Are you worried about your child falling ill frequently? Here’s a list of 16 super foods that boost immune system in children naturally and easily.
Does it seem like your child attracts every bug that passes through your area? Do you find your little one always missing a few days of school whenever the weather changes?
You’re not alone! Getting sick frequently is something that happens to many kids, and among the top worries of parents. The biggest reason for this is low immunity, which can be due to a variety of factors, the most common one being diet.
What is Immunity?
Immunity refers to the ability of the immune system, the body’s biological structures, processes and organs that are specially developed for fighting off infections and hence preventing illnesses.
The purpose of the immune system is to protect the body against infection. It helps to identify and destroy the millions of microbes (i.e. bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi) that penetrate our bodies every day. Strengthening the immune system is perhaps the most important step in achieving resistance to diseases.
If you’ve been considering artificial supplements to increase your child’s immunity – don’t reach out for them yet! There are many natural ways to boost your little one’s immunity and make it strong enough to withstand common infections. Here is a list of 15 foods that boost immune system in kids, whatever the season may be.
Important: Please note that if your child’s immunity is severely compromised, you need to consult a pediatrician.
16 Foods that Boost Immune System in Children
1. Leafy Vegetables
Vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, parsley, kale, lettuce and especially green leafy green veg help in preventing and fighting against infections. Leafy vegetables are loaded with nutrients and micro nutrients such as Vitamins A,C & K, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium etc. They are also rich in antioxidants like beta carotene and other carotenoids which are essential for a healthy immune system.
According to Chinese medicine, root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, beetroots, yam, and potatoes are immune strengthening and work specific to the respiratory system. As they are grown underground they absorb the wide amount of nutrients from the soil. Root vegetables are particularly rich in soluble and insoluble fibre. This helps to build the gut health. Root vegetables are considerably rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber which helps in building the immune system.
3. Garlic, Onions, and Ginger
The sulphur compounds present in onion and garlic are said to prevent cancer. The active compounds -flavanoids in all three are immune boosting. The active compounds are Anicillin in garlic, Quercetin in onions. shagaols and gingerols in ginger. Adding them liberally while preparing foods can prevent seasonal illness.
It’s always best to make fresh pastes out of garlic and ginger instead of opting for store bought pastes. Garlic, onion and ginger aid digestion and keep gastritis at bay and also enhances heart health.
4. Cayenne Peppers
Cayenne peppers contain the chemical capsaicin, a rich source of vitamin C that aids your immune system in fighting colds and flu. Just one tablespoon of cayenne pepper contains 44% of the RDI Vitamin A, a nutrient that’s crucial in boosting immunity and fighting infection.
5. Squash or Pumpkin
Vegetables that belong to the squash or pumpkin family are loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, manganese, magnesium and folate, all of which strengthen the immune system. Pumpkins alone contain a whopping 245% of the daily requirement of Vitamin A.
Apricots are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-oxidants present in apricots help in enhancing the immune system and helps the body resist common diseases. They are packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium and lots of dietary fiber.
7. Citrus Fruits
It is a well known fact that citrus fruits like oranges, limes and guavas have a good amount of Vitamin C which helps boost immunity. and antioxidants. Besides this, citrus fruits help the body to absorb the nutrients like iron and support the immune system to grow strong
Any list of super foods is incomplete without berries, and they’re heroes when it comes to boosting immunity. Berries include strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries. Berries are rich in antioxidants like phytochemicals and flavonoids, which help boost the immune system and fight inflammation as well.
Pulses and lentils are rich in protein, fiber, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium. They are one of the easiest ways to get protein, which is essential for all body systems including the immune system. Lentils also contain phytochemicals, plant compounds which help fight against chronic illnesses.
10. Green Peas
Green peas are rich in heart healthy nutrients like Vitamins A, B1, B6 and C. They are also rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic acids, and polyphenols which help in improving immunity. Besides, they are also an excellent source of protein, with 8 g of protein in one cup of peas.
While all food groups have their own set of health benefits, sprouting them increases these benefits manifold. Not just that, sprouting makes the hidden nutrients more bio-available, which means they are made easier to absorb by the body. You can get the benefits of sprouts with our collection of sprouted food products like Sprouted Sathumaavu Health Mix and Sprouted Ragi Powder.
