If your children’s immune systems could do with a bit of a boost then see if you can increase the following foods in their diet for extra help.
Encouraging them to eat a varied diet and introducing nutrient rich foods can go a long way towards ensuring there immune system stays strong and healthy, ready to fight infection.
Thankfully some foods pack a great deal of nutrients in small amounts; perfect for little ones. Here are 5 immune boosting child friendly foods:
Blue berries or strawberries provide a concentrated amount of the much needed vitamin C during winter months.
Vitamin C will help their white blood cells break down bacteria and kill them off. Our body does not retain vitamin C, so you need to encourage your children to top up every day.
Try: mixing frozen berries with their choice of milk &/or yogurt into a smoothie
Almonds provide an excellent source of vitamin E; a nutrient not as well known as vitamin C but equally important to the immune system. Vitamin E also enhances the production of a variety of immune cells that help the body seek and destroy cold producing bugs.
Try: Swapping peanut butter for almond butter instead, or encouraging your child to eat a small amount of almonds as a snack.
The bright orange colour of carrots indicates the wealth of beta carotene, another super nutrient for increasing your body’s army against invaders. Beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A and vitamin A is important for the health of the membranes, including nasal membranes that block disease from entering our bodies.
Try: Baby carrots sticks dipped in humous for a snack
The highest vegetarian source of zinc, pumpkin seeds pack a lot of nutrients into such a small food. Zinc also helps the body fight infections as well as reducing the duration of a cold.
Try: grind pumpkin seeds with almonds and other nuts of your choice and add to yoghurt, smoothies or on top of steamed vegetables or fish. They can also be added to homemade trail mix.
Shop for yoghurts with “probiotic cultures”. Avoid yogurts marketed towards children as these are more like ‘desserts’ with the amount of sugar they contain; instead look for a natural, non-flavoured yoghurt. Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain the balance of organisms in the digestive system. Much of the immune system is located in the digestive system (over 70%) and probiotics are very important in keeping that area healthy.
Try: if your children are new to natural, non-flavoured yoghurt, then combine with berries, honey and milk for a delicious smoothie or just mix together for a more healthful dessert.