7 Ways to boost Immunity in Kids naturally
Kriti Aggarwal Mar 21, 2018
Are you one of those mothers whose kids fall sick easily with changing the weather? Is your kid suffering from allergic infections quite often? Kids with weak immune system get cold and cough frequently, catch stomach infections from others in school or while playing on the play area with sand. All of this can be avoided by taking small steps to strengthen the immune system of your kids. A strong immune system gives kids a natural defence system to fight against infections or diseases.
Infants are more susceptible to infections as they have less developed immune system which develops slowly as they grow. The growth, however, varies depending on multiple factors including their eating habits, hygiene, and lifestyle. If your kid has low immunity, you can easily boost it naturally in the following 7 ways:
Breastfeeding has always helped babies to gain immunity as they grow. The time when a baby is born the colostrum or thick yellow pre-milk which flows from the mother’s breasts during the first few days after delivery is full of immunity-enhancing antibodies. It contains all the protein, sugar and fat that the kids needs for their growth. Breastfeeding your little one as soon as they are born is essential for them to develop a strong immune system and fight against all the diseases in future. You should feed them with your milk as long as you can. Babies fed with formula milk are more prone to infections like pneumonia, cough, cold, stomach flu etc.
Eating healthy and nutritious food
A healthy and nutritious diet is the foundation of a good immune system. Paying attention to what your kid eats since the beginning is very important. Sooner they understand the benefits of wholesome food, the better it is.
There are varieties of fruits and vegetables available in different colours. Encourage your kids’ to have a Rainbow colour diet wherein each colour food is rich in specific nutrients that will help your kids get a well-balanced diet. Some of the immune boosting fruits and vegetables are apples, tomatoes, carrots, bananas, strawberries, broccoli, and pomegranates.
Kids are what they eat. You should try giving at least 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. The servings can vary throughout the day in different meals and snacks for different age groups. For example, if you are feeding 2-3 year old then the portion size of the vegetable and chapati will vary from the child of 5-7 age bracket.
You should also make it a point to give healthy (and tasty) options instead of junk food or snacks. Kids get bored with the same type of food quite easily so the onus is on the mother to be the MasterChef for her kids. Google is your best friend to try out new healthy recipes. You can alternate between fruit and vegetable juice or soup every day. Make it interesting for them by adding butter and breadcrumbs.
Another very important part of your kid's meal should be Yogurt. It contains helpful bacterias called probiotics. It is not only a good source of calcium and vitamin B but is also a rich source of proteins. Yogurt helps in controlling gastrointestinal disorders like diarrhoea, constipation and bloating, thereby boosting digestive health. There are varieties of yogurt available in the market, buy the ones with less sugar content. Homemade yogurt is the best for kids. Try making them at home with different flavours like mango, strawberry, chocolate etc.. Kids with lactose intolerance should avoid yogurt.
Eating meals at regular intervals
It is not only important to eat healthily but also on time. A certain level of discipline is required to maintain good digestion and strong immune system. Meals at proper intervals makes kids’ body learn to send hunger signals at meal time. This way the kids eat well and fulfil all the basic nutritional requirement needed by their body.
Drinking a lot of Water
Quenching kids thirst has become quite a challenge for mothers today. Kids prefer preserved packed fruit juices, soft beverages and flavoured milk, which increases the sugar intake, causing tooth decay and adversely affecting their health. You need to make kids understand the numerous benefits of adequate and regular water consumption required for a healthy body instead of other beverages.
Water should be given to kids first thing in the morning. It helps in flushing all the toxins from their body and also aids in digestion by cleaning their intestine. and. Kids have different water requirements according to their age and activities throughout the day. Sporty kids need more water than the normal active kid. The recommended water intake (taken alone or as part of other foods/beverages) by kids is 5 glasses (1 litre) for 5 to 8-year-olds, 7 glasses (1.5 litres) for 9 to 12-year-olds and 8 to 10 glasses (2 litres) for 13+ years.
Lemonade or Nimbu Paani as it is famously called is also considered very effective against many diseases. It has vitamin C which helps fight infections and has numerous benefits for healthy skin, well-hydrated body, and better digestion. So try giving lemonade daily in lukewarm water every morning or in the afternoon after they come back from school. Sweet and salty lemonade acts as an instant source of energy for kids. You can use honey instead of sugar to make it more healthy and nutritious.
It is the utmost duty of parents as well as school authorities to make kids aware of healthy personal hygiene habits. Habits such as washing hands, bathing, brushing their teeth may all look quite monotonous and boring to kids but they all protect them from the attack of bacterias, viruses, and other illnesses. You should tell your kids to wash their hands with soap before eating food and also after using the toilet. The kids should cut their nails at frequent intervals to avoid germs getting under the nails and spreading diseases. Unhealthy hygiene habits can lead to food poisoning, stomach aches, vomiting, diarrhea. You should instill bathing habit in your kid at the tender age so that they have healthy and clean skin.
