer there are some reasons why they occur.

Causes of mouth ulcers:

Traumas and injury– These are the most common cause of mouth ulcers in kids. It includes accidental biting of your cheek (inside), injury from a toothbrush, constant rubbing of dentures or braces, burn from eating hot food. All of the mentioned things usually cause single mouth ulcers.

Fungal Infection– Ulcers in mouth sometimes happens due to overgrowth of yeast (type of fungus) normally lives inside our mouth and throat. It overgrows in kid, who has been taken antibiotics or has weak immune system. (How to easily build immunity?)

Acidic food or drinks– Citrus fruits, acidic food and spicy food can cause mouth ulceration. Fruits such as oranges, pineapple, lemon, grapes and tomatoes can cause stress on the tissues in the mouth and cause sores, apart from this very spicy and salty food should also be avoided which can lead to further irritation.

Lack of vitamin B12– When a kid doesn’t get enough vitamin B12, his/her body produces abnormally large red blood cells, which can be the reason for sores in mouth and sometimes for red bumpy tongue too. (What are some food source of vitamin B12?)

Stress– Stress affects overall health of your kid badly. In some cases it has been found that kids bite their inner cheeks and lips if something bothering them, which results in mouth ulcer. (How to lower stress with food?)

Hormonal changes– Hormonal changes that occur due to puberty and menstruation may cause mouth ulcer.

Nutrients and foods that prevents mouth ulcer:

Vitamin B12: Deficiency of vitamin B12, can lead to mouth ulcer. Other symptoms of its deficiency are feeling lack of energy, tiredness, having sore and red tongue. By incorporating vitamin B12 rich food like milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, chicken, fish in your kid’s diet, you can help in preventing regular mouth ulceration. (What are the best fruits for teenagers to manage hormones?)

Folate: It has been noticed in several studies that mouth ulcer can be caused by deficiency of folic acid. Food rich in folate such as green leafy vegetables, beetroot, broccoli, nuts and seeds, wheat gram and avocado can help in fighting mouth ulcers. (What are some easy folate food sources?)

Zinc: A recent study indicates low zinc level can increase the risk of oral ulceration. It is a mineral which boost our immunity so it can help to fight off bacteria that cause mouth ulcer. It also helps in healing wounds. Food sources that can help to compensate zinc deficiency are chickpeas, lentils, beans, eggs, whole grain and dairy foods like milk and cheese.

Iron: Dry mouth, sore, swollen or smooth tongue can be symptoms of iron deficiency. If a kid is suffering from repetitive mouth ulceration, including iron intake in his/her diet can help to great extent in overcoming from this. Food rich in iron such as spinach, quinoa, white beans, dark chocolate, soybeans, tofu, dry fruits and tomatoes help in fixing iron deficiency. (How much does iron cookware benefit iron intake?)

Treatment of mouth ulcers:

  • Apply ice on effected area
  • Rinse your mouth with salt water or baking soda
  • Drink cool chamomile tea
  • Brush gently
  • Avoid acidic or spicy food
  • Eat healthy and balanced diet
  • Reduce stress by indulging your kids in their favorite activities
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Milk of magnesia is advisable to apply on mouth ulcer

Home remedies for mouth ulcers:

Honey: Honey is loaded with vitamins, minerals and amino acids that have anti-bacterial, anti- fungal, and anti-oxidant properties. According to a research, honey helps in minimising the size, redness, and pain occurs due to mouth ulcers. It also prevents effected area from further infection. Applying honey on ulcers for at least ten minutes and repeating the process three to four times a day may provide some relief.

Turmeric: with lots of medicinal properties turmeric has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory abilities which makes it perfect to reduce the inflammation caused by ulcer. Mix a bit of turmeric powder with little water and apply this paste on effective area for couple of minutes and rinse off, do this at least twice a day. It also helps in fighting further infections. (What are other ayurveda herbs good for kids?)

Poppy seeds (khas khas): Due to its cooling effect, poppy seeds are considered as best for treating mouth ulcers, which can be a cause of excess body heat. The bio active compounds in poppy seed encourage tissues to regenerate and promote healing of ulcers.

Holy basil (Tulsi): Tulsi leaves have been scientifically proven to have medicinal properties. It also has anti-bacterial effect, which can destroy more than 99% of the bacteria and germs in your mouth and therefore helps in fighting mouth ulcer. Chewing 2 to 3 leaves of Tulsi leaves at least 3 to 4 times a day not only helps in reducing pain and redness, but also prevents reoccurrence.

Liquorice (Mulethi): This perennial herb not only treats cold and cough, but also helps in cleaning your stomach and remove toxins that could be responsible for mouth ulcers. It has been studied that mulethi contains anti-inflammatory property which help in reducing mouth ulcers. Make a paste of liquorice powder with some honey and apply this on ulcers, repeat this for 2 to 3 times a day for better results. (What other ailments does licorice help kids in?)

Recipe for Ulcers:

  • 1 tsp roasted turmeric
  • 1 tsp licorice powder
  • 1 tsp honey

Mix and apply on the ulcer. Even if the kid eats this, it will only help fight the infection. Apply 3-4 times a day. The taste is just great, kids wont say no 🙂

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HEALTHY HAIR TIPS: FOODS, NUTRIENTS, HERBS & ESSENTIAL OILS

“Invest in your hair. It’s the crown you never take off”

This applies to kids as much as it applies to adults and that is why taking care of your kid’s hair should be of equal importance as well. Developing a healthy hair care routine at an early age will prevent your child from developing hair problems later on in life. Hair is not just one of the aspects of beauty in person, but also related with your personal hygiene. So, it is important to implant habit of keeping hair clean among kids from a very young age. As a parent we spend hours to think about child’s clothes and grooming products, but sometimes never pay attention on their hairs and it’s need. You can always get an idea by looking at your child’s hair, of whether his/her body is receiving a required amount of nutrients or not. (How to prepare easy nutritious snacks for kids?)

