Your immune system is your front line defence in protecting and maintaining good health. It determines how much tolerance you have in the face of harmful viruses and how quickly you can recover when you get sick. To boost our immune system, we need to adopt a healthy lifestyle and take extra precaution.
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However, for children, it’s not as simple. As they aren’t able to be independent, nor do they have the knowledge about their immune system, it’s our responsibility to ensure that it’s strong, and firing on all cylinders. With that being said, here are eight simple ways you can boost your children’s immune system.
1. Eat fresher foods
Fresh foods will always be the most important part of building a strong immune system. Making sure all your child’s meals are nutrient-dense with lots of healthy ingredients will not only boost their immune system, but they’ll be feeling physically better as well.
Foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats are great as they contain plenty of minerals and vitamins which are essential building blocks of the immune system.
2. Get in some physical activity
Exercise helps to maintain a healthy body and makes the immune system stronger. Getting outdoor exposure may also help you build up a tolerance over time.
Encourage your child to adopt a sport that they enjoy and can commit to. Alternatively, you can exercise as a family. Not only is this good for bonding, but it also benefits your health as well.
3. Educate them on germs
Most children get sick because they aren’t sure where germs come from and how to avoid them. Take the time to show them where germs and bacteria come from and how we can avoid coming in contact with them. You can also lead by example.
Show them how to wash their hands properly, how to use soap, what to do before and after playing outside, how to clean up after play. Teaching them these basics at home will help them carry it over to the school and other situations when you can’t always personally supervise.
4. Avoid smoke
If you or your partner smoke, try to avoid it in front of your child or quit altogether. Not only does second-hand smoking kill cells in the body, but it’s worse for children because they breathe at a faster rate.
Second-hand smoking can put your child at risk of developing asthma, ear infections, bronchitis, and other health complications. Once your child’s immune system is compromised from second-hand smoke, they become sick more easily and more often than normal.
5. Breastfeed your baby
Breastfeeding babies that are under a year old is a great way to boost their immune system directly. This is because breast milk itself is designed by nature to boost immunity-enhancing antibodies and white blood cells. It also helps babies from developing ear infections, diarrhoea, pneumonia, meningitis, and other infections.
Multiple studies have also shown that breastfeeding can also increase brain development and brainpower for babies. It is recommended that mothers should breastfeed babies for at least a year. Though this may be difficult or unrealistic, mothers need to get a minimum of 2-3 months of breastfeeding their baby before