Top 10 Immunity Boosting Foods for Kids
Kids can be picky eaters, no doubt. But convenience and appeasing their tantrums and tastebuds shouldn’t come at the cost of their health and kids immunity. Not eating certain kinds of foods and food groups can lead to nutritional deficiencies in kids, which can further lead to low immunity in kids. And now, with the pandemic in full swing, it’s even more important to pay attention to what’s on your kid’s plate. Here is a list of the top ten immunity boosting foods for kids you should include in their diet - because building a strong immune system for kids is essential.
Immunity Boosting Foods For Kids: Yogurt
When it comes to immunity foods for kids, this is one of the easiest to incorporate: yogurt! Curd can be easily incorporated into your child’s diet in the form of curd rice, kadhi-pakoda, smoothies, and smoothie bowls/oatmeal. Yogurt or dahi is a probiotic that helps keep your gut healthy, which contributes to overall health and immune function. Research shows that people who consume probiotics on a daily basis have a lower chance of contracting colds and flu compared to those who don’t.
Buttermilk is a great option to give kids, especially in the summer when it’s warm. It is a much better alternative to bottled fizzy drinks and boxed juices, with natural probiotics. To make chaas or buttermilk, take 400 ml buttermilk, 1 tbsp cumin seeds powder and 1 tsp black pepper powder. Mix it all together and serve chilled!
Immunity Boosting Foods For Kids: Citrus Fruits
These function as a natural immune booster for kids. Vitamin C is loaded with antioxidants, which fight free radicals and keep colds, flu and cough away. Almost all citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons, kiwis, musambi, pomelo, grapefruit and guava contain Vitamin C. It’s important to note that Vitamin C cannot be produced by the body, so we must consume it from outside sources like fruits and vegetables. These fruits can be consumed raw as a snack, in salad form, as fruit chaat or made into juices and smoothies.
Immunity Boosting Foods For Kids: Green Leafy Vegetables
They may not be a favourite with kids, but they are essential. Green leafy vegetables are nutrient-dense, rich in iron, fibre and antioxidants. There’s a wide range to choose from: spinach, kale, moringa (drumstick leaves), radish leaves, pumpkin leaves, methi, kale etc. Moringa is an easily available local green that is a good source of copper and vitamin A, which help build immunity. If your kids don’t like to have greens as a sabzi, you can always make it into a soup, pasta sauce or chutney.
Immunity Boosting Foods For Kids: Zinc-Rich Foods
Low zinc levels reduce the body’s immune responses. Zinc has the ability to function as an anti-oxidant and stabilise membranes, playing a key role in the prevention of free radical-induced injury during inflammatory processes. Zinc-rich foods include amaranth (rajgira), bajra, Bengal gram and sesame seeds. You can prepare rotis using amaranth and bajra flour, and sprinkle sesame seeds on your kids’ toast, porridge, etc.
Immunity Boosting Foods For Kids: Fluids
Hydration is an important part of staying healthy and free from illness. Our body is made up of almost 70% water, and when we lose water through sweat and stool, we have to drink enough liquids to make up for it. Drinking less water and fluids causes dehydration and increases nutritional requirements. Aim for 8 glasses of water/fluids for your kid each day, along with hydrating fruits like watermelon. You can also make cooling drinks like almond fig milk. Churn together 1/2 cup almond and 1/2 cup water. Sieve this liquid into a glass and add 1 soaked and chopped fig.
Immunity Boosting Foods For Kids: Coconut Water
Naariyal paani is pretty easy to source, and you will likely not face much resistance from your kids if you ask them to have a class. Coconut water is full of electrolytes, and a great drink for kids in the summer heat or after extended playtime. With essential nutrients like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and folates, coconut water has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that can strengthen the immune system and fight viral infections like flu. It also helps flush toxins out of the body.
Immunity Boosting Foods For Kids: Turmeric
This is one of the best immunity foods for kids. Curcumin in turmeric is anti-inflammatory in nature and turmeric is good to combat runny nose, congestion, sneezing etc. You can add turmeric to your food like dal and sabzi, or have it in the form of turmeric or golden milk, with black pepper. Black pepper and fat (like milk) help in the absorption of turmeric. To make turmeric milk, take 1 cup milk, 1-inch long piece turmeric (peeled and thinly sliced) and 3 whole black peppercorns. Whisk the milk, turmeric, peppercorns with 50 ml water in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the favours have melded, for about 10 minutes. Strain into a mug and enjoy. Add raw honey or jaggery powder for sweetness.
Immunity Boosting Foods For Kids: Broccoli
Broccoli is a powerhouse vegetable when it comes to nutrition: it is packed with Vitamins A, C and E and also contains plenty of fibre and antioxidants. It is one of the healthiest vegetables to consume. The important thing is to be sure to NOT overcook it - have it lightly steamed, stir-fried or better yet, raw. You can give your kids broccoli nuggets or tikkis, or make it into a pasta sauce to have with whole-grain pasta. You can even puree some broccoli and add it to roti dough.
Immunity Boosting Foods For Kids: Ghee
This is good food for immune system for kids. Ghee boosts immunity, is antimicrobial and helps in soothing cough and cold. It also helps in reducing symptoms of seasonal allergies. Ghee has a high smoke point, which means it does not break down at high temperatures of deep-frying while other oils may turn rancid and release free radicals. Free radicals are what cause damage to our cells. Add 1 tsp of ghee to a katori of dal-chawal for your kids - it will ensure the proper functioning of the digestive tract, better absorption of nutrients, give satiety and boost immunity.
Immunity Boosting Foods For Kids: Nuts & Seeds
This is one of the best immune boosters for kids. Kids like to snack, and instead of chips or namkeen, give them a bowlful of nuts or seeds. Most nuts contain antioxidants and minerals in addition to protein. Flaxseeds and walnuts are superfoods, with the added benefit of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which support immune cell function and also help prevent respiratory infections. Chia seeds are another good source of Omega-3s and can be added to smoothies, juice and oatmeal. Nuts like almonds and seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds are good sources of Vitamin E, a strong and powerful antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage.
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How do you boost a child's immune system?
You can boost a child’s immune system with immunity boosting foods for kids, like yogurt, nuts, seeds, carrots, pumpkin, fruits and whole grains.
How can you boost immunity in kids?
You can boost immunity in kids with nighttime rituals like turmeric milk with raw honey, which helps fight infections and soothes a sore throat. Haldi-doodh is one of the best immunity boosting foods for kids.
What are the best vitamins for children's immune system?
The best vitamins for a child’s immune system include Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin D.
How do you improve immunity in kids?
You can improve immunity in kids with a balanced diet, exercise, enough sleep and the right amounts of water and hydrating foods.
How do you increase immunity in kids?
You can increase immunity in kids with a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, along with a good dose of zinc-rich grains and millets and cereals like bajra, amaranth etc. These are among the best immunity boosting foods for kids.
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