How you take care of your child’s hair will depend on the type of hair he or she has (thick or thin, dry or greasy), length of the hair and the activity level of the child. Parents can help kids to choose the correct Hair wash as per their age and hair type, oil their hair regularly and provide them with the right nutrients in their diet.

Some common hair problems and their causes:

Grey hair: Though graying of hair is inevitable with age, nowadays even young adults and teens are facing this problem and to cover their grey hair, they start using chemical based colors and dyes which further damage the hair in the long run. Your hair follicles have pigment cells that make melanin; this chemical gives your hair its color. As you age, the cells start to die and without melanin, the new hair that grows in has no pigment, which makes it appear grey, white or silver. (Which food can give hair pigment?)

Hair loss: Losing hair with age is expected, but hair loss in children can be alarming as it will affect them psychologically as well. Some common causes for hair loss in kids are infections, autoimmune disease, physical cause (stress) and nutritional deficiencies. However, the most common cause of hair loss in children is scalp ringworm, which is treatable fungal infection. (How to treat skin dryness in kids?)

Dry Hair: Straightening, blow-drying, highlighting and perming regularly can have a negative effect on your hair & causes dryness & split ends. Split ends occur when the protective outermost layer of hair (cuticle) is damaged and peels back. Hair styling products should be avoided for kids or should be used sparingly if really required.

Greasy Hair: Greasy or oily hair looks dull, limp and lifeless and are difficult to manage. Glands produce natural oil called sebum which helps to keep the skin lubricated. Sometimes these glands work excessively and produce more oil, leading to a greasy scalp. If your kid face this problem, using a mild and gentle shampoo might help.

How to prevent/cure hair problems:

Diet and nutrition plays a significant role in developing the look, feel and the strength of your kid’s hair. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency known in world as a major cause of hair loss. Various foods, nutrients, herbs and oils can help to prevent/cure hair related issues in kids and adults as well.

Food and Nutrients important for Hair:

Amla or Indian gooseberry: Amla is a miracle fruit for hair as it is rich in calcium, vitamin C and other antioxidants that helps to strengthen hair follicles, reduces oxidative stress and prevents premature graying, dandruff and other fungal infections. It promotes scalp circulation and stimulates healthy hair growth, both in terms of length and volume. (What are some best fruits for teenagers?)

Collagen: Collagen, as studies suggest, is one of the main reasons behind hair thinning and hair loss. Collagen is a protein which helps to build your connective tissues like bones, ligaments, cartilage and also improves skin, hair, nails, joints and digestion. It can be commonly found in fish, chicken, egg whites, citrus fruits, berries and garlic. (Which foods can help with acne?)

Protein: Your hair strands are mainly made of protein called keratin and so protein acts as the life for your hair cells, thereby helping in construction of new tissues and repairing of the damaged tissues. Some of the protein-rich foods are eggs, chicken, lentils, legumes, quinoa, green peas, spinach, guava, milk & milk products, nuts like almonds, cashews and pumpkin seeds. (Some easy protein for kids)

Iron: Iron deficiency is one of the primary reasons for hair loss in kids and adults. Scientists believe that some genes in the hair follicle are regulated by iron. It also helps to circulate oxygen to our body & our tissues. Hence, the lack of it may compromise hair health and also causes other problems like fatigue, shortness of breath and dry & damaged skin. High protein rich foods include tofu, beans, legumes, dark leafy greens, poultry, fish, nuts and seeds. (Does cooking in iron pan help in nutrition?)

Vitamin B: Vitamin B provides thickness & shines to the hair and also encourages hair growth. Vitamin B6, B3, B5 and biotin in particular are very helpful in strengthening hair, reducing hair loss and supporting our adrenal glands. Dark leafy vegetables, gluten-free whole grains, sweet potatoes, legumes, fish, liver and eggs are the most common sources of B vitamins.

Antioxidants (Vitamin A, E, C, and Selenium): Vitamin E helps in stimulating hair growth and promotes circulation in the scalp and hair follicles, while vitamin A is good for hair follicle stem cells. Selenium and Vitamin C prevent hair damage and ageing of hair. Sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, almonds, sunflower seeds, berries, bell peppers, citrus fruits, cauliflower and mushrooms are rich source of these antioxidants. (An easy source of daily selenium)

Herbs and Oils that are good for Hair:

Green tea: It is a rich source catechins, an antioxidant which helps to reduce DTH (an androgen which makes your hair fall). As a result, it stops hair fall and helps to fight against other hair problems like, dryness of the scalp and dandruff.

Aloe Vera: Regular use of aloe vera helps in maintaining the pH balance of the hair, in opening up the blocked pores of the scalp and also boosts the growth of hair follicles. A special protein (called proteolytic) in it helps to break down dead skin cells on the scalp and promotes hair growth.

Hibiscus: This flower is rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, amino acids, mucilage fiber, moisture content and antioxidants. It helps prevent hair loss and stimulates regrowth from dormant follicles. It also reduces the graying of hair.

Moringa: Moringa is loaded with nutrients such as Zinc, vitamin A, B, C and E and essential amino acids. It is rich in chlorophyll and antioxidants which helps to nourish your hair. It helps restore strength, promotes hair growth and also repairs damaged hair. (Is this really a superfood to prevent most of the ailments?)

Coconut oil: Coconut oil acts as a great moisturizer for your scalp. It penetrates your skin and hair shaft, promotes hair growth and even keeps the scalp lice free. It also works as a conditioner preventing hair damage and reducing protein loss in hair.

