It’s 2021 already but it almost seems like the most seamless transition ever. The date on the calendar may have changed, but otherwise not much else has. It’s the same WhatsApp forwards predicting further waves of infection, Tier 4 and 5 lockdowns, cynicism about the vaccine and so on.
With many schools and workplaces closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have found ourselves dealing with a new, and often very stressful, family situation. As well as having to work from home and run the household, you’re likely also trying to keep your kids on track with their virtual school work.
Young children account for only a small percentage of COVID-19 infections. Children are very much adapted to respond and very well equipped to respond to new viruses. Even when they are infected, they are most likely to experience mild or asymptomatic illness. Kids do get infected and can get very sick but, in general, do better when infected with the virus.
Many worried parents ask health professionals for immunity-boosting supplements, like vitamin C, D and zinc supplements for children. Ideally, a well-balanced meal for children especially between 0-5 years of age is more than enough to give them adequate immunity. Giving children the right nutrition will not only help in strengthening their immune system but also contribute to improve cognitive development. It reduces the chances of children becoming obese, getting infected or developing serious diseases.
Here are 5 ways in which you can boost your kid’s immunity
1) Nutrition– You can build up your children’s immune systems with nutrient-dense foods. Certain foods have nutrients that can help your kids’ immune systems to be as strong as possible, so when they are exposed to the inevitable germs, they are ready to fight.
- Berries, bell peppers and broccoli are brightly coloured and rich in antioxidants, berries can be made into smoothies, or juices or added eaten as snacks and bell peppers and brocolli must be added in pastas, noodles, rice preparations, made into soups and salads.
- Oranges and citrus fruit high in Vitamin C boost immunity and act as a barrier against infections. Make sure to add lemons on salads and on dals and cooked vegetables to increase the absorption of Iron as well. • Green leafy vegetables like spinach are iron-rich and aid the production of white blood cells and antibodies. Add greens to dals, make soups add to cutlets or fritters.
- Nuts, seeds, grains and beans contain vital omega fatty acids. Make sure to add soaked almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds in daily diet.
- Eggs are a great source of protein and can be added in the daily diet in various forms. Make them into pancakes, muffins or as a side with parantha, poha and vegetables for extra protein.
- Food rich in probiotics strengthens the intestinal tract and aids the growth of good bacteria. Yoghurt is a great way to include probiotics in the daily diet. For infants, yoghurt can be added to pureed fruit. Older children can enjoy carrot or cucumber sticks with a tasty yoghurt dip.
One has to be extra cautious with children as many of them are fussy eaters and are also not very careful with the hygiene advisories that have been issued. This makes it necessary to take care of their health and make them eat a proper diet.
2) Staying active – Exercise plays a huge role in overall fitness. An hour of activity in the park or even an indoor playground can work wonders for a child’s health and boost the immune system. Exercising together or playing a sport as a family is fun and a great way to bond and stay fit.
3) Enough Sleep – Most children need between 10 to 14 hours of uninterrupted sleep. A set routine for bedtime could include a warm bath, light massage or reading together for some time. An energized and well-rested child is better equipped to keep infections at bay.
4) Avoid antibiotics unless necessary – Though they act fast, antibiotics as the first step may not always be the best idea. Antibiotics often wipe out the good bacteria along with the harmful ones thus compromising the body’s immunity. Go by your paediatrician’s advice and do not self-prescribe antibiotics for every ailment.
5) Make hygiene a habit – Good hygiene keeps germs and infections away. Simple habits like washing hands after play, before and after meals, and after using the toilet should be stressed upon so they become a habit.
Following guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus can be particularly difficult for children. Stay patient. Be a good role model and your child will be more likely to follow your lead. And remember, your children will be able to bounce back faster if they get sick if their body is well-nourished, wellrested and hygienic.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.