IMMUNITY BOOSTING FOODS FOR KIDS

As if the flu season was not enough to worry about, this corona virus is threatening our heads. In present scenario it has become important to take care of our health, as well as health of our family members. We have to put extra efforts with children, as most of them are picky eaters and it also difficult for them to follow health advisory that have been issued. So, it has became necessary to take care of their health and to feed them a proper balanced diet which is required to make their immune system strong .

To keep kids healthy, powerful antioxidants like Vitamin A, C, E are needed. Having nuts and seeds daily, eating green leafy vegetable, staying hydrated are some of the preventive measures.

  • Vegetables: Colourful veggies like carrots, tomatoes, beetroot, broccoli, peas has to be introduced to brighten up your child’s meal. These veggies are great source of vitamin A, C, E, fibre and antioxidants (why are they important?) that helps your child fight infections.
  • Probiotics: They are live bacterias that help in digestion and build immunity. Also called good bacterias, they help to keep the gut of a child healthy. Healthy digestive system is vital for childhood immunity and eventually complete body development. Kefir is a healthy probiotic, similar to drinkable yogurt, that can boost the immune system of a child. Being rich in calcium is also improves bone health (what does sugar do to our bones?).
  • Root vegetables: Turnips, potatoes, carrots, beetroots and sweet potatoes are some of their examples. Root vegetables absorb lots of nutrients from the soil like phosphorous, sulfur, magnesium (how does this mineral help with stress?), calcium along with being rich in fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants that together protect against diseases and illness.
  • Honey: It has been used as a medicine for thousands for years. Some studies support this claim that Manuka honey has antibacterial potential.  It is further researched that the concentration of honey and the bacteria it possesses ultimately impacts the anti-bacterial claim it can make. Nevertheless, frequent runny nose, cold, cough and wheezing can compromise the growth and learning of a child. 2 teaspoon of honey, therefore, may safely relieve coughing and make the child sleep calmly (what else helps in sleep?). Honey is also a good replacement to refined sugars for dessert or drinks.
  • Legume: It is a type of dry fruit usually produced by plants. An important nutritional aspect of legume foods is that they are rich in protein, because plants are generally well nourished with nitrogen, which is essential for making protein in the body. Beans, peas and peanuts are legumes that we use commonly. Soybeans are exceptionally nutritious (like tofu, soy milk). Legumes contain antioxidants that help prevent damage of cells and fight illness. The fibre and other nutrients benefit the digestive system by supporting a stronger gut (what else helps in digestion?).
  • Fats: They not only supply energy to kids, but also help other fat soluble nutrients like Vitamin A, D, E to do their job properly. They have antioxidant properties which help to fight infections and keep immunity high. For toddlers and young children, giving nut butter is also a source of good fats (Recipe: easy peanut butter balls)
  • Sprouts: Some research indicates that sprouting increases the level of antioxidants and vitamin C in the legume. Consuming this boosts the immune system of the child. Once soaked, a seed gears up all the necessary superpowers (nutrients) to germinate and grow into a plant. Some studies suggest that sprouting also helps increase protein content of seeds which is also easily digestible. The nutrition in sprouts is also 30 times higher than the cooked food, which makes it an essential food for kids. (How does soaking food help?)
  • Turmeric: There is a enough scientific evidence that curcumin compound of turmeric aids in boosting immunity. They also prevents body from any pain, swelling, fever due to its anti-inflammatory property. Medicines derived from this plant have played an important role over years and the plant has been traditionally used for medical purposes over the last 4000 years for both preventing and healing purposes. As temperature changes from cold to warm, intake of turmeric can help keep the kids safe from common cold or flu. Mixing roasted powder with milk or honey to make a syrup can do the trick.
  • Vitamin D: Every single cell in the body requires this Vitamin. There are tonnes of scientific research backing up that a deficiency in vitamin D increases chances of infections. Our body can also produce this vitamin through exposure to sunlight (cholesterol produces vitamin D). However, deficiency of Vitamin D is extremely common in kids and results in weaker body, including reduced immunity. Food products including ghee, cheese, milk and yogurt are considered to be the most important sources for vegetarians. If the child is allergic to these, then food fortified with vitamin D e.g. cereals, milk etc should be preferred (Do healthy kids need supplements?)

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