Neem oil: Neem oil is the nature’s cure to all your hair concerns as it has regenerative properties which promotes healthy cell division and stimulates hair follicle growth.

Recipe for 7 Veggies Rice

  • ½ onion
  • ⅓ broccoli
  • ½ bowl corn
  • ½ bowl peas
  • 1 potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 bowl soy chunks
  • 1.5 bowl raw rice
  • 3 bowls water
  • salt and pepper

Sauté all the veggies. Add raw rice. Salt as per taste and water. Sprinkle pepper and mix. Keep on low flame and cover the pan with a lid. Let cook till done. Serve with yogurt or plain.

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8 common causes of stomach pain in kids

Kids often complain of stomach pain, but it is difficult for parents to trace out the reason for their pain. There can be many reasons behind stomach pain in kids. It can range from mild discomfort to severe cramping, burning, nausea, fever and vomiting in some cases. Most of the time it is not caused by serious medical problem but some time abdominal pain can be a sign of something serious. Stomach pain in kids can be caused by a variety of common reasons such as eating too much, needing to go to the washroom, or anxiety or worry about an upcoming event. However, if your child complaints of stomach pain frequently, it can be difficult to know the best ways to help and when to call the doctor. It is important to figure out the type of pain a child is complaining of. Whether it is pain covering more than half of the belly due to gastric problem or it is a cramp like pain due to bloating or a colicky pain which comes in a wave.

Eight causes of stomach pain in kids:

Gas: Gastric pain or indigestion is common in kids of all ages. It is commonly used to describe pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Some main causes of gastric problems among kids are, gulping down meals at a rapid speed, intake of aerated drinks (soda), fried junk, consumption of high levels of insoluble fiber (part of food that doesn’t get digested but reaches the gut to become food for the good bacterias living there), imbalance of good bacterias in the gut which support digestion.

Constipation: Constipation is one of the causes for stomach pain in kids. Children most often get constipated by holding in their stool to avoid or delay in bowel movement. When stool stays in large intestine for too long, it absorbs fluids from stool and causes constipation. Encouraging your child to make simple dietary changes such as eating more fiber rich fruits and vegetable and drinking more water can help in constipation. This is the most prominent cause in todays time. Children prefer food that is easy to gulp or belongs to the junk-food category. Excess sugar consumption in food also causes constipation.

Food poisoning: It is a condition caused by eating food, or drinks which are contaminated by germs or toxins. These harmful organisms produce toxins that irritate the lining of kid’s stomach and intestines. This can result in pain in abdomen.

Overeating: Too much of anything is bad. Overeating of any food, healthy or junk both can cause abdominal pain. Kids often eat too much when it comes to their favourite foods like pizza, fries, soda, burger etc. In addition to that, eating too quickly which is also very common in kids can contribute to stomach discomforts.

Lactose Intolerant: Lactose intolerant is an inability to breakdown a type of natural sugar called lactose. Lactose commonly found in dairy products such as milk and yogurt. A kid can become lactose intolerant when the small intestine stops making enough of the enzymes to digest the lactose. This can cause cramps, abdominal pain, gas and sometimes diarrhea. This is quite common in kids nowadays. Some kids who don’t have this concern initially, can also develop with time as they grow.

Stress: When a child is stressed, the adrenal glands make and release the hormones cortisol into the bloodstream. This cause the fight –or –flight response, and also trigger abdominal discomfort , stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea and nausea.

Appendicitis: Recognising appendicitis in your little one is tough as child can’t always speak in full or describe their symptoms. A blockage in the lining of the appendix that results in infection is a possible cause of appendicitis. The blockage may be caused by mucus or stool or parasites or by a bend or twist in the appendix itself. It is mostly becoming common in children between the ages of 9-15. Food can also be a reason for this. Fried fatty foods can irritate the digestive system which can lead to appendicitis.

Stomach pain and digestive issues in kids can be due to lack of fiber or pro-biotic (good bacterias) in the diet.

Food for a healthy stomach:

Banana: Bananas are easy to digest and are known to ease stomach pain. It is loaded with calcium, magnesium, iron, folate, vitamin B6, manganese. It also contain potassium which help in case of dehydration form vomiting and diarrhoea. It has natural sugar (fructose) so kid will be able to get calories even if he/she is not eating much.

Yogurt: Yogurt can be good for a kid’s stomach health. It is rich in probiotics (good bacterias) that helps to maintain gut health. Having a little yogurt during a upset stomach may help relieve diarrhea too. Presence of protein, calcium , Vitamin B2, vitamin B12, potassium and magnesium in it helps to boost up the immune system and promote healthy digestive track.

Asafoetida (Heeng): The secret of this ingredient is being shared for ages. Heeng is added to food preparations which are generally tough to digest like beans and whole pulses. It helps to boost digestion by increasing the activity of digestive enzymes. As per a study, it’s antibacterial, anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties are used to treat stomach disorders and cure gas, bloating, acidity, constipation and improve stomach health.

Coconut water: Coconut water is rich in nutrients and electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C which makes it an excellent choice for keeping kids hydrated after sickness and improves digestion at the same time.

Apple: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ Kids favourite apple has 3.6grams of fiber. Apple contains pectin, a type of fiber that feeds the good bacterias in gut. Apples are loaded with antioxidant, vitamins and dietary fiber, which helps to keep your kid’s digestive tract moving, also prevents or even treats constipation.

Peppermint: This green herb is well known for its refreshing flavour and ability to sooth an upset stomach. It has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal properties which positively impact the gastrointestinal tract. Peppermint oil is sometimes used to improve irritable bowel syndrome (an inflammatory condition that impacts the large intestine) stomach pain, bloating and gas.

