7 Food Items That Can Boost Your Kid’s Immune System

Only a parent can feel the pain of a sudden change in the climate. Not just that, when the summer or winter season has still not set in despite the warm or cold weather, a parent is extremely helpless. Why may you ask? Well, it is because the immune system goes for a toss. The symptoms in children, right from constant coughing to sneezing are most evident signs of low immunity. Not just that, when your child is new to his play-school, even then the life of a parent is a bit of a mess. Why? Your kid gets exposed to germs, infections and suffers from constant attacks of the sniffles. If it is too constant, then you might want to introduce certain immunity-boosting food items in his regular diet. Food is known to affect the immune system to a very large extent.

What has Immune System Got to Do With It?

The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism to fight against bad bacteria, fungal and other organism-caused infections. Kids have a delicate immune system as compared to adults. In the case of an adult, the immune system typically fights well against foreign invaders. However, in the case of little ones, it might not be as strong or effective, which may lead body to easily catch infections and illnesses.

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If your child has been constantly showing signs of a weak immune system (read- a runny nose, bouts of a cough, and repetitive gastro intestinal infections), this indicates that as a parent we need to take extra care of our child’s health and give a boost to their immune system. Other than consulting the pediatrician, you must also try to empower yourself with the right tools to boost your child’s immune system. Most important being- including healthy food items in your child’s meals.

7 Food Items to Boost Your Kid’s Immune System:

1. Garlic

Garlic is a magical kitchen ingredient which can not only cure a newborn’s cold when worn in the form of a garland, but it is also capable of boosting and strengthening your child’s immune system. Garlic contains anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, which stimulates the immune cells and increases antibody production. It also has antioxidant properties. Most Indian food items are made using gracious amount of garlic. Be it pulses, gravies, breads and even sauces. You can also add garlic to your child’s favorite dishes such as red pasta sauce, tomato soup, cutlets, etc.

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2. Berries

The best source of antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients, colorful berries contain vitamin A, as well as vitamin C, both of which strengthen your child’s immune system. Add a handful of mixed berries to your child’s morning cereal or midday ice-cream scoop. You can also add them on top of a pancake served with honey/ maple syrup or plain yoghurt. Click on Neha Lakhani’s recipe using berries that you can easily make at home.

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3. Green Leafy Vegetables

Our Indian diet is packed with green leafy vegetables, especially during winter months! Fenugreek and spinach are a must in our winter menus. These veggies are exceptionally rich in immune boosting nutrients. One of these is iron which is important for the production of white blood cells and antibodies. Kids might behave like fussy eaters when it comes to serving green leafy vegetables to them, so you will have to creatively include them in their diet. For instance, blend spinach well and make a creamy gravy which can be served with pasta, toss in some potato wedges with cooked fenugreek and spread it on bread as an ideal evening snack

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4. Nuts – Best Food to Boost Immune System of Kids and Adults

Nuts are a rich source of zinc, iron, and the vitamin B, as well as minerals which support the immune system. All nuts are good and they have different benefits: Brazil nuts are rich in selenium; almond and peanuts are good sources of vitamin E. The ideal way of introducing them into your kid’s diet is by making a daily pouch of mixed nuts and giving it with a glass full of milk. The nutritional goodness in nuts helps support the immune system as a whole. In fact, you can introduce nuts (almonds in particular) at an early age. Crush the soaked almond in your baby’s semi-solids, such as mashed banana or porridge. You can also sprinkle chopped unsalted nuts on your child’s salads, stir-fries or curries. Do check with the pediatrician before introducing nuts (especially raisins and peanuts to your infant. Some kids are allergic to nuts). Click here and here to learn how to make yummy recipes using nuts.

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5. Yogurt

Most kids love yoghurt. The probiotic, or the “live active cultures” found in yogurt, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs. A morning dose of yogurt can help keep your child’s immune system smooth and strong. The best kid’s dessert in the world is a smoothie and you can easily make it using yogurt! You ca also serve it as a side dish with khichdi (learn how to make cracked wheat khichdi).

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6. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruit – including lemons, limes, gooseberries and oranges are a rich source of vitamin C which can boost your child’s immune system in a great way. Vitamin C helps the body to produce white blood cells as well as antibodies – both keep the immune system fighting invading viruses. Daily one or 2 drops of lemon juice given through salads or added to bread-spreads, chickpeas, sandwich fillers etc. is a great way of introducing citrus food to your child’s diet. Here are some great salad recipes for your little one!

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7. Oats and Other Whole Grains

Our Indian diet makes gracious use of oats and other whole grain cereals like wheat (in the form of chapatti and other breads), rye, barley and brown rice which is eaten at least twice a day. Whole grains provide important vitamins such as vitamin B6, Pantothenoic acid, and folic acid which support the immune system. Including whole grains every day can help supply the body with a valuable source of fibre and other nutrients needed for good health of a growing child.

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The Champa Tree

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