12. Nuts and Seeds
Commonly available nuts include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, peanuts and hazelnuts, while seeds include pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and sesame seeds. They are a very good source of protein, healthy fats, fibers, vitamins and minerals. Nuts and seeds are rich in Vitamin E which is an important antioxidant and immune booster. If you have trouble feeding nuts and seeds to babies and young children, you can try making Dry Fruits Powder at home or save time and buy it here.
Both curd and yogurt contain loads of healthy bacteria which helps in maintaining a healthy gut. Curd has ‘good bacteria’ or probiotics which maintain the gut ecosystem by keeping illnesses at bay. Recent studies have found that curd and yogurt are packed with immuno-stimulatory effects which enhance the body’s immune response.
Turmeric is one of the most effective medicine cum nutritional supplement available in your kitchen. It’s a wonder spice which has been used for generations to improve health. Turmeric contains curcumin, which provides it with antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. To know whether your baby can have turmeric, check out our post on When to give spices to your baby.
Honey is known for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties which makes it a one stop solution for many health woes, including low immunity. Honey helps in improving gut health, and the antioxidants present in honey help in removing the free radicals from the body which cause serious illnesses.
Note: Honey should not be given to babies under one year of age.
16. Health Mixes
For young children who are picky eaters, a great way to ensure they get the benefits of immune-boosting foods is by opting for all in one solutions like Health Mixes. These mixes are specially formulated to fulfill the dietary requirements of fussy toddlers and picky eaters by using an assortment of whole grains, lentils, nuts and seeds. You can try any of the following:
- Sathumaavu Health Mix
- Sprouted Sathumaavu Health Mix
- Millet Sathumaavu Health Mix
- Raw Kerala Banana Powder
- Multigrain Health Drink
A healthy diet is the KEY to immunity.
Along with this make sure your child gets enough sleep. Proper rest is needed for repair and growth of cells and is crucial for developing a healthy immune system.
Keep the child away from anxiety and stress since stress lowers immunity. Also make sure that your kids get enough physical activity and spend at least some time outdoors everyday.
How Homeopathy builds Immunity
Homeopathy can help build one’s immunity. Even if you are not physically ill, homeopathy can improve your mental and emotional well-being and is able to boost your energy and immunity.
The Father of Homeopathy Dr. Samuel Hahnemann said, “Constitutional homeopathic remedies can help strengthen our weak areas and act deeper in our system to help us stay balanced in life”.
Homeopathy is a gentle, holistic system of healing. It is based on the principal “Similia Similibus Curanter” which means “like cures like”. The aim of Homeopathy is the restoration of order and harmony in vital functioning of the individual person.
Homeopathic remedies help strengthen the immunity by stimulating the body’s ability to heal itself by giving very small doses of highly diluted substances that in larger doses would produce similar illness or symptoms. The best thing about homeopathic remedies is that they are safe and without any side effects. The remedies are FDA approved and FDA points out that it is almost impossible to find any active ingredient in it.
If homeopathic remedies are not helping you quickly that means your immunity is very low and it would take you a much longer time to respond to the remedies – months or years. Homeopathic Remedies not only stimulate a depressed immune system but can also tone down an overactive immune system.
Hence homeopathic remedies act as immune modulating remedies.
For this a classical homeopath records all the symptoms in a homeopathic evaluation. A homeopath tries to uncover symptoms and idiosyncrasies (including one’s sleep positions, food cravings, hobbies, dreams, and fears) to define one’s personality on all levels–physical, emotional, mental.
Based on this detailed understanding, the homeopath then finds/chooses remedy that most closely matches one’s physical symptoms and traits.
Homeopathic remedies helps by boosting the immune system, replenishing the energy levels of the body and rejuvenating the mind. Homeopathy can produce harmony between mind, and body. Having a healthy mind and positive thinking will certainly help boost your immunity.
Note: This post has been updated on 26 November 2019.
Dr. Bhavi Mody is a postgraduate in Homeopathy with over 20 years of clinical experience. She specializes in providing not just Homeopathy to her clients but has evolved a structured program for providing a light and sweet solution to a heavy problem obesity. Her core USP is Women and Child care with homeopathy and nutritional support.
You can connect with her on Facebook: https:/www.facebook.com/vrudhihwc