How to Boost your Child’s Immune System Through Nutrition

Dr Zeinab Tahesh: General Pediatrician (Children & Adolescent Doctor)


It all starts with food! In order to maintain a healthy and strong immune system, fresh, nutritious and real food is the key. A healthy immune system is the best weapon to fight common seasonal colds, flu and against foreign bodies. A common question is how can we boost a child’s immune system? It is all done through food and nutrient (2)

First source to include in the diet is the food high in beta-carotene. Beta- carotene is an antioxidant that converts into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A boost the immune system and protects against infections by keeping skin and tissues healthy in the mouth, stomach, intestine and respiratory system. Sources of Vitamin A include plant foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs or food labeled “vitamin A fortifies” such as milk or cereal.

Second source include Vitamin C sources. Vitamin C is known to protect from infections by boosting the formation of antibodies, which protect the body from foreign bacteria and viruses. Sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, tangerine, bell peppers, melon, papaya, berries, tomatoes, broccoli or fortified cereals.

Third source include food rich in Zinc. Zinc is one of the key nutrients that boosts the immune system and works on promoting the process of wound healing. Zinc is better absorbed from the animal sources such as milk, seafood, poultry and lean meats in addition it is present in whole grain products such as wheat germs, beans, tofu, seeds and nuts.

Fourth source includes food rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E is one of the most powerful antioxidants because it neutralizes the free radicals and thus improves the immune system functions. Sources of Vitamin E include sunflower seeds, avocado, almonds, vegetable oils, hazelnut, peanut butter and fortified cereal.

Fifth source and one of the ultimate components to boost the immunity system is prebiotics. Prebiotics are the food of the bacteria called probiotics and help in the development of a better gut health and promotes a barrier against “bad” bacteria. Sources of prebiotics include high fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables. In addition, probiotics, which are known as the “good” bacteria, do promote good gut health and are found in fermented products such as yogurt and kimchi.

Finally, protein is a main booster for immunity knowing that it plays a role in healing and recovery. Including sources of protein help in a faster recovery. Sources can be animal or plant based such as milk, yogurt eggs, meat, poultry, fish, seafood, nuts, beans and lentils.

In conclusion, several food groups can boost a child’s immunity hence decrease the rate of diseases. One should include a variety of these ingredients in the child’s meal plan. Nutrition is always the solution, especially in stressful times because stress can weaken our immune system. Every person has an inborn ability to withstand a reasonable amount of stress, however committing to better food choices have profound impacts on health.

Aptamil is not the author of this article, as it has been written by Dr. Zeinab Tahesh who is the owner of the content

References:

1- Griffen M, immunity boosting snacks for kids https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/immune-system#1
2- Perez L, 27 march 2020, How to boost your immune system with nutrition https://www.nicklauschildrens.org/patient-and-family-resources/parents-connect-blog/2020-blog-posts/how-to-boost-your-immune-system-with-nutrition

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