Keeping our children healthy, happy and safe from any illness is paramount for us parents. Nothing hurts us more than seeing our little ones fall prey to cough, cold and other infectious diseases. And as they start to go to preschool, these threats become more common and seemingly impossible to avoid. Building a strong immunity becomes key at this stage. Here are some smart ways you can support your child’s immune system.
Encourage Personal Hygiene
One of the most effective ways to protect your children from illness is to prevent them from being exposed to infectious agents in the first place. That includes keeping up on the hygiene practices. As you may have guessed, handwashing is key. You need to teach your children to wash their hands frequently. Make sure they wash their hands when they get home from school as well as before eating. Also, unless it’s shower night, have them wash their hands and faces before bed.
Ensure Your Child Gets Enough Vitamin C
Vitamin C is well known for its potential health benefits when fighting a cold. What many don’t know is that vitamin C is crucial for children’s good health and development. Also called ascorbic acid, Vitamin C plays an important role in supporting the body’s immune system. That is because vitamin C is an antioxidant, and antioxidants help reduce damage to cells from free radicals in the body. Vitamin C is also highly concentrated in immune cells, the reason why it’s considered an immune-boosting agent.
The human body can’t produce vitamin C on its own, so you must consume it from foods. So, as a parent, you need to ensure that your children eat a wide variety of colourful fruits and vegetables every day. Great sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, apples, berries, potatoes and peppers. For picky eaters, you can consider a vitamin C supplement.
One of the best ways to supplement vitamin C for kids is through a children’s multivitamin. After all, children need more than just vitamin C in order to grow and develop properly. According to experts, children need up to 15 different vitamins and minerals on a daily basis to promote their health and wellbeing. Supplementing with a kid’s multivitamin ensures our children get everything they need to stay healthy.
There are many vitamin products available on the market, but because they’re not FDA-regulated, they may vary greatly in thier ingredients, purity and dose. With that said, you should always buy supplements for kids from a reputable company. The supplement you get must contain safe doses of vitamin C for kids and have undergone third-party testing. As for how much vitamin C for kids it’s recommended, children 1 to 3 years old should not get more than 400 mg of vitamin C a day, while children 4 to 8 years old should not get more than 650mg a day.
Probiotics for a Gut-Check
Gut health is essential for a good digestive system, which is where infections generally arise. Consuming foods rich in probiotics helps strengthen the intestinal tract and aids the growth of good bacteria. One great way to include probiotics in the family’s diet is through yoghurt. Infants can get yogurt pureed with fruit while older children can enjoy yoghurt as a tasteful dip for carrot or cucumber sticks.
Encourage a Healthy Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet is vital for your child’s immune system. So encourage your child to eat colourful fruits and vegetables. A good selection of whole grains should also be part of their diet. Processed food should be kept to a minimum. Health food choices help ensure that your child gets enough vitamins necessary to maintain a strong immune system.
If you tend to struggle to get your kids to eat their fruit and vegetable, it might be time to rethink your presentation. Instead of offering your picky eaters a plate full of broccoli why not prepare them a bright coloured fruit and vegetable juice. Juicing is a fun and easy way to increase nutrients in your children’s diet. It is also a smart way to hide the dark leafy greens that kids often don’t enjoy.
There are tons of great quality yet affordable electric juicer models available on the market that you can buy to make delicious juices at home. A cold press electric juicer is a great option to consider. This juicer works at a low speed, which helps minimize oxidation, and press fruit and/or vegetables to separate the liquid from the fibre. It may cost a bit more than other models available, but it can squeeze up to 30% more juice than other types of juicers. This can save you money in the long term as you will buy less produce.
When introducing juices to your children, consider starting off with a fruit-based juice made with your children’s favourite fruits. You can then add a few vegetables such as carrots, beet, sweet potato or butternut squash. As they get used to the palate of these juices, you can slowly start to add more vegetables. Avoid adding anything that is too sour or bitter as this can put your pick eaters off.
Exercise as a Family
One of the best ways to get your children into a lifelong fitness habit is to be a good role model. But make sure you exercise instead of just urging them to go outside and play. Fun family activities include scooter riding, bike riding, inline skating, hiking, basketball, etc.
Maintain a Healthy Sleep Schedule
Children generally need between 10 to 14 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Lack of sleep can lower a child’s immune system, increasing their chances of getting affected by germs and bacteria. Overstimulated and overtired children tend to find it difficult to get to sleep, so give them at least an hour before bedtime with no TV, phones or computers. This can be a quiet time for reading, which will help get them in the mood for sleep.