Ginger: Ginger contains chemicals that have been found to relax and smooth muscles, especially those which are in intestinal track. Consuming ginger helps food to move more quickly and more easily in digestive track, helping to relieve stomach cramps.

Recipe for Veggie Pizza cups

  • 1 medium capsicum shredded
  • half broccoli
  • 2 handful corn kernels whole or shredded
  • 1 medium onion chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the veggies- onion, brocolli, capsicum, corn.

  • 2 cups of flours (mix of any- whole wheat, ragi, sorghum, rye, amaranth, teff)
  • Add oregano seasoning and salt as per choice
  • Add 2 tbsp psyllium husk
  • Add water (to make sticky dough)
  • Leave dough to rest and rise for 2-3 hours covered with dry cloth and loose lid
  • Once done, take a small ball of dough and make into a cup and place in baking tray
  • Add veggies and cheddar cheese on top
  • Preheat for 5 min at 220 celsius. Bake for 15 min and serve!

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BRUSHING TEETH SHOULD BE PART OF NIGHT TIME ROUTINE

Kids are so busy with school, family and co-curricular activities now days. They are learning numerous things every day. Among all these rush, one of the necessary life skills every child needs to learn is brushing his/her teeth properly. When you brush your teeth, you help remove food and plaque (a sticky white thing forms on your teeth) which contains bacteria. After you eat a meal or snacks, the bacteria in plaque produces acids that attack tooth enamel. It is best to brush teeth twice a day, in morning as you wake up and at night before going to bed. Brushing at night is actually more important than during the day. The food you eat leaves particles and residue on your teeth that feed bacteria while you sleep.

Why is taking care of your teeth so important?

Your teeth are important in many ways. Strong and healthy teeth helps to chew food properly, speak clearly and to look your best with that lovely smile. Taking care of your teeth and gums will help to prevent the formation of plaque and cavities which cause tooth decays, if left untreated. Plaque is a combination of bacteria, food particles, saliva and acid that sticks to your teeth. The bacteria in plaque cause tooth decay and gum disease if they are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing. So, taking care of your teeth is as important as taking care of any other part of your body.

What are the common dental problems faced by kids?

Most of the dental problems faced by kids are the same as faced by adults, but since young teeth are still developing and softer as compared to the adult’s teeth, adopting a healthy oral hygiene habit at this young age becomes more important to avoid serious problems as child grows up. Let’s understand the common dental problems that are affecting kids:

Tooth decay: Tooth decay is the most common dental problem faced by kids across the world which is caused by the accumulation of plaque on teeth. Carbohydrate (starchy, sugary kinds) rich foods help plaque to grow and eat away the teeth gradually. Cookies, candies, soda, fruit juice and other sugary foods are the preferred choice by kids these days and the main reason for the rise in the number of cavities in kids. Tooth decays can be prevented by following proper brushing routine.

Bad breath or Halitosis: The bacteria in our mouth feeds on leftover food, fluid and plaque and produce hydrogen sulfide, which leads to a bad smell in the mouth. In children, it is most common in the morning when they wake up. Brushing your teeth before going to bed at night can prevent this problem to a large extent. Other than that, cleaning your tongue and using an antibacterial mouthwash can also help.

Sensitivity: If your child complains of irritation or discomfort after having hot or cold foods/fluids, it is a sign of sensitive teeth. Children’s enamels are thinner than that of adults and are easily eroded by plaque and acids which may cause receding gums and developing of cracks on the tooth surface thereby exposing the nerve endings and causing the pain. A soft- bristled toothbrush can help your child to combat this pain.

Gum disease or Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissue which is caused by poor oral hygiene and plaque buildup resulting in gum bleeding, bone damage & sometimes tooth loss too. The best way to prevent it is to brush twice daily.

Why nighttime brushing is so important for kids?

Nighttime brushing can prevent bad breath caused by the food which is left in your mouth overnight. It will help to get rid of the acidic waste created by the bacteria that leads to tooth decay. While you are sleeping, production of saliva in your mouth decreases and the damage caused to the teeth and gums caused by bacteria increases. Whatever food you have been eating throughout the day, ends up sitting in your mouth and acts as the feed for the bacteria. Brushing at nighttime can also prevent the formation of plaque and tartar on the teeth thereby preventing tooth & gum diseases.

Food choices that can improve your a child’s dental health

Calcium: Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for healthy teeth. It strengthens the hard outer shell of tooth called enamel, which is the defence against erosion and cavities. Calcium rich food like milk, cheese, broccoli and other milk products are the best food sources for kid’s healthy teeth development.

Magnesium: This is a vital vitamin for the body. Not only is it deficient in most of the kids, its deficiency can result in the calcium deficiency too. Magnesium helps too absorb calcium in the body and hence has a role to play in building teeth strong and teeth enamel. (What are some easy food sources of magnesium?)

Foods with fluoride: It helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugar in the mouth. Grapes, spinach, raisin are good source of fluoride.

Fiber rich fruits and vegetables: Foods with fiber help keep teeth and gums clean, says research. Next to good home dental care, this is the best natural defence against cavities and gum disease. In traditional times, people never used toothbrushes but rather used their teeth to cut and chew on hard, fibrous veggies to keep their teeth clean and gums strong. Orange, carrots, apricots and dark leafy vegetables are rich sources of vitamin A, which is most important for teeth enamel formation and also to keep gums healthy. (How to cook foods with Vitamin-A)

Neem: Traditionally neem sticks were used as toothbrushes. Neem has a high place in the traditional medicine world. Due to its antibacterial properties, neem is considered to treat bacterias and heal. It is quite useful in dentistry for curing gingival (tissues which provide a seal around teeth) problems and maintain oral health in a natural way. Neem is an additive in some branded toothpastes nowadays.

