Did you know that the first few years of your child’s life are crucial for developing a healthy immune system, and the system will be more mature by the age of 3? A strong and healthy immune system is important, as it protects them from harmful germs; even when they fall sick, they can recover faster. Thus, we are here to share some helpful tips on how to boost up your child’s immune system.
Tips 1: A balanced and healthy diet
A balanced diet that consists of proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats provides the nutrients needed to nourish their immune system. Ensure your child’s diet includes the immune-boosting foods below:
- Fruits and Vegetables rich in Vitamin A, C and E such as carrot, pumpkin, broccoli, orange, etc helps to keep their respiratory tracts healthy.
- Yoghurt provides probiotics to improve gut health and fight infections.
- Omega-3-rich foods such as salmon, avocado, flaxseeds and hazelnuts are great for their eye, heart, brain and immunity health. (Whole nuts should not be given to kids below 5)
- Foods high in Zinc such as wholegrain cereals, legumes, meats, dairy products help to protect the body against infections.
- According to TCM, spleen-nourishing foods such as millet porridge and Huai Shan soup are good for immunity.
- Avoid high-sugar drinks and foods which can increase inflammation in the body.
Tips 2: Fresh air, sunlight and outdoor activities
Studies have shown that more outdoor activities with fresh air and sunlight exposure can strengthen your child’s immune system and reduce allergies too! Sun exposure provides Vitamin D, not only vital for bone health but also for the immune system to function optimally. Remember that the deficiency of Vitamin D can increase the risk of infection!
Ensure your child gets a daily dose of sunshine and fresh air for at least 30 minutes. Bring them for outdoors activities such as:
- Walk in the garden
- Play at the playground
- Picnic and have fun at the beach
- Cycling, jogging and gardening
Tips 3: Water
Drinking enough of water is important too! It helps to improve digestion and absorption of nutrients as well as maintain healthy mucous membranes along the respiratory tracts which are important to fight infections.
Tips 4: Good Sleep
A night of good sleep and rest is crucial for developing a healthy immune system. Sleep requirements for each night vary by age:
- 0 -12 months need 14 to 17 hours of sleep.
- 1 -2 years old need 11 and 14 hours of sleep
- 3 to 5 years old needs 10 to 13 hours.
- 6 to 12 years old needs 9 -11 hours.
Tips 5: Breastfeeding
Breast milk is the best food for babies, and is rich in antibodies that help them to develop a strong immune system and protect them from illness. WHO recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding along with introducing appropriate complementary foods for up to 2 years of age or longer.