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10 ways to boost your child's immune system

Simple practices like ensuring your child is well-hydrated and engages in some form of physical activity can improve their immune system

Spending time outdoors and being exposed to nature can help your child develop a well-rounded and resilient immune system(Unsplash/Robert Collins)

By Nonita Mehta

LAST PUBLISHED 04.12.2023  |  03:20 PM IST

Maintaining a robust immune system is crucial for the well-being of children, as it helps protect them from various infections and illnesses. Here are some ways to go about it.

#1. Balanced nutrition: One of the fundamental pillars of a strong immune system is providing your child with a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as minerals like zinc and selenium play vital roles in supporting immune function. Encourage a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy in their diet to ensure they receive a broad spectrum of nutrients.  

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#2. Adequate sleep: Quality sleep is essential for overall health and immune function. During sleep, the body undergoes crucial processes that repair and rejuvenate various systems, including the immune system. Establishing a consistent sleep routine for your child, which ensures they get the recommended hours of sleep for their age, contributes significantly to a robust immune response.

#3. Regular exercise: Physical activity is not only essential for a child's overall development but also plays a role in boosting their immune system. Regular exercise helps circulate immune cells throughout the body and promotes good blood circulation. Encourage your child to engage in age-appropriate physical activities, whether it's playing sports, riding bikes, or simply enjoying outdoor play.

#4. Hydration: Proper hydration is often overlooked but is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system. Water helps flush toxins out of the body and supports the proper functioning of various bodily systems. Ensure your child drinks an adequate amount of water throughout the day, especially during physical activities or in warmer weather.

#5. Limiting sugar intake: Excessive sugar consumption can have negative effects on immune function. High sugar intake has been linked to increased inflammation and a weakened immune response. Be mindful of the amount of added sugars in your child's diet and opt for healthier alternatives when possible. 

#6. Probiotics and gut health: The gut plays a crucial role in the immune system, and maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria is essential for the overall well-being of your young ones. Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria, can be found in certain foods like curds or taken as supplements. These microorganisms support a healthy gut microbiome, positively influencing immune function. Ensure to include probiotic-rich foods in your kid's diet. 

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#7. Stress management: While it might seem surprising, stress can impact the immune system of children too. Chronic stress can suppress the immune response, making their bodies more susceptible to infections. Encourage stress-reducing activities such as play, relaxation, and hobbies to promote emotional well-being.

#8. Regular health check-ups: Regular visits to the pediatrician are crucial for monitoring your child's overall health and development. Vaccinations, when appropriate, are essential for preventing certain diseases and contribute to the overall strength of the immune system.

#9. Personal hygiene: Teaching your child good hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing, can significantly reduce the risk of infections. Simple habits like washing hands before meals and after using the restroom can prevent the spread of germs.

#10. Exposure to nature: Spending time outdoors and being exposed to nature has been linked to improved immune function. Fresh air, sunlight (a natural source of vitamin D), and the diverse microbial environment found in nature contribute to a well-rounded and resilient immune system. So, whether its a jaunt in the neighbourhood park or a trip to a forest or nature trail, make regular plans that will help your kids enjoy that little spot in the sun. 

In conclusion, a multifaceted approach is key to boosting your child's immune system. Emphasising a balanced diet, promoting healthy lifestyle habits, and incorporating immune-supporting supplements can contribute to the overall well-being of your child. As parents, caregivers, and educators, we play a vital role in instilling lifelong habits that foster a strong foundation for our children's health.

Nonita Mehta is founder of Kiddoze, a nutritional gummies brand for kids.

Also read: Gummy vitamins for kids: healthy or candy in disguise?