Peppermint: It is a widely used herb for dental health as it acts as a breath freshener and teeth whitener. Recent scientific studies have found that peppermint fights bacteria inside your mouth which causes gum disease. Peppermint oil is an effective way to reduce plaque (a combination of bacteria, food particles, saliva and acid that sticks to the teeth). Rinsing with diluted peppermint oil can solve bad breath also. (What are some ayurvedic herbs to build immunity?)

Recipe for Veggie Cheese Dough

  • 1 medium capsicum shredded
  • half broccoli
  • 1 long carrot pureed
  • 2 handful corn kernels whole or shredded
  • 1 medium onion chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 200gm cottage cheese/ paneer grated
  • 1 bowl sprouts pureed
  • 1 bowl oats or oats flour
  • 1 bowl sorghum flour or wheat flour or any other

Sauté the veggies- onion, brocolli, capsicum, corn, carrot. Add them to the wheat flour and oats. Add salt and pepper. Add cottage cheese. Add carrot puree and sprout puree. Mix well to make a soft dough. Add more flour if required. Roll a small ball into a paratha or wrap or tortilla. Serve with any curry to yogurt or plain.

Super yummy and nutritious!

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COUGH, KIDS AND WHEN TO WORRY

As a parent, hearing your child cough may make you feel uncomfortable. Cough is one of the most common complaints for which parents bring their children to a doctor. Yet an occasional cough doesn’t always mean there is a problem. In fact coughing is a healthy and important reflex that helps protect the airways in the throat and chest. Children can cough several times a day or have coughing episodes lasting up to a couple of weeks if they have viral infections. However, coughing that last for more than 2-3 weeks is a matter of concern and a valid reason to visit your physician. Coughing occurs when something other than air gets into the airway below the vocal cords. Because the airway prefers air only instead of anything else (like mucus), as soon as something get into the lower airway, it is quickly expelled. Cough and sore throat, is a problem that can strike kids any time of the year. However, chances increases during winters. In winters, the cold air can dry out the tissues in the throat and can cause severe irritation.

Understanding the different types of cough can help you know when to handle them at home and when to call your doctor.

Dry cough: A dry cough refers to a cough that does not produce mucus. Kids may have a dry, hacking cough after inhaling a mild irritant, such as dust, smoke or powder. It also can be the result of a disorder, such as allergy. (How to treat an allergy?)

Whooping cough: Whooping cough is extremely contagious. It mainly affects babies younger than 6 months old who aren’t yet protected by immunization, and kids 11 to 18 whose immunity has started to fade. It causes severe coughing spells, which can sometimes end in a whooping sound when the child breathes in. It takes 7 -10 days for symptoms to appear. They are usually mild at first and resemble those of a common cold with runny nose, nasal congestion, watery eyes and cough. After a week, signs and symptoms worsen.

Cough with wheezing: Cough and wheezing are common when young children have cold and chest infection. Wheezing is a whistle sound made while breathing. Because a child’s airways are so small, any lower respiratory infection can cause wheezing in child. Wheezing happens during exhalation, when something blocks or narrows the lower airway passage into the lungs. (Easy ways to keep kids immunity high?)

Night time cough: Coughing at night can be caused by variety of conditions. Some are short term and disappear while in some cases it can be long term. Coughing often becomes worse at night. When you are lying down on bed, mucus will start pooling in the back of your throat, which causes irritation. Another reason is acid reflux. Acid is an irritant to the throat, much like mucus, germs or dust. Frequent vomiting, especially after meals, choking, wheezing are content of the reflux. (Foods to boost immunity in kids)

Cough with vomiting: Kids often cough so much that it triggers their gag reflex (contraction of throat when something touches area around tonsils), making them throw up. Also, a child who has cough with cold might vomit if lots of mucus drains into the stomach and causes nausea. (Home remedies to treat cold in kids)

HOME REMEDIES TO TREAT COUGH

Mint: Mint has a very strong odour, it helps open up the airways and allows relaxed breathing. It contains menthol, which soothes the throat and act as decongestant, helping to break down mucus. Drinking warm mint tea (mint brewed in water) or by inhaling peppermint vapours from steam bath can benefit (for older kids). Another option is to have chamomile flowers brewed in water (chamomile tea). It has the same effect on the child and also produces melatonin hormone for sleep. (Easy foods to make kids sleep)

Carom seeds (Ajwain): Carom seeds work as an expectorant (an agent that promotes the expulsion of mucus from respiratory track). It acts as a decongestant and helps in mucus removal to clear kid’s nasal passage and helps to breathe easily. Boiling water along with carom seeds and tulsi leaves and keeping it at a safe distance from the child in your supervision and helping the child to breathe it while sleeping or while active (for older kids), can help to keep cough in check and relieve chest congestion. This should best be done before sleeping as sleeping too helps heal.

Licorice (Mulethi): The benefit of this is plenty. It’s antioxidant property helps to protect from any virus or bacteria that attacks the body or fight the same when these unwanted guests enter the body. However, this perennial herb can be used to get relief from dry cough as well. For treating cough and cold in kids, mix a spoon of mulethi powder with spoonful of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and make your kids take this twice a day to get relief. (Some other super herbs of Ayurveda that kids can take)

Ginger: People have used ginger as a herbal remedy for centuries to treat many conditions. It has played a key role in lots of asian cultures- both Chinese and Ayurveda. It contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols. Researchers believe that these compounds give ginger its medicinal properties which may help ease a sore throat. Ginger may ease dry cough too, as it has anti-inflammatory properties which help to fight any infection in the body. It may also relieve nausea. Research shows certain purified compounds inside ginger roots can relax the muscles that tighten kid’s airways. Mixing ginger powder or freshly squeezed juice of ginger with honey and roasted Turmeric is a great cough syrup for kids.

