Our body’s immune system is the first line of defence against infections caused by microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, parasites, and viruses. This system is made up of different cells, proteins, tissues, and organs. It produces antibodies to kill invading pathogens and keep our body healthy. That’s why doctors and experts have always emphasized maintaining a healthy immune system.
However, the concern regarding immunity has become more important and relevant after the Coronavirus pandemic or COVID-19 hit the world. This outbreak has taught us that people with a strong and healthy immune system are better equipped to handle the attack of Coronavirus.
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Here are the four main functions of the immune system:
- To fight disease-causing microorganisms.
- To identify and neutralise dangerous environmental toxins such as dust, mites, germs etc.
- To fight and protect against harmful cells, such as cancer cells.
- To keep track of germs and defend our body the next time it tries to enter.
The current Coronavirus pandemic opened our eyes towards how important it is to maintain a healthy immune system, especially on why we must start early to build immunity. There are multiple immunisations that we give our kids from time to time to make them immune to diseases.
However, we cannot protect their body from all kinds of diseases. Additionally, kids get exposed to various types of germs, bugs and infections that can make them sick if their immune system is not robust. So, building immunity is not only about fighting Coronavirus, but is also required to fight against other illnesses.
Though modern medicine has come a long way, there are still have no clue about diseases. The only sane step we can take to protect ourselves is to boost our immune system as much as possible. If you are looking to build immunity in your kid, try and add these immunity booster foods in your kid’s diet.
8 Best Immunity Boosting Foods For Kids
If you are looking to give your child a better immune system, fruits help. Get them to eat those fruits whole and know that you are doing the right thing whilst giving them a great palate and health for the future. Many will suggest that packed juices will help but do not fall for that. The strength is in the fiber-rich pulp. Fruits are rich in antioxidants that help in boosting immunity include:
- Citrus Fruits: Grapefruits, oranges, clementines, tangerines, limes, and lemons are all rich in vitamin C and are great for the body to fight back infection.
- Blueberry: Blueberries contain anthocyanin. This is an antioxidant that helps boost a person’s immune system. What’s greater is that it is low in calories and is a guilt-free fruit.
- Apple: A great source of natural sugar. It brings fibre to the body, remember to add the apple skin to your diet. It has quercetin that works towards maintaining immunity.
- Pears: Pears have anti-inflammatory properties along with fibre, potassium, and vitamin C. They are a great source for boosting your kid’s immunity.
There is no substitute for vegetables. Albeit your kid is a meat-eater, a vegetarian, or a vegan, there is always something great about eating vegetables. These are some of the important vegetables to include in your regular diet for your kids.
- Moringa Leaves: Ensure your diet includes moringa leaves from time to time. It has a host of things that can help your body, including amino acids, calcium, iron, antioxidants, and more.
- Broccoli: A vegetable that contains antioxidants, it also has a rich stack of vitamins including vitamin C. Broccoli is one of the best immunity booster foods for kids, so make sure you add it in your kid’s in the form of salad, soup and stir-fried.
- Ginger: If you have a sore throat or suffer from a cough, a warm drink with ginger can be the best remedy. It has properties that help as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant.
- Green Leafy Vegetables: You must love the greens and teach your kids to love it too. It is loaded with all kinds of goodness, including vitamin B, potassium, iron, fibre, and more. It makes your child’s body stronger.
There is no denying that probiotics are great for our body. They support our digestive system, increase good bacteria, and promote overall health. It is important to add yogurt in your kid’s diet because it is a source of vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and other nutrients that helps in improving the immune system in children naturally.
#4 Nuts and Dry Fruits
Dry fruits, in general, are great for kids and adults alike. However, a special shout out has to be made for dry fruits such as walnuts and almonds.
#5 Herbs and Spices
People often underestimate the benefits of spices and think it is just used to add flavour to the food. However, it is far from being true. Some Indian herbs and spices can boost immunity and prepare the body to fight infections.
- Turmeric: It contains curcumin, which is a potent antiviral for our body. One teaspoon of turmeric mixed with warm milk twice a day can build immunity to fight against viral infections.
- Basil: Basil has been used for ages to relieve the symptoms of cold, flu, and sore throat. It is known to increase the “T” cells in our body that naturally helps to fight diseases and illnesses.
- Cinnamon: Studies have shown cinnamon to have therapeutic effects on our body. This includes antimicrobial, antifungal, and immunomodulatory effects. A small amount of cinnamon in a kid’s diet can do wonders in the long run.
If you are looking for the much-needed probiotics apart from yogurt, then certainly you need to give your kids Kefir and have them drink it. Studies suggest kefir improves the body’s immune system, helps to digest food, fight cancer-causing cells, and sustain bone health. Additionally, it makes for a great drink even to carry to school and have during lunchtime.
#7 Soy Milk
If you are raising a vegan kid, there is no better source for boosting immunity than soy milk. Get your kid into drinking soy milk every day, and soon he/she will feel less run down and ragged. Also, the calcium in soy milk will make your kid’s bones strong and keep their weight in check.
#8 Lean Meat
Poultry and lean meats are high in protein. These are loaded with zinc and help ward off infections. If you are non-vegetarian, do consider trying lean meats and make them interesting to eat for your children. While considering immunity boosting foods for kids, lean meat helps a great deal.
Again, one of the best ways to build immunity in kids should start at the beginning of their life. Breastfeeding your babies develops a strong immune system. Breastfeeding helps antibodies to fight against infection. Further, imbibing habits such as staying active, playing outdoors, keeping good hygiene, and avoiding unnecessary antibiotics is also essential for a healthier lifestyle.
These are unprecedented times. So, until a vaccine arrives for COVID-19, it is the immune system’s responsibility to keep us protected against this pandemic. So, take extra care to enhance immunity, wash hands regularly, wear a mask, and stay safe!
Frequently Asked Questions
A. Immunity is a defence mechanism wherein our body is protected from infectious disease. It functions through the immune system, which fights infection and kills harmful organisms in our body.
A. To boost immunity naturally, you must take plenty of fluids, workout regularly, take a balanced diet, and sleep well. Also, cutting down on stress, alcohol, and smoking can have a big impact on the immune system.
A. Start with breastfeeding for infants. Slowly when toddlers grow, parents can include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products in their diet. Playing outdoors, sleeping well, practicing good hygiene, and staying active can also help.
A. Some of the powerful immunity booster foods include citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, turmeric, garlic, ginger, leafy vegetables, yogurt, almonds, walnuts, green tea, kiwi, lean meat, and soy milk.
A. Here are some things you can do to fight Coronavirus or COVID-19:
– Maintain physical distancing.
– Clean your hands often and for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
– Wear a mask when you go out.
– Do not touch your face.
– Limit meetings, and meet outdoors if you have to.
– Avoid people if you or the person you are going to meet is having symptoms.
– Carry a hand sanitiser to clean your hands when water and soap are not available.
More importantly, try and improve your immunity.
A. Low protein diets can cause low immunity in children. Unhealthy food like junk food in your child’s diet can cause low immunity. Not enough balance of exercise, sleep, and good food may lead to low immunity. Certain forms of medication can also lead to low immunity in children.