Cold winter months can come with their own infections and the young ones need to be protected from chances of getting sick. Choose what has the best impact on their immune system. It is winter and the fight now is mostly for colds and flu but the following list should be a continuous lifestyle routine to boost their delicate immune system.
It all starts in the morning and what better way to start than with a warm bowl of fiber for breakfast. Oats don’t have to be dull & boring, you can add toppings like fruits dried or fresh, nuts, some honey or peanut butter for that peanut butter little fan. A study has found that the fiber in oats may improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. Besides the great beta-glucan fiber component found in oats it is also high in antioxidants, minerals, proteins, vitamins, zinc and carbohydrates. A great way to start a day with all these nutrients.
Yoghurt is filled with friendly bacteria (gems) called the probiotics. It helps to fight infections that are caused by harmful bacteria. The question is what kind of yoghurt? If It has separated with some liquid on top then that’s a good one or simply go for greek yoghurt. A study has found that there is a 19% lower risk of strep throats, colds and ear infections on kids who had yoghurt drink. Yoghurt is most kid’s favorite snack and can be easy to feed.
Citrus fruits for obvious reasons and as adults, we also run for the immune-boosting vitamin C during winter months. Packed with Vitamin C, fiber & minerals, strawberries, naartjies and oranges are some of the best citrus fruits to go for. As odd as it may sound some kids don’t like fruits but you can make some yummy treats that may be fun for them to eat. Please note that citrus fruits are very acidic and they ideally have to be introduced to kids over the age of 1 year. They might cause mouth & nappy rashes.
Berries are full of antioxidants that help the body to fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Make desserts or sweet snacks with goji berries, blackberries, cranberries, blueberries or raspberries. You can go for frozen berries or mix fresh ones with yoghurt and freeze, whichever works for your little one.
Ever read about fruits without a mention of veggies? Never, the two are like inseparable life partners. Though veggies can be a serious challenge with the majority of kids, let’s look into a few numbers of vegetables;
Tomatoes– the antioxidant in tomato can counteract the free radicals that damage the body cells. It is rich in vitamin C to fight the winter days colds and flu and to further strengthen the immune system it provides potassium, fiber, vitamin A, K and E. Try the traditional cheese and tomato sandwich or add into your pasta sauces because kids seem to be fascinated by kinds of pasta.
Sweet potatoes – high in beta-carotene and study has shown that beta-carotene increases the killer cell activity to fight the infections. It can be converted into vitamin A in your body and vitamin A helps with the production of connective tissues of the skin, that’s what we call killing two birds with one stone. Also, a source of vitamin C to enhance the immune system. Try some sweet potato fries, yep very tasty or add them into your homemade pies or pizzas.
Spinach– contains a number of minerals being manganese, zinc, selenium, iron, folate, and vitamins A, C, E and K which will help in their immune system.
Broccoli– like sweet potatoes it is also rich in beta-carotene that helps the body to fight against diseases and very rich in vitamin C, the famous immune booster. Most love it with cheese sauce and the great combo can also be added to pasta/noodle dishes or pizza.
Garlic– what would life be without the loved crushed garlic especially during flu season. Powerful in every way possible and fight the winter months’ illnesses. It has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Bell peppers– especially the red peppers, apparently they contain 3 times more vitamin C than most citrus fruits. They are also a rich source of beta-carotene. Remember how beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A for healthy skin. They will grow up with a stronger immune system and healthier skin the largest organ in our body.
They promote the functioning of the immune system by increasing the production of antiviral proteins released by cells. The antiviral proteins in cells will interfere with the replication of the virus and stop the spread of the virus to other cells. Ooh yes pizza again, mushrooms can be a pizza’s best friend or add them to soups. Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.
A variety of seeds like almonds are strong immune boosters packed with manganese and vitamin E and the two enhance the activity of killer cells. Other variety of seeds such as flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds will provide zinc, vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids.
Salmon, Tuna & sardines– Rich in omega 3 fats and these fatty acids may enhance the functioning of immune cells according to research. They particularly increase the activity of white blood cells which fight bacteria. These fats will protect the lungs from colds and respiratory infections, reduce inflammation and help with brain development. Rich in B vitamins as well and please ensure that the fish is completely bone free.
Lean meats have proteins and contain zinc that may help the white blood cells fight off infections.
N.BYou can serve them all the nutrients in the world but if you don’t push for hygiene your efforts might be in vain. Teach them to wash their hands with soap & water before & after meals and after playing outside, every time they come back home from daycare, after blowing their nose or after a bathroom visit.
**KIDS ARE THE FUTURE, SO LET’S KEEP THE FUTURE BRIGHT WITH HEALTHY HABITS**