Inside: Learn why immunity is important in growing kids? Find out how you can improve them naturally through six effective ways.
Health is wealth! One of the finest proverbs we remember, right? As a to-be mother, my only expectation was to give birth to a healthy baby. And that wish still continues and something that got added along the way is better immunity.
When their immunity is strong, they are less prone to get infections and allergies and even if they get, it will not last long.
As parents, we hold a crucial responsibility to get this right so that they can lead a healthy life ahead.
Naturally, some children are blessed with a good immune system. But some have to suffer a lot to get their health and immunity in a good trim.
This article is for children from both the categories. There are some organic ways in which you can boost their immune power and kick start a nourishing journey.
Why is immunity important for kids?
I didn’t give much thought to this up until recently when I had a quick conversation with my friend. Her daughter who is almost the same age as my son gets sick often and the trigger could be simply an untimely rain.
She was really worried about this and told how she turns all weak and fatigue while recovering out of it. Isn’t it a distressing thing to witness when a child is fighting an illness helplessly?
I promptly asked her to contact her pediatrician to get some consultation and not rely on home medicines every time.
But isn’t prevention better than cure?!
I did some research and found out best practices a mother can follow to boost immunity in their kids. If you are a new parent, good thing is you can apply some of these right from the earlier stage of your child.
Here are some strategies you can follow to set their immune system straight and boost its powers.
Related: Learn how you can induce healthy eating habits in kids here.
How can one leave this topic when we are discussing immunity? Breastfeeding has a fair share of immunity growth in young children while giving them a speedy recovery too.
It’s filled with essential vitamins and antibodies that enriches a child’s immune response at its younger age.
When a mother gets infection, her body starts producing antibodies to protect her from the illness.
These antibodies pass through the milk and get transferred to the baby too guarding them against that infection.
It’s okay if you are not able to breastfeed past an age or if they are grown up now.
But don’t hesitate to breastfeed your child as long as you want as it keeps strengthening them and improves immunity in their body.
We know this by default already. Yet, it’s not easy because kids tend to prefer sweet and tasty meal options than healthy ones.
So moms have to rack their brains hard to come up with meal plans that ticks both these boxes. I once tried to sneak spinach into my son’s muffins. He found it right away, picked them out and then ate the rest of it.
To improve immunity through food they consume, make sure you include a lot of fruits and colorful vegetables.
Some food items that are rich with immunity boosters. E.g. Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, berries, spinach, yogurt, spices like turmeric, ginger, oily fishes, chickpeas, brussels etc.
Foods rich in probiotics are also great to have a good gut health and thereby reduced health issues. E.g. banana, yogurt, pickles etc.
Saying ‘no’ to sugary foods
Cutting down sugar out of our family’s diet was the toughest job for me. Sugar is like a guilty pleasure that we consume even though we are aware of its harmful nature.
Also, instant and packed foods are a part of many families who are leading busy lives.
Intake of processed foods and beverages that are rich in sugar can reduce our body’s ability to fight with illness. This can be a factor why some children catch infections, fever and allergies quicker than others.
And sugars are extremely addictive which means they are not going to stop with that one piece of cake or chocolate.
Instead of this, feed them natural forms of sugars like fruits (I know, it’s difficult).
But there are certain fruits which they cannot say no to and are also rich with dense nutrients, like mango, pineapple, water melon, guava etc.
AAP recommends a solid 9 to 11 hours sleeping pattern for kids and 11-14 hours for toddlers and preschoolers. Make sure they get proper sleep every day and find out if there is a lapse.
Sleep is not just essential for improving immunity but the overall well-being.
Proper and regulated sleep gives their body enough rest and helps their immune system fight with infections and foreign bodies that affect your body.
Also, many important cells like t-cells that are related to immunity get synthesized when we sleep. Our body needs these when it is infected and need to get over that.
Create a sleep routine for them and put them to bed on time.
Children can easily adapt to routines and you will not face much trouble here. Create a perfect sleeping environment for them with the right amount of lighting, temperature, white noise or any noise cancellation.
Better hygiene practices
Poor hygiene contributes to a lot of infections and contamination in over 50% of the cases. As kids always do something and play and engage with other kids also, we must teach them good hygiene practices.
From washing their hands after loo or after getting back home to having neatly-cut nails to taking bath twice a day, we must help them to take care of their body.
This way we can prevent harmful germs from entering into their body.
We all have learned to wash our hands umpteen times after the advent of coronavirus. But we must keep that as a regular practice for our whole family even after the end of the pandemic.
Keeping them active
I remember having a very active childhood where I spent a majority of time outdoors. And this is the case with most of the people from our generation. But kids and children from the current generation are more fond of indoor games and gadgets.
Though this helps parents a lot, we have to also realize that their body needs an exposure to the outside environment too. Let them run, ride the bicycle, do exercises or yoga with you, play in a park for a definite amount of time every day.
In the long run, this helps them a lot to make their immune system function properly.
Once they grow up a little, you can also engage them in sports like soccer, basketball, badminton etc.
If they don’t like to do all these, play some songs and dance as a family. That’s a nice workout and is fun too!
And with this we have come to the end.
Remember, a child’s immune system even though fully developed is still getting better every day. Don’t worry or panic if they get sick. It’s a process that the body goes through to get rid of the carrier agent that has affected their body.
Take good care of them and help them recover by offering lots of fluids and healthy soups.
Along with your child, pay attention to your body as well to create a healthy system and surrounding for them to grow at.
I want to end this by adding my favorite quote.
“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit.” – B.K.S Iyengar
Note: If you feel that your kid has low immunity and gets unwell frequently or develops allergic symptoms, talk to your pediatrician first. In many cases, they prescribe Vitamin supplements which can improve their immunity.
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