Building a healthy eating habit and to protect your child from falling sick is one of the top priorities for a parent. Maximum physical development happens till the child turns five, and hence it is very important to include all relevant minerals and essential nutrients to protect your child from falling sick. We don’t want to miss out on a child’s formative years! Do we?
Since children, do not take each food with the same enthusiasm, it becomes important to find alternatives in order to compensate for the missing nutrients. No wonder parents spend half of their days’ efforts in preparing energy-driven healthy foods for their little ones!
How to prevent our kids from falling sick?
Coping with a sick child becomes very difficult for the entire house! There are a lot of reasons for that. A child who is not feeling well, most of the time fails to understand how and what to explain to parents as far as the current state of mind is concerned. A very good example is this – An adult still knows that they can breathe in through their mouth in case of a blocked nose but imagine a toddler- they simply aren’t aware!
Falling sick is very common as the child’s immune system is still developing. In fact, doctors and pediatricians say that six to eight bouts of cold are quite normal annually!
If one had to explain logically, falling sick is directly proportional to the body’s immunity. If the immunity is well-developed, lower are the chances of getting ill and vice versa.
However, there are still a lot of things that can be done to keep that nasty cold, ear infections, and flu at bay. While there are varied opinions on how each one of us has a different immunity, yet by including these simple nutrients in your child’s diet, it will go a long way in setting a base for a strong immune system. Falling sick is very common as the child’s immune system is still developing.
List of 5 nutrients to protect your child from falling sick:
Iron is an important nutrient, which helps in building immunity and helps in the prevention of diseases and ailments. Put it simply, iron is the foundation of blood cells. White blood cells help the body in fighting infection and other diseases. Thus, the deficiency of iron might lead to a weakened immune system which in turn can convert the body a perfect host for ailments.
Beans and lentils are an excellent source of iron. Lentils are a daily staple in almost every Indian household. In fact, it is one of the first foods which is given in the form of soup after six months of exclusive breastfeeding. Daal ka paani is a hit in an Indian household! We all would agree- right?
Other sources of iron are potato, spinach, broccoli, and red meat.
Zinc is an essential part of the immune system and helps in wading out deadly and harmful infections. It keeps the immune system strong and also helps in faster healing of wounds.
Seeds such as pumpkin, sesame are excellent sources of zinc. For children, a simple seed and nut mix can be prepared easily, whereas for adults it can be eaten in there as forms only.
Apart from seeds, certain meats and veggies also contain ample quantities of zinc.
3. Vitamin A
Vitamins are micronutrients that are essential for healthy and balanced growth. Hence, they are an important part of any child’s growing years.
A deficiency of Vitamin A can lead to poor response to vaccines, gastrointestinal and lung infections. Some of the most popular sources of Vitamin A are spinach, carrots, peaches, and broccoli.
4. Folate or Folic Acid
Folic acid or folate as its most commonly known as a water-soluble vitamin. It is essential for the human body as it aids in producing new cells. It also helps in the creation and repair of DNA. A healthy immune system is necessary to detect any broken DNA so that the repair can be carried on from there. Thus, folic acid forms a very important part of a growing child, pregnant woman or an adolescent’s’ diet!
Bananas, avocados, and legumes are an abundance of folic acid and can easily be included in a child’s diet without any hassle.
5. Vitamin D
All of us know how Vitamin D, helps in calcium absorption which in turn is essential for healthy bone and teeth development. But a little-known fact is that Vitamin D is also related to the immune system. It is responsible for triggering peptides in our bodies. These peptides are responsible for generating a response to invaders before they eventually turn into a full-blown illness.
Another very important fact is the correlation between Vitamin D with autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease is one in which the immune systems gets confused and starts attacking the cells in your own body. Vitamin D helps in the regulation of T cells, which help in distinguishing between invader cells and self-cells.
Cod liver oil, eggs, mushrooms, cereal, and oatmeal are some of the easily available sources of Vitamin D.
Do you agree with our list of 5 for under 5? Write to us in comments if you know of any additional nutrients to give to your growing child.
by Udita Saklani