Kids Health

Immunity-Boosting Foods for Kids

As the world is grappling with COVID-19, the one question that is on every parent’s mind is ‘how do I protect myself and my family’. Is there a way for the human body to get natural immunity to the Corona virus? While there is no proven way in which we can get natural immunity to the Corona virus, it does help to have a top-notch immune system that can hold the fort, come what may. Kids are less likely to get infected from Corona virus compared to the elderly, but still it makes sense to boost up their immunity so that they are armed well against the virus. Read on to find out the best immune-boosting foods that your kids should be having at this time. As you would imagine, these are typically foods that kids do not like to eat, but there are ways to make kids eat healthy food that you may find out from many sources.

Sources of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid which is its scientific name, is sometimes called the ‘Immunity Vitamin’. It boosts immunity by stimulating the production and function of different types of white blood cells and antibodies. Good sources of vitamin C include oranges, kiwi, lemon, guava, papaya, and strawberries. Vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and capsicums are also rich sources of vitamin C.

Sources of Beta carotene

Beta carotene, a red/orange pigment found in some fruits and vegetables, gets converted to vitamin A in the body, which is vital for a strong immune system. Vitamin A works by helping antibodies respond to foreign substances and toxins. Good sources of beta carotene are mangoes, onions, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, kale, broccoli, spinach, squash and cantaloupe.

Sources of Vitamin D

A deficiency in vitamin D can result in greater susceptibility towards infections, especially upper respiratory tract infections. Vitamin D helps to activate ‘T cells’ in the body, which detect and destroy foreign pathogens like viruses. Exposure to sunlight can lead to the manufacture of vitamin D in the body, but to rely on this source alone may not be wise in areas of the world where continuous sunlight is a scarce commodity. Good food sources of vitamin D include eggs, cheese, tofu, mushrooms, fatty fish like salmon and sardines and fortified milk and plant milk products.

Sources of Vitamin E

Vitamin E, as an antioxidant in the human body, is critical for the optimal functioning of the cells of the immune system. Vitamin E deficiency results in increased risks of infection. Good sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, avocadoes, spinach and trout.

Sources of vitamin B6

A deficiency of the B6 vitamin may reduce your body’s production of white blood cells, including the killer T cells, which help regulate the immune functions of the body.  Good sources of vitamin B6 include milk, beef, tuna, eggs, salmon, sweet potato, green peas and spinach. In fact, roasted chickpeas are a nutritional storehouse to be given to kids as a viable substitute to store-bought chips.

Sources of zinc

Zinc is a mineral known to play a vital role in the immune system. People who are deficient in Zinc develop susceptibility to a variety of pathogens. Taking zinc supplements or foods that are good sources of zinc at the start of a cold has shown to reduce its severity. Good sources of zinc include tofu, nuts, wheat germ, chickpeas, lentils, beans, crab, oysters, beef, pork chop, yogurt and dark meat poultry.

Sources of protein

Proteins are key building blocks of antibodies and immune cells, and play a vital role in helping our immune system function well against invading pathogens. Protein rich foods come from both plant and animal sources. Fish, beef, poultry, milk, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, seeds, nuts, beans and lentils are good sources of protein.

Sources of prebiotics and probiotics

Prebiotics are a form of dietary fiber that functions as a fertilizer for the good bacteria in your gut. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria present in our guts and stimulate healthy digestion and boost the immune system. Good sources of prebiotics include whole grains, onions, garlic, leeks, whole grains, asparagus, and beans. Good sources of probiotics include fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, miso and tempeh.

Hydrating foods

Water flushes out toxins from the body, so drinking more of it can prevent toxins from building up and harming your immune system. The most common recommendation is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water or two liters per day. However, it need not be in the form of water alone. You can make up the required amount of hydration by having other fluids and water rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and soups.

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