The immune system is what your body uses as its defence mechanism against infectious organisms and other foreign invaders. Most of the time, the immune system does an excellent job of keeping you healthy. On the occasions, however, it can run into trouble which may lead to infections and illnesses.

When a child’s immune system is weak, it results in recurrent runny noses, colds and repetitive gastrointestinal infections, it is time to take a closer look at their immune system. There are many measures you can take in order to boost your child’s immune system. These measures can actually boost their defences as well as speed up the healing process.

Breast milk and child’s immunity:

Human milk provides substances that benefit the baby’s immune system, including antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells. These substances protect babies against a wide variety of diseases and infections. Here is a quick list of 5 immunity boosting foods in children:

1. Green Leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables like Spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale are loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients which is essential for a healthy immune system. Children are usually not fond of green veggies but we can smartly incorporate the same in their meal.

Ways to incorporate: You can add spinach puree to pasta/ noodles/ spaghetti. You can add kale to a smoothie.

2. Citrus Fruits and Berries:

Citrus fruits like orange, lime, guavas and berries are one of the best sources of antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients. The bright red, blue and purple colours get their pigment from the potent antioxidant called anthocyanin. They also contain ample amounts of vitamin A, as well as vitamin C, both of which strengthen your child’s immune system.

Ways to incorporate: Add a handful of mixed berries to your child’s breakfast cereal. A delicious snack idea could be a handful of mixed berries stirred in a bowl of plain yoghurt. Orange and berries smoothies can be a good option

3. Yoghurt (Probiotic):

In children as well as in adults, when the gut bacteria become imbalanced, your ability to fight off infections is altered and you may experience an increase in colds and flu.

Yoghurt or curds contains probiotics, the good bacteria which strengthens the intestinal tract and keeps the gut healthy. In children, yoghurt may help reduce the diarrhoea caused by antibiotics.

Ways to incorporate: Children often don’t like to eat plain curds, You can try flavoured yoghurt, Greek yoghurt and smoothies made out of them.

4. Eggs and Lean Meat:

Eggs and lean meat are high in protein which is an important macronutrient for children. The egg yolk is a storehouse of vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Lean meats and poultry also contain high amounts of zinc and important minerals that lead to increased white blood cells to fight infection.

Ways to incorporate: Egg omelette for breakfast, chicken or fish gravy in the main course.

5. Nuts and Seeds:

Walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are an excellent source of Vitamin E and antioxidants thus help increase immunity.

Ways to incorporate: You can add crushed nuts in desserts or even give dry fruit powder for babies. Add crushed nuts in milk. Make the mix of seeds and sprinkle on fruits.

Now that you're aware of the top immune-boosting foods for your child/children, I hope you find ways to add them as much as possible to their daily diet.

Stay Strong, Stay Happy, Stay Healthy!