One of the best ways to help kids bounce back from cold and flu is to help boost their immunity. We can do this by making sure that the foods they eat are healthy and that they get enough exercise. Some specific immune boosting nutrients and foods to consider adding to your child's diet include:
Vitamin C for immune support
When you are recovering from illness, you often lack energy. Sometimes we feel important for the balance of good bacteria in the digestive system the need to remedy this with a quick sugar hit, and kids are no different. Encourage them to substitute refined sugar snacks for fresh fruit. This will provide the quick energy they require with the added benefit of vitamin C. Vitamin C supports the immune function. It helps to stimulate the production and function of our immune fighting white blood cells.1 The specific job of these white blood cells is to protect the body from bugs, and vitamin C helps them to do this.
Fruits that are naturally high in vitamin C include: oranges and other citrus fruits, kiwi fruits, guavas, blackcurrants, mangoes.2
Zinc for a healthy immune system
Another nutrient that aids kids’ immunity is zinc. Zinc helps to maintain a healthy immune system in children. Making sure kids are getting enough zinc in their diet may help reduce the frequency of minor respiratory infections in children.3 Animal foods like red meat, fish, poultry, and dairy contain good levels of zinc but it is also available in grains and legumes.4
Yoghurt’s role in immune system function
Some yoghurt’s contain lactobacillus and other beneficial bacteria, which are important for the balance of good bacteria in the digestive system and play a role in the immune system function. Consider yoghurt or yoghurt drinks (probiotic milk) as healthy snacks for your kids.
Vitamin D supports immunity
Vitamin D supports the proper functioning of the immune system. Vitamin D is made when our skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This is why sensible sun exposure and time outdoors is so important for our kids. Optimal levels of vitamin D is needed to maintain immune health, so encourage time away from the television and computer and more playtime outside. Regular exercise also assists with the production of vitamin D,5 yet another reason to get outside and be active.