Five Ways To Support Kids Immune Systems
Colds and flus are an inevitable part of life, especially for kids who end up swapping a lot of germs when they’re together. But as parents, we are not without options when it comes to boosting our child’s immunity. There are many ways we can support a strong, budding immune system in our kids: good sleep, low stress, daily movement, and a varied, nutrient-dense diet.
And just in case our picky eaters don’t tend to gobble up all the nutrient-dense foods we wish they would, we can also provide added nutrients by way of supplements. This way we can be assured our kids are getting at least a base level of important vitamins and minerals every day.
The top 5 supplements to give kids to support a strong immune system are:
The obvious front runner which most of us have known about for years, vitamin C helps stimulate the production and function of white blood cells, which are the body’s vital defenders. A great way to get more vitamin C into your child's diet to support their immune system is through food. Some awesome food sources of vitamin C include: broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, thyme and lemons.
This antioxidant protects respiratory health by helping to form the mucus membrane lining the respiratory tract. This mucus lining acts as a protective barrier and first line of defence against invader pathogens. There are two types of vitamin A, retinol and beta-carotene. Retinol is the fat soluble form of vitamin A that we get from animal based foods. Beta-carotene is a water soluble form of vitamin A that can be harder for the body to convert and absorb, but is mainly found in plant sources. Vitamin A is found in a variety of foods that can be easily added into your child's diet, including eggs, sweet potato, cheese, salmon, butter, kale and carrots.
Vitamin D is an immune system regulator which also activates the body’s T-cells. Deficiencies in this fat-soluble vitamin have been shown to lead to higher levels of illness and since sunshine is the body’s best source of Vitamin D, supplementing can boost immunity all year long, even when sun exposure is low. During the winter months we tend to produce less vitamin D because of the lack of sun exposure. There are some food sources of vitamin D that you can introduce to your child, such as wild caught fish like mackerel, salmon, tuna, mushrooms and egg yolks. However, supplementing with a vitamin D drop can ensure the required daily amount.
Zinc activates certain enzymes which break down the protein in viruses and bacteria, slowing their spread. It also prevents the immune response from being overly exuberant, thereby reducing inflammation in the body and improving overall immune function. Zinc is naturally found in a wide variety of foods like red meat, oysters, lentils, pumpkin seeds, eggs and dark chocolate.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria necessary to create a healthy micro-biome, which in turn leads to a robust immune response. Because the majority of our immune function takes place in our gut, consuming enough good bacteria is essential to overall health. Probiotics can be introduced through fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and yogurt. Its important to introduce a variety of foods so that your child can not only experience different flavors but also nutrients and benefits too!
Ensure your child is well-armed against invaders with these essential immune supplements.