9 Forms Of Food That Boost Immunity In Kids - Great Health For Better Future
Keeping up good health and developing a good immune response in one's body is highly imminent for having a healthy life. With evolving lifestyles and poor food habits, we need to do our best to help our kids develop immunity from the very beginning to prepare them for a great & healthy future.
Let's take a basic introduction about the types of immunity that our body can develop!
1. Innate immunity
This type of immunity is the one we are naturally born with and are ready to prevent outside invaders from day one! These include physical barriers such as skin, mucous membranes that exist naturally in our mouth and gut. These act like frontline warriors to save pathogens and micro-organisms from entering our bodies.
2. Adaptive or Acquired Immunity
As we grow, our bodies come across numerous pathogens for the first time. Our immune system works hard to make antibodies to fight the infections off. Our immune system stores the data and keeps the antibodies ready to respond faster when the same pathogen strikes again. This process of developing immunity over time is called adaptive immunity. This is the reason why older children and adults fall sick much lesser than younger kids and babies.
3. Passive Immunity
This is also a type of acquired immunity but from a source. This immunity is passed down to the foetus from the mother through the placenta or from breastmilk. It helps to fight off infections in earlier years. However, this immunity is not lasting and wades off with time, and by then, adaptive immunity kicks in.
Another form of immunity is artificially induced through vaccinations. Hence timely vaccinations are highly significant for fighting various diseases.
Immunity boosting Food Forms
It is more important for parents to understand why these 9 food categories as naturally designed to improve our immune system and need to be included in their children's diet.
Effective immunity comes from a healthy body and mind. These superfoods are the perfect easy way to see your children grow into healthy humans. A child who falls sick too often means low immunity and which in turn leads to poorer health.
Mother nature is not just a name, and her offspring are made with perfection and balance for all nutrients required by our bodies. Each season and the associated fruits hold the right amount of nutritional value. Eating seasonal fruits helps prevent the pathogens that develop in the particular season from affecting our bodies by providing the right micro-nutrients.
Citrus fruits full of vitamin C help to fight off cold & flu viruses and are usually available all year round.
Fruits like papaya, mango, bananas are rich in fibre, zinc, potassium that aid digestion and maintain good gut health, which is very important for overall immunity. Pomegranate and berries are loaded with anti-bacterial and blood cleansing properties that boost your overall immune system.
Herbs and Spices
What makes Indian food stand apart is the variety of herbs and spices that give world-class flavour and immunity boost to our bodies. Turmeric, fenugreek (methi), mustard seeds (raee), coriander powder (dhaniya powder), cumin seeds (jeera) are some of the common spices found in every Indian household that hold magical properties for healing, preventing and curing a long list of ailments and diseases. The herbs & spices are rich in antioxidant properties, are anti-bacterial, purify the blood and keep toxins out of the body.
Garlic is a botanical vegetable but is used as a herb or a spice and is blessed with cold-curing qualities. Regular infusion of spices in everyday food helps develop a strong immune response and defence mechanism against pathogens.
Rich in fibres, antioxidants, micro-minerals and nutrients, eating seasonal vegetables is necessary for the right level of immunity as per the weather. Why does corn come in the rainy season? Why are carrots and spinach available in winters? Each vegetable has a combination of nutrients that help to develop adaptive immunity for the current and upcoming season.
Regular consumption of a balanced diet through vegetables works wonders for cleansing of liver, kidney and guts. When your food canal is clean and toxin-free, the body can use all its energy to be prepared to fight the unwanted invaders. Inculcate a habit of including a sufficient portion of vegetables every day in your child's meals for the long-term benefit in the form of improved physical and mental growth, higher energy levels, lesser chances of obesity.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are not just luxury food items, they are rich in calcium, protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Low in calories and super energy sources and the unsaturated fats found in them keep a check on cardiac health. Seeds like chia, fennel, flax are great for intestinal health and help to manage over & underweight issues. They are also great snacking options instead of packaged and junk food. The nuts are also a great replacement source for certain micro-nutrients, which are otherwise found only in non-vegetarian food and augment immunity.
A handful of nuts in the morning and evening will keep the kids rightly energized and full for long hours (curb the unhealthy munching of snacks).
The prized position of dairy for kids is well-known. Dairy in the form of paneer, milk, curd, buttermilk is usually loved by all kids. Anyone dairy item should atleast be included in children's meal every day! And if your kids love milk, it's a bonus! Dairy is rich in calcium and upto 500gm/ml of total dairy intake (for 2 years old children and above) in a day is sufficient to meet the daily requirements of calcium, protein and phosphorus. Paneer and cheese are high in calcium content and also provide energy! A safe vegetarian source of B12, curd and buttermilk are also superfoods for digestion and gut health.
Egg and meat
Eggs are the humongous source of protein, calcium, iron, vitamin B12, and many other micronutrients that aid the development of the brain, bones and muscles. Lean meats are also a healthy source of B vitamins and selenium that improves immunity, prevents cell damage. Both meats and eggs rich contain so many varieties of nutrients that are essential for proper growth in children, support brain development, cell formation, and healthy fats that promote healthy heart functioning. The saying never goes out of style that - Sunday Ho Ya Monday, Roz Khao Ande!
Rice, Wheat, Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Moong, Pulses, the list is too long! Whole grains in the form of Atta or infused in the plethora of dishes that the Indian kitchens burst of are the food that must be compulsorily included in a child's diet. The complete Indian diet mixes all the food grains as per traditions to provide wholesome goodness of dietary fibre, carbohydrates, vitamins, iron, folate. Most cultures have specific days of the week assigned to eat certain grains so that every grain is included systematically in the diet. Whole grains give long-lasting energy for the simple fact that they are slow to digest (in a good way) and release energy for a longer time! The Easiest Food chain level is the grains and cereals as they are stale food in our country. The stability of eating whole grains around the year helps to keep our body nutritionally balanced and maintain the overall immunity levels.
Inherited magical potions from ancestors are also perfect for enhancing immune system activity. Plant-based concoctions, including tulsi leaves, pudina, methi, giloi, and seeds like cumin, fenugreek can be added and boiled in water to create a Kadha. These are proven helpful for curing and preventing flu and cold-related sickness. Kadha gained popularity during Covid-19 times but have been in use since the beginning of the time. Infused water by boiling these and many other natural ingredients improves the functioning of the whole digestive tract and also helps to release excess phlegm caused due to any seasonal virus and bacteria attack on the body.
Immunity is not a single feature of the body. The immune response of the body works best when all your organs and body functions working on point. Hence the list of the above food forms enhances immunity and the upkeep of all the body functions.
We can confidently conclude that acquired immunity is essential for our kids to save them from dangerous infections and preventable diseases. Covid-19 being one more added to the list.
Indian kitchens are said to be the house for natural immunity-boosting ingredients and foods. A healthy lifestyle, exercising, eating well-balanced food helps our immune system to work smarter and faster.
For much more than just parenting download our app
Love this blog? Share it with other parents.