‘Early to bed, early to rise can make you healthy, wealthy and wise’
A famous proverb clearly defines Good sleep hygiene habits. Healthy sleeping habits make a huge difference in mental and physical well being of a kid. Lack of sleep adversely affects the daytime energy of the kids. It makes them lazy, less active, tired and irritated throughout the day. Different kids have different sleep requirement according to age. Infants require 14-17 hours of sleep whereas toddlers need 10-13 hours and 9-11 hours might suffice adolescents.
You also make sure that your child enjoys sound sleep. You should have a relaxing routine activity right before going to bed for your little ones. It can be reading bedtime stories, singing songs or rhymes to them. You can also interact with them by listening to their daily activities or having discussions with their friends. This is the best time when you and your baby can have a special conversation regarding any topic that you or your baby wants to discuss. This way you will create a special bond with your child and make them calm and composed. A calm mind will sleep quickly and throughout the night.
Outdoor activities for play and exercise
Introduction to exercise at early stages of kids’ life is essential for kids’ overall growth. Regular exercise for at least an hour boosts kids’ immune system. To help your kids develop an interest in physical activities you need to be their role model. You can encourage your kids by participating in their activities. Eventually, the kids will start enjoying the activities and will show the willingness to go out and play. You can start with walking, running, be jogging or cycling for about half an hour daily with them. Running barefoot on grass will increase their strength and agility. You can make them join different sports activities like tennis, cricket or swimming classes of their choice. You can also play cricket, do bike riding once a week by which you can spend more quality time with your kids.
Natural and fresh air with sunlight is an excellent immune stimulator. Vitamin D from the sun is essential for kids to nourish their mind and body. So prefer those activities that expose kids to at least 20 minutes of sunlight daily. Kids failing to meet their daily Vitamin D requirement are at risk of developing rickets, where the tissue does not mineralize properly, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. The morning sunlight gives more Vitamin D than later in the day.
You need to limit the use of gadgets by your kids. Too much time in front of television, smartphones or tablets will make kids lethargic and less active. So you need to educate them about the harmful effects of screening to their eyes and brains. You also need to check on the quality of the program they are watching. Exposure to violent programs on TV might lead to aggressive behaviour in kids.
Home based remedies
Ayurveda is still very much relevant in modern times especially in the case of kids as it is generally safer than synthetic drugs. Ayurveda helps in the detoxification i.e. removal of disease-causing toxins from the body and bringing about a harmonious balance within the body to fight and prevent diseases. Let’s review some of these home-based remedies for our kids.
Tulsi or Holy Basil: Tulsi with ginger and honey is a great immune booster and is the best home remedy for most infections. Tulsi has a mix of volatile and fixed oils including linoleic acid that helps fight allergies, infections, and pathogens in kids. My mother used to give me hot tulsi tea with a pinch of black salt and a teaspoon of ghee and that would work like magic on my sore throat.
Giloy or Guduchi: During fever, you can give Giloy water to kids. Giloy is a universal herb and has antioxidant properties which help in removing toxins, purifies blood and fights bacterias. It acts a rejuvenating agent and cures urinary tract infections. Giloy is also used when kids have eye infections. It has helped kids getting rid of spectacles if they take giloy water regularly. You can make giloy water at home or you can buy giloy tablets or giloy juice from the market. Giloy water can be made by boiling one long branch of giloy and few leaves of Tulsi for few minutes and cooling it. This drink helps increase the immunity amongst kids incredibly.
Haritaki or Harad: It is powerful medicine for a number of stomach problems and is safe to give to kids and even infants. Just grind a small piece and give it with lukewarm water to relieve your kid of stomach pain.
Turmeric or Haldi: Turmeric or haldi as it is famously called has anti-inflammatory properties. It is the best herb to heal wounds and illnesses. You can give turmeric milk or haldi doodh to your kids to prevent infections and stay healthy during winters.
The list is endless. You should always look up to your mother or grandmother for a quick advice or suggestion for any health issue before visiting the doctor. One thing I would like to highlight here is that you should not discount the medical science completely in favour of natural remedies and take a pragmatic approach to mix both doctor’s advice with home remedies for a wholesome support for your kids’ health.
Vaccination is a must for all kids. Even if you start healthy habits amongst kids at a very early age then also you should follow proper recommended vaccinations. Your paediatrician can help you with the vaccination chart for your kid. Getting your kid vaccinated on time will help protect them against vaccine-preventable diseases before they come in contact with them.
Hope these tips will help you develop the immunity of your kids naturally, and help them enjoy a greater level of wellness in the future. The power of your love, care and affection is above all these tips for kids overall development. Do not hesitate to show your kids how much you love them. A kid does not need expensive gifts and toys but a happy and loving environment. Eating at least one meal together every day is also very essential. Giving them hug, massage and kisses are known to increase happy hormones which in turn stimulate their immune system naturally.
At the same time, try your level best to prevent stressful situations, as they can prove harmful to the immune system and lower a kid’s resistance to diseases. Talk to your kids regularly and help them cope with their problems.
If you also have some tips or bits of advice for other parents on kids’ diseases and food habits then please feel free to comment below.
Until then, Happy Parenting!