Do you want to know the best immunity boosting foods for your child? Do you find your little one falls ill very frequently? Are you worried that he is too susceptible to infections?
Parenting and child nutrition go hand in hand and the first four years of parenting are no exception. The nutritional intake of a child is a common concern for all parents. Despite taking care, children fall sick and sometimes the reason is their low immunity. The reason behind this is that the food they eat lacks some important nutrients. Understanding the immunity and the knowledge of immunity boosting foods helps in taking care of the nutritional requirements of a child.
What is Immunity?
Immunity is the state of resistance towards diseases. This happens with the development of certain pathogenic microbes or by counteracting the effects of the products produced by microorganisms that invade our bodies. This state of resistance for diseases in our body is created by the immune system. The immune system can be said as the body’s defense system against various diseases. To create resistance in your kid’s body it is important to strengthen his immune system.
To increase immunity, many parents look for artificial supplements. However, there are natural sources that would help in making the immune system of your kid quite strong. These are the power foods and are known as immunity boosting foods.
Immunity Boosting Foods for Kids
Every parent would make an effort to build up the immune system of their child by providing him with foods that are rich in nutrients i.e. immunity boosting foods. However, immunity boosting foods for kids can be sometimes different based on their stages.
For an infant, the mother’s milk is the best immunity boosting food which helps in supporting the development of the baby’s immune system. Likewise, immunity boosting foods for preschoolers can be different and include some additional food items as compared to that of the immunity boosting foods for toddlers.
Here we will discuss 10 best immunity boosting foods that are easily available in the kitchen and can be used without much work.
Turmeric consists of curcumin which provides it with the antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in building resistance in your child’s body against infections, common colds, and flu. It is quite simple to use turmeric as a pinch can be added to food items while cooking especially the lentils. You can also add a pinch of turmeric to milk and make your kid drink it to avoid catching a cold.
Curd/Yogurt is said to have immune-stimulatory effects which can help enhance the immune system of your child. It contains a large number of healthy bacteria and probiotics which lead to the maintenance of a healthy gut. These probiotics can also reduce the possibilities of diarrhea, common cold and ear infection in your kid. You can start feeding yogurt to your child when he is a toddler.
Gradually, he would develop a taste for it. Yogurt/Curd can be served along with the normal food of your kid or you can whip it to form other recipes like smoothies, salads, etc. Many parents wonder when is the right time to start dairy products with babies. The post, Introducing Dairy Products to Babies could be helpful.
Honey has huge antibacterial properties and is an effective solution for many health issues. It helps improve the gut health of your child. Also, the antioxidants which are present in honey help remove the free radicals from your kid’s body which can cause numerous illnesses. It is one of the best immunity boosting foods for kids. Honey should not be given until the baby is one year, so care must be taken.
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, guavas, etc. are rich sources of Vitamin C and antioxidants. They help in enhancing the immunity of your little one. Moreover, citrus fruits help the body in absorbing iron and will also support the immune system to grow strong. You can start feeding the juice of these citrus fruits in small quantities to your toddler when they start solids and later on start with raw fruits.
Lentils are rich in iron and proteins which help in boosting the immunity of your kid. In addition to being an effective immunity boosting foods in kids, lentils are also soothing food items when your kid is suffering from cold or flu. Lentil water is one of the first food the child has and later on progresses to eating regular preparations. You can even prepare lentil soup by adding some vegetables like carrots, tomatoes and feed it to your little one.
Nuts are the best immunity boosting foods for kids as they are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibers, and omega fatty acids. Some of the commonly available nuts are pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, almonds, peanuts, etc. You can start giving nuts to your kid in the form of powder when he is an infant or a toddler. As the child grows, they start having them whole. Kids should always have nuts like peanuts with an adult as there can be a choking hazard.
Eggs contain Vitamin D naturally and are a great immunity boosting food for kids. However, some children tend to exhibit symptoms of being allergic to eggs. So, it is advisable to try feeding eggs to your kid only after he is 1 year old. Eggs can be hard-boiled, mashed, chopped or even mixed with the regular food of your kid.
Fish and meat
Fish and meat are rich sources of proteins that help in building and repairing the tissues of our body. They help in the growth of white blood cells that help in fighting infections. Meat contains zinc, iron, and fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which enhances the immune system. Fish and meat are one of the best options for immunity boosting foods for preschoolers as toddlers might not consume them significantly.
Green leafy vegetables like parsley, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, etc. are rich in antioxidants which help in building a strong immune system. These vegetables are a rich source of calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins, etc. which would help your kid’s body in fighting against infections. These are good for the brain too. Read Brain Boosting Food for Children to know more about the other foods you can incorporate in their diet.
Ginger is one of the best immunity boosting foods for toddlers. It will help in preventing your little one from getting affected by the common cold. You can add small quantities of ginger in everyday food items like lentils, soups, curries. This enhances the flavors of the food item and would boost immunity as well.
In the process of building a strong immune system of your child, along with a nutritious diet, there are some other important aspects that you must consider. Your kid should be getting an adequate amount of sleep, should not be having a high amount of sugar intake and should live in a stress-free environment to have a good immune system. However, even if after having a proper diet and good sleep your kid is sick very frequently you must visit a pediatrician for some artificial supplements that would boost his immunity.
(You should read our post, 8 Habits That Can Weaken A Child’s Immunity)