Honey: Honey alone may be an effective cough suppressant too. It can’t cure coughs, but honey is believed to act as a demulcent- a substance that coats the throat and soothes it. Honey is also considered a humectant that keeps moisture in place, which prevents the throat from getting dry. This especially helps with night time coughing resulting in peaceful sleep. (How to make easy honey tablets for kids)

Home remedy for dry cough:

  • 7-8 tbsp Fresh Coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp Red Onion
  • 1 tbsp Poppy seeds or Khus-Khus
  • 1 tbsp Honey

Mix poppy seeds or khus-khus with onion pulp, fresh coconut milk and honey to make a syrup. Give it to kids twice a day, especially before bedtime to relive dry cough.

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The truth about sleep and brain development in children revealed

Sleep is an essential part of everyone’s routine. Studies have shown that kids who regularly get adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory and most importantly, mental and physical health. Most of baby’s brain development happens during sleep. This is the time when the connections between the left and right hemispheres of their brains are being formed. Brain synapses (a junction between two nerve cells) are formed during sleep. Infant sleep development is a highly dynamic process occurring in parallel to and in interaction with cognitive and physical growth. In the womb babies spend about 95% of their time asleep. Your baby’s brain has been developing since they were in your womb. In the first trimester, nerve connections are build that enable your baby to move around in the womb, while in second trimester, more nerve connections and brain tissues are formed. In third trimester, the cerebral cortex (the largest part of brain responsible for thought, memory, language and awareness) starts to take over from the brain stem, preparing your baby for future learning.

The first five years of baby’s life are exceptionally important for the development of brain. This early brain development is essentially the building blocks for your baby’s future learning, health and behavior. The child learns to crawl, eat, sleep, walk, and talk.

Just like you have to recharge your body and brain after a long day, it’s the same for the baby too. But with all that important stuff and learning going on into their tiny head, they need to recharge more frequently than adults. Baby’s brain stores everything they learn on that day during sleep.

Kids with less sleep can suffer from:

  • Crankiness or irritation
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of interest, alertness and motivation
  • Academic struggles
  • Trouble in concentrating
  • Headache from lack of sleep (Yes! this happens in kids too)

There are four vitamins and minerals that are found in food that promote sleep- Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin B6 and Tryptophan, an amino acid that is important for production of serotonin (happy hormone) in the body.

Foods for better sleep:

Eggs: Eggs are loaded with high quality protein and important nutrients like folate, Vitamin A, D, E, choline (excellent for brain development also), iron and calcium. Egg whites help the body prepare for bedtime by producing melatonin that bring on that sleepy feeling. Eggs are also a rich source in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps you sleep better or longer by telling your brain to shut down for the night.

Dairy products: Milk before bed time is certainly a good idea, but apart from milk other dairy products like cottage cheese/ paneer and cheese (especially cheddar cheese) are also packed with tryptophan. Cheddar cheese can have up to 60% more tryptophan than turkey. (What kind of cheese should you buy?)

Chickpeas (chola): Chickpea curry or hummus is high in the amino acid tryptophan, the chemical that can help you fall asleep easily. The versatile beans are also high in folate, which helps regulate sleeping, and vitamin B6 which helps regulate your internal clock of sleep and rise. (Recipe for more nutritious spreads for bread, paratha)

Nuts: Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cashews are often considered to be a good food source for sleep. Nuts contain melatonin (sleep hormone) as well as magnesium, vitamin B6, protein and zinc. Magnesium is helpful in promoting sleep because of its ability to reduce inflammation (body heat). It may help reduce level of stress hormone cortisol, which is known to interrupt sleep. (What nuts are easy protein sources?)

Coconut water: This might be surprising for you, but apart from iron, chloride, potassium, sodium, phosphorous and calcium, coconut water has ingredients that can help you sleep better, such as magnesium and potassium, which helps to relax muscles. This drink is also full of vitamin B, helping to reduce stress level, therefore results in sound sleep. A glass of coconut water as an evening beverage can help in quality sleep. (Recipe of a healthy coconut meal?)

Dates: Dates are a super food. They contain most of the vitamins and minerals. They are also high in fiber and antioxidants. (what are they?). Magnesium present in dates is a calming mineral and helps to improve stress, sleep, muscle soreness, pain and inflammation. Sweet craving of your child is best to be fulfilled by dates, as it also contains two key nutrients that play a role in sound sleep- vitaminB6 and potassium. (Recipe of chocolate using dates)

Pumpkin seeds: A study published in 2005 in Nutritional neuroscience suggested that consuming tryptophan alongside a carbohydrates source is one of the best way to treat sleep deprivation. Pumpkin seeds may be small but they are packed with valuable nutrients like healthy fats, magnesium, fiber, antioxidants and zinc. If your kid have trouble sleeping, having few pumpkin seeds before bed with small amount of carbohydrates such as a piece of fruit, may be beneficial in providing body with tryptophan needed for melatonin production, which can lead to better sleep. For younger kids, powdered pumpkin seeds can be an option.

Recipe for nuts, pumpkin seed, Dates sweets

  • ¾ cup water 
  • 6 dates or fig or mix
  • 2 tbsp jaggery (add more for sweetness)
  • 2 fresh cardamom powder 
  • 1 handful cashews
  • 1 handful almonds
  • 1 handful hazelnut
  • 1 handful walnuts
  • 1 handful sunflower seeds
  • 1 handful pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup Milk 
  • 2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter

Roast nuts and seeds slightly. Let them cool before making powder in grinder. Soak dates in hot water for 5 minutes and purée it.  Now cook dates puree and remaining water along with jaggery in NON STICK pan. Once the syrup becomes thick and starts becoming a darker colour (in 5-7 minutes), add the powder of all the nuts and seeds to the pan. Add milk. Add ghee. Now keep stirring till the mixture starts to come together and becomes like a dough (5-7 minutes). It will start coming off the edge of the pan and become like a big ball. Switch off gas. Add cardamom powder to the mixture and mix. 

