After reading this article you will have an idea of how to boost your child’s immune system naturally and through food so that his/her body can fight off these bacterial and viral invaders on its own.
What is the immune system and what its function ?
The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defends the body against infection. Source
The immune system works by recognising the difference between your body’s cells and alien cells, allowing it to destroy any that could be potentially harmful. Source
What age is a child’s immune system fully developed?
An infant’s immune system doesn’t mature until around 2 to 3 months. In those first few months, the immune system, especially cell-mediated immunity, becomes more developed.
That means that a 2 weeks old baby’s immune system can’t fight viruses or bacteria nearly as a 3 months old infant’s can. Sourse.
That doesn’t mean that your newborn baby is not protected against germs and viruses. Antibodies are passed from mother to baby through the placenta during the third trimester, and this gives the baby some protection when they’re born.
After birth, more antibodies are passed on to the baby in colostrum and in breast milk.
That’s why breastfeeding -if you are able to- is the best choice ever for the health of your baby. Add to that vaccination during the pregnancy, at birth, and then at 6 weeks, 4 months…etc
What causes a child to have a low immune system?
You can know that your child has a weak immune system if he/she get sick faster and for longer periods of time from usual childhood infections.
If we ignore some children that born with a weak immune system which is called primary immune deficiency, and some immune system disorders like ( SCID), and some autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes and Lupus.
The main reasons for weak immunity system for children are:
- Poor nutrients diet.
- No getting enough sleep.
- Not playing enough outside.
- Second hand smoking.
- Taking too much antibiotics.
How can you boost your child’s immune system naturally?
There are smart steps you can take to help strengthen your kid’s immune system naturally and to reduce their number of sick days. You can consider them as home remedies to boost the immunity system:
1- immunity boosting foods:
It all starts with food. What a child eat has a big impact on his/her immunity system. Just like the brain friendly diet, there are some immunity diet that can help your kids stay away from the doctors:
One of your child’s immune system’s key jobs is to batrol the gastrointestinal tract and prevent germs, bacteria, and other pathogens from entering the bloodstream and making your child sick.
So to keep his/her gut happy, let the yoghurt to be a part of their healthy diet.
Yoghurt also packed with probiotic that helps fight off the bad guys and also gives the immunity system a boost.
2- citrus food:
Citrus fruits is one of nature’s best sources of vitamin C. This vitamin have a great role in increasing the production of white blood cells – which are the key to fighting infections.
Your child’s body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, so it is better to make citrus fruits as a main part of your kid’s daily diet.
They can either eat the whole fruits, or you can easily squeeze it on their meals.
A cup of freshly squeezed orange juice with the breakfast can provides your kid’s body with a good dose of this vitamin.
Garlic can boost immune function. This is because garlic has amazing natural anti-microbial properties.
That means it can kill the harmful bacteria and prevents their growth, which is crucial to a healthy immune system.
Getting more garlic is fairly easy, and while supplements do exist, it is always best to go straight to the sourse. Try to add garlic to your cooking wherever possible.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which help fight off the common cold and flu.
Blackberries contains 50% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C, and that’s a lot of vitamins in such a small berry.
Strawberries contain key antioxidants vitamins like vitamin C to help you stay healthy during cold and flu seasons.
With these fresh and yummy fruits you can give your kid’s immune system a big boost to help fight viruses and harmful bacteria.
You can easily make strawberry or blueberry smoothies as a healthy breakfast option.
5- Lean meats:
Red meat and poultry are protiens that have a good amount of iron and zinc in them, which is very important for the immune system.
Meat also has a good level of most of the vitamins that strengthen the immune system like vitamin B1 and vitamin B12, whose deficiency causes a reduction in chromium which is a micronutrient presents in trace amounts in our body that stimulates immune defences and resistance to infections.
Lean meats is also one of the kid’s intelligence boosting food, so let the meats be one of their daily diet.
6- Green leafy vegetables:
Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, parsley are great to boost your child’s immune system naturally, and should be on your kid’s diet.
They contain high levels of the vitamins C, K and folate, which are all good immune system boosters.
The darker the leaf, the more antioxidants it has, and for sure, the more immune boosting is.
7- walnuts and almonds:
The vitamin E found in nuts like walnuts and almond is needed by the immune system to fight off invading bacteria.
Nuts are also a good source of zinc and selenium, which really help the immune system.
The healthy fats in the nuts make it one of the best brain foods that help boost your kid’s intelligence.
2- More sleeping :
Sleep plays an important role in having a healthy immunity system, and lack of sleep can effects your kid’s immune system.
Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold viruse.
If your kids have sufficient sleep, their bodies make more Cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep.
So to help your children stay healthy during the influenza season, let them get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep at night, and a nap during the day will be great.
This will help keep their immune system in fighting shape.
3- More playing outside:
Playing outside can help kids develop a strong immune system. Outdoor light stimulates the pineal gland.
This part of the brain is vital to keeping their immune system strong and making them feel happier.
When your children play outside, this will help them get enough amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system.
4- Banish secondhand smoke:
Second hand smoking or passive smoking is the inhalation of smoke or environmental smoke by a person other than the real smoker.
It occurs when tobacco smoke enters an environment, causing its inhalation by people within that environment.
Secondhand tobacco smoking are considered on of the greatest causes of preventable illnesses and premature death worldwide.
If the adults smoke around kids, then kids may develop asthma and respiratory infections. In addition to that, those children are more likely to catch a whole range of severe infections.
A professor of pediatrics at texas health science center college of medicine said: ” it suggests that secondhand smoke affects the infant’s immune system in some way”.
So, please don’t expose your unborn baby or your children to secondhand smoke to keep them healthy and away from hospital.
If you are still pregnant and need some help to quit smoking, here are some important steps to help you achieve your goal.
5- Avoid antibiotics unless necessary:
A new study suggests that antibiotics can weaken the immune system. This study has shown that antibiotics can reduce the ability of mouse immune cells to kill bacteria, and that changes to the biochemical environment directly elicited by treatment can protect the bacterial pathogen.
So, although antibiotics are effective and potentially life-saving for bacterial infections in children.
But, unnecessary antibiotics expose individual children to potential side effects, including diarrhoea, vomiting, rashes and allergic reactions.
The overuse of antibiotics also increases the risk of bacterial resistance in the wider community. This is when commonly used antibiotics become ineffective against some bacteria, making it difficult, or even impossible, to treat some infections.
For all the reasons above, if your child have a simple viral infection, don’t rash the pediatric to write an antibiotic prescription for him/her.
Ask your doctor first and follow his suggestion to let your child immune system kill the harmful bacteria or viruse without the help of antibiotics. This will strengthen your child immune system for sure.
Now, after your read these simple steps to boost your child’s immune system naturally and through food, please share the post with other mothers to help keep the children healthy and have strong immunity system.