We are all born with an inexperienced immune system. Over time, our immune system grows stronger and learns to fight the various infectious agents and diseases we are exposed to in our daily lives. However, there are also things we can do to help boost our immunity.
How to improve immunity in kids?
There is no quick fix solution that tells us how to increase the immune system in kids. Instead, there are healthy habits we can help our children adopt early on to give their overall immunity a strong start.
Make Sure They’re Getting Sufficient Sleep
We all require a good night’s sleep to be able to function optimally both physically and mentally. Not getting regular, adequate sleep can prove detrimental to long-term health. Sleep plays an important role in our immunity. One study has shown that sleep increases the efficiency of T cells, which play a part in our immune response and help us fight off infections. Pre-schoolers need between 10 to 13 hours of sleep daily and school going children need between 9 to 11 hours of sleep. Naps are a great way to make sure your children are getting enough rest. However, if a nap is not possible, you can make up by setting an earlier bedtime for your little ones. It is also healthy to have your kids maintain a fixed sleep schedule.
Encourage Them to Play
It’s important for your kids to get in a daily dose of exercise whether it’s cycling around the building compound or through an at-home workout. Studies show that regular physical activity can boost immunity and decrease our susceptibility to both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Further, it has also been shown that regular exercise may play a role in delaying immunological ageing.
Help Them Follow a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Still wondering how to improve immunity in your kids? The diet they follow plays an extremely important role. In general, it is best to avoid processed foods and choose home-cooked meals instead. Include a mix of whole grains, pulses and a healthy portion of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce contains a variety of different phytonutrients which all help to boost health and immunity. Fruits and vegetables contain various essential vitamins and minerals which help boost immune function and fight infection. They are also a great source of antioxidants that help reduce oxidative stress.
Spices play an important role in boosting immunity. A regular dose of spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and black pepper helps keep your kid’s immune system in check. These spices exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and hence should be a part of the daily routine.
For infants, breast milk is a great source of immunity boosting antibodies and probiotics. It is recommended to exclusively breastfeed your baby for at least the initial six months as breastfed babies are less likely to get infections than formula-fed babies.
Breastmilk helps support a baby’s immune system. It contains proteins, fats, sugars and cells that work against infections. This includes antibodies, white blood cells, lactoferrin, lysozyme, oligosaccharides, probiotics and prebiotic.
The main type of antibody in breastmilk is IgA. It protects the internal surfaces of the body, such as the mouth, stomach, intestines and lungs. These antibodies are not digested by the baby, they coat the gut and block the entry of infections, protecting against illnesses.
Teach Them to Maintain Proper Hygiene
Fighting germs does not directly boost immunity. However, it can help to reduce the strain on your kid’s immune system. Remind your children to wash their hands with soap before and after meals, and after play time, arriving home from school or using the bathroom. Explain to them in language they can understand, the importance of keeping germs away so they can stay healthy.
The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.