You can add any nut or seed you like. Add more milk if required to cook the whole mixture. 

Take butter paper and apply some ghee to it and spread the mixture on it. Let it cool outside or refrigerate once sightly cool. Cut in any shape. Serve!

Sorry for the quick, partly eaten photo. My elder one couldn’t wait 🙂

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Importance of rest and sleep in young children

  • Sleep is the golden chain that ties your health and body together. Proper sleep is one of the most important factors in your kids overall development and an essential part of healthy lifestyle. A decent night sleep can make a positive impact on your child’s entire day. When your body does not have enough rest or sleep you may feel cranky and irritated but when it comes to kids, the effects of sleep deprivation (insufficient sleep) can leads to many developmental issues. Kids need to get enough sleep so they can play, learn and perform well. Not just for routine chores, but also for the brain to function at its best, it has to be rested. Study indicates that people who are exposed to sleep loss usually experience a decline in cognitive performance and changes in mood. If there has been continuous lack of sleep, the brain will function at significantly less power. 10 days of 6 hours sleep, leads to 400% dip in concentration. Most of the kids don’t get enough sleep as they are often busy with school, studies, sports and other activities. Not getting recommended amount of sleep can have unfavourable impact on your child’s behavior (mentally and emotionally). Recommended amount of sleep for any child is influence by their age. Children need relatively lesser sleep as they get older. Here is a general sleep guide:
Kids AgeKids Sleep (hours)
New born (0-3 months)14-17 hours
Infants (4-12 months)12-16 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years)11-14 hours
Preschool (3-5 years)10-13 hours
School aged (6-13 years)10-12 hours
Teens (13-18 years)8-10 hours
  • Uninterrupted and sound sleep helps a child to be physically relaxed and mentally alert at the same time. Apart from this there are more significant benefits attached to enough sleep.
  • Growth: Research has found that the growth hormones is secreted when your kid is sleeping, that’s why rest and sleep is vital for children’s growth. For the kids to grow they need energy. Maximum energy that kids take from milk and food should go into their growth. This is best used when kids are resting or asleep since all the energy is diverted towards growth.
  • Brain development: Sleep boosts brain development. According to a Canadian study (published in 2008 Sleep), children who get less than 10 hours of sleep in night before age 3 are more likely to develop language and reading problems. Kid’s brain stores what they have learned during the day, when they sleep.
  • Health: While sleeping, the brain releases infection fighting protein called cytokines. A good sleep during night also helps to boost your kid’s immune system and fight off invading bacterias or viruses.

Just as adequate sleep has its positive effects on kid’s health and brain development, sleep deprivation affects kids negatively. Some of the symptoms of lack of sleep are irritability, increased stressed, forgetfulness, difficulties with learning and memorising. All these can also result in low motivation over time.

Causes of Sleep Deprivation

  Emotional factors such as stress and mood disorders

  Health issues (like suffering from cold and cough)

  Day time naps which delay night sleep routine and REM sleep (important for brain functioning)

  Poor sleep hygiene e.g. nightmares or disturbed sleep

  Frequent awakening during night or talking during sleep

Sleep is not just about quantity but quality is important too. There are some tips which can help kids to get recommended and good quality sleep:

  • setting up a bed time routine (a regular bed time routine starting around the same time each night encourages good sleep),
  • limited screen time and avoiding mobile phones by kids at least an hour before bed time,
  • dark bedroom and not too distracting,
  • limited bright lights,
  • minimal sound,
  • no caffeine drinks (energy drinks and cola),
  • reading story books

Studies suggest that including below mentioned food can help kids sleep well. Sleep is attached to melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain at the onset of darkness, which initiate the sleep cycle. Since melatonin can be found in variety of foods, including them in your kid’s diet can help in sound sleep.

Foods for quality sleep:

  1. Pista: Most nuts have a good amount of melatonin. Pistachio is among the highest. Melatonin is a hormone that can help to sleep. Pistachio contains 660 ng of melatonin per gram, which makes it hit the sleep inducing jackpot. It is also packed in protein, vitamin B6 and magnesium, all of which contribute to better sleep.
  2. Banana: This beloved fruit is a perfect sleep aid. Banana is loaded with potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and carbs that can improve the quality of sleep. It reduces stress, alleviate muscles cramps and regulate sleep-wake cycle by producing happy hormone (serotonin) and sleep hormone (melatonin).
  3. Kiwi: The other great fruit for sleeping purposes is kiwi. Eating 1-2 medium sized kiwis before bedtime will help to sleep longer and peacefully.
  4. Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouse. High in fiber, they are also low in saturated fat and a good source of vitamin A, C and B6, as well as Potassium and magnesium. Vitamin B6 not only helps serotonin production (happiness hormone), but also stimulates the sleep inducing hormone melatonin. So, it’s not surprising they are perfect sleep aid.
  5. Milk: According to studies, the presence of serotonin (happiness hormone) in the brain can help to calm us down and initiate sleep. Healthy serotonin and melatonin levels in our central nervous system often depend on the presence of tryptophan (a protein found in food that helps with mood and sleep) which is naturally found in both cow’s milk and almond milk. Offering a luke warm glass of milk to your kids before bed time can help kids to fall asleep quickly.
  6. Chamomile flower (tea): Another drink thats good for kids is chamomile flower brewed in water. For centuries, it has been used for medicinal purposes to calm the mind and mildly induce sleep.
  7. Oats: Oats contain tryptophan too, which relaxes the body before falling asleep. It is important to get enough of it for good sleep. Oats are also rich in melatonin which makes it perfect sleep aid.

