Flu season is upon us and regular colds are a given among children. However, there are ways, according to the experts, on how to help reduce the amount of sick days that your child needs to take. Read on, because here are five ways to boost your child’s immunity.
“We all enter this world with an inexperienced immune system,” said Charles Shubin, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland, in an interview with Parents.com.
It takes time for children to build their immunity to germs and viruses. So, let’s give them some ammunition to help!
1. Serve more fruits and vegetables.
Carrots, green beans, oranges, strawberries, oh my! All of these fruits and vegetables carotenoids, which are immunity-boosting phytonutrients, according to William Sears, M.D., author of The Family Nutrition Book. Phytonutrients may increase the body’s production of infection-fighting white blood cells and interferon, an antibody that coats cell surfaces, blocking out viruses. Make it a goal to have your child eat five servings of fruits and veggies per day. Fruit smoothies are a big hit and great way to get those servings in!
2. Have them get more sleep
Sleep deprivation can make you more susceptible to illness by reducing natural killer cells, immune-system weapons that attack microbes and cancer cells. An infant may require up to 16 hours of sleep each day, toddlers should have 11 to 14 hours, and preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours per day.
“If your child can’t or won’t take naps during the day, try to put her to bed earlier,” said Dr. Kathi Kemper, M.D., director of the Center for Holistic Pediatric Education and Research at Children’s Hospital, in Boston, to Parents.com.
3. Get moving and exercise as a family
Research shows that exercise increases the number of natural killer cells in adults—and regular activity can benefit kids in the same way, states Ranjit Chandra, M.D., a pediatric immunologist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.
“Exercise with them rather than just urge them to go outside and play,” says Renee Stucky, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Columbia, Missouri.
Some family fun activities can include bike riding, basketball, and soccer. Starting as a family will establish a habit that they will continue in the future.
4. Wash, Wash, Wash
Washing hands and teaching good and proper hygiene will help children guard against germs.
5. Serve more probotic-rich foods.
According to Dr. Will Nicole, serving probotic-rich foods can help your child boost their immunity naturally. Offer fermented foods like sauerkraut or kefir, or if that isn’t such a hit, offer plant-based (unsweetened) yogurts mixed with fresh chopped or pureed fruit.
Do you have any tips on how to help boost children’s immunity? Sound-off and let us know! We want to hear from you.