As a caring parent, you may be hoping to learn how to improve immunity in your kids, and whether the process is any different than boosting immunity in adults. But by the first time you took your toddler to the park, you probably realized that keeping your child away from germs is impossible. Children have little regard for who touched the monkey bars before them and who on the playground has a cough or runny nose.
Thankfully, kids can have a sturdy little immune system that’s fully developed by the time they’re 7 or 8 years old. But how they live and the lifestyle you set up for them can either weaken or strengthen this growing immune system. As a caring parent, you may be hoping to learn how to improve immunity in your kids, and whether the process is any different than boosting immunity in adults.
So, what can you do to improve your kid’s immunity and help reduce their chances of getting sick? A healthy lifestyle that includes getting enough rest, avoiding stress, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise, helps to strengthen the immune system of your little ones. Today, we’ll dive into the details and help you understand the most important factors that can fortify your child’s natural defences.
Immune Boosting Foods To Consider
What we eat has a direct impact on our immune system, regardless of our age. If your kids are constantly suffering from bouts of the sniffles, consult your doctor to rule out any underlying condition and have a look at the foods they’re eating and how they affect their immune system.
Eating enough nutrients as part of a varied diet is required for the health and function of all cells, including immune cells. Processed, packaged, and sugary foods, when eaten regularly, can negatively affect a healthy immune system.
On the other hand, a healthy diet of nutrient-packed whole foods can help boost your child’s defences. Let’s look at some of the top players that should hold a place on your kid’s dinner plate.
Fruits & Vegetables
Studies have shown that fruits and veggies supply our bodies with important nutrients—like vitamin A, vitamin C, and Iron—that can help to boost immune function. Because many vegetables and fruits are also rich in antioxidants, they help reduce oxidative stress that can impair our immune systems.
Berries, bell peppers and broccoli will supply kids with powerful antioxidants. Green leafy vegetables are full of iron and will support the normal function of the immune system. Oranges and citrus fruit high in vitamin C help to boost immunity and increases iron absorption.
When packing your kids’ lunches, help them eat the rainbow by providing them with fruits and veggies of all colours. This powerful produce is some of the best immune system boosters for kids.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of vital omega fatty acids as well as being a good source of zinc & selenium, two of the most important minerals that can help support a kid’s immune system. The fat in nuts and seeds will also allow your kids’ bodies to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K.
So, see where you can squeeze some of the best mineral and omega-three sources—like walnuts, chia seeds, and hemp seeds—into your child’s daily diet. Bake a healthy walnut granola. Blend some hemp seeds into a strawberry smoothie. Or see how they like chia pudding as a sweet snack.
Using Supplements To Improve Immunity In Kids
Each stage of your child’s immune response relies on many macro and micronutrients. Some of the most critical for the growth and function of your child’s immune cells and system include vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium and iron.
While filling your child’s plate with nutrient-packed foods is a great goal, busy school days, sleepovers, and family holidays make it hard to keep their diets constantly healthy and fresh. In this case, supplements can be your backup soldiers, ensuring that your child receives the nutrients they need to maintain a strong immune system.
Other Factors That Can Boost Your Child’s Immune System
Beyond nutritional support, a healthy lifestyle starting from infancy can help to strengthen your kids’ immune systems as they grow. Other lifestyle factors that may affect a child’s natural defences include whether they were breastfed as babies, their activity levels, and the quality of their rest. Let’s look at each factor a little closer.
Breastfeeding Your Baby
While still in the womb, babies receive immune cells through their mother’s placenta. And after birth, infants receive powerful immune support via their mother’s breast milk.
Breastfeeding is considered the gold standard when it comes to supporting your baby’s immune system when it is developing. Colostrum present in the mother’s milk provides powerful immune boosters to infants. In fact, babies who are breastfed for at least six months have a better developed immune system and are less prone to infections and allergies.
In both children and adults, exercise offers a big boost to the immune system. But children are becoming more and more sedentary, and their immune systems aren’t better for it.
Studies have found that high activity in younger children boosts their immune responses. So enjoy daily activities with your kids. Give them plenty of time to run around in the backyard. Go hiking, biking or skiing as a family. Or let your kids pick their favourite sport to try out.
Sleep is critical for our immune systems. Not only may adequate sleep help us to avoid getting sick, but it may also help us to recover much quicker if we do get sick.
Children need about 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night. But most kids get far less than that. The National Sleep Foundation recommends these sleep guidelines for children:
- Under 1 year: 12 to 16 hours a day
- 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours a day
- 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours a day
- 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours a day
Help your children catch plenty of z’s and build strong immune systems by establishing a calming bedtime routine. Try to cut down on screen time before bed. And encourage them to take naps or quiet times if their night-time sleep isn’t adequate.
Lean On Us For Your Kids’ Immune Support
Many kids may not eat enough of the fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and other healthy whole foods they need to maintain strong and sturdy immune systems. That’s where we come in. At Active Iron, we provide that nutritional backup to make sure that families with busy lifestyles stay strong and healthy.
If you want some extra support to help keep your kids’ immune systems super strong, we’re developing a supplement that will become your family’s daily staple. Keep your eyes out for our Active Immune for Kids supplement that will launch this May.
Food supplements are not a substitute for a varied diet and healthy lifestyle