Banana Pista Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 ripe banana pieces (frozen for a few hours)
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ cup soft tofu or less than ½ cup nut milk (almond or coconut)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp roasted pistachio powder
  • Honey/ jaggery as per sweetness or other sweetener
  • vanilla essence (optional)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder

Mix all in a blender. Keep refrigerated in a bowl for some time. Serve.

My younger one LOVES this!

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Cold and Flu: Are you feeding your kids right?

With every changed season, the biggest concern among parents around the globe is to prevent their kids from cold and flu. Children start to get cold after about six months of age when the immunity they received from their mom fades and they have to build up their own immunity. Kids less than seven years of age have immature immune system which makes them, more susceptible to cold and flu viruses. Most of the kids have at least six to eight colds a year, which is likely to happen during fall and winter. Every time when kids get infected to specific cold virus, their immune system develops antibodies, which help them to fight against it next time. But there are lots of different cold viruses, so, it takes time to build effective immune system.

Children catch cold, when a virus came in contact with the lining of nose and throat. There are more than two hundred different viruses causing cold in children, but the Rhinovirus is the most common offender. The symptoms for cold includes stuffy or runny nose and sneezing. However, flu symptoms are more severe than cold and includes fever, headache, sore throat, congestion.

Ways to get infected by a cold and flu:

Direct contact: by getting in contact with a person infected by cold virus. As cold is contagious; they can pass on the virus. It’s usually spread when infected person has a cold blow or touches their nose and then touches someone or something else.

Indirect contact: by touching toys, doorknob, books and other items that has been touched by an infected person.

Through air: if infected person cough , sneeze, or talks , virus can spread through droplets in the air and may enter your body through nose, mouth , eyes.

Precautions are better than cure. Some foods can help tackle seasonal cold and flu in kids:

Turmeric: Due to its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties turmeric is known to treat viral infections such as cold and flu. By adding turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk can offer relief in aching throat and runny nose.

  • Honey: Honey contains antioxidants, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties which helps against common cold and flu. It has been used traditionally for thousand of years in different asian cultures to treat infections. (An easy honey recipe for kids)
  • Carrot: Beta- carotene in carrots converts into vitamin A which is key for keeping mucous membranes (inside nose and mouth) healthy. Vitamin A also benefits the immune system by preparing it to fight when a similar virus attacks next time. (How does Vitamin A help skin?)
  • Ginger: Ginger roots are used from centuries for health benefits in asian cultures. Research shows that ginger has medicinal properties, both anti-viral and anti-bacterial, that could help ease the symptoms of cold or sore throat. (What are other Ayurvedic herbs that are good for kids?)
  • Egg: Eggs are packed with immunity boosting nutrients, with high amount of vitamin D, which is vital in regulating and strengthening immunity. Vitamin D is present in every cell of the body, strengthening it and protecting it against viruses or bacterias attacking from the outside. A child who took a daily serving of vitamin D in winters were less likely to catch cold and flu as compared to those who did not.
  • Whole Grain: Whole grains are high prebiotic fibre which has anti-inflammatory properties and increases the production of healthy bacteria in the gut. It works as the food for the bacterias living in the gut and increasing them in quantity, ensuring healthy gut health. Simply put, with lack of fibre, bacterias living in the gut don’t survive as they don’t get their food. This causes lowered immunity. (How does this help with acne?)
  • Apple: This fruit contains phytochemical anti-oxidants which helps in boosting immunity. Apple are also full of calories which come from a good mix of carbs, vitamins and minerals which keeps your child energised to fight the infection without losing much of weight. One apple with skin has 5g of fibre which ensures healthy gut health also. (Should apple be given everyday?)
  • Spinach: Spinach is a super food that is great for your overall health not only it is packed with digestion regulating prebiotic fiber but it also contains vitamin C, a powerful nutrient that can help in preventing common cold and reduce symptoms of sickness. (An easy spinach recipe for kids)

Blueberries: Blueberries are filled with antioxidants that can help in treating and preventing cold and flu. It contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidants that can help reduce damage to cells and boost immunity system.

  • Apart from offering plenty of fluids to keep the child hydrated, foods which are rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C (what is the easiest source?), Vitamin E (what are some easy sources?) and zinc help to fight against cold and flu. Zinc forms a protective layer on the cells of the body and shields against invading bacterias and viruses. It is popularly found in diaper rash creams or sunscreens for the same reason. There are certain foods that you should avoid including in your kids diet if he/she has cold and flu such as sugary foods and oily foods which are refined and processed as they don’t contribute any nutrition to cure the infection. Rather they can work adversely (How?)

There are some ways that can be followed to avoid cold and flu too:

  • Hand wash – make your kids wash their hands on regular basis especially when they are in contact of someone infected or sanitize their hands.
  • Teach your kids to cover their nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoid sharing cups, utensils, toys and towels with others.

Recipe: Honey Turmeric immunity balls

  • Roast 1 tbsp turmeric, once the colour turns light brown and aromatic, take it off
  • Add 1 tsp honey
  • Add 1tsp or more jaggery powder
  • Add ½ tsp cinnamon powder (optional)
  • Add 1 tsp dry ginger powder (optional)
  • Add mashed dates (optional)

Check the consistency to make round tiny balls or tablet shapes or add more honey to keep it a syrup (as child likes)

Give kids 1-2 tablets or 1-2 tsp syrup in a day, preferably before bedtime and avoid any cold food or fruits just after giving these. Can also add this syrup or tablet to warm milk till and mix well.

This has been tried with kids and they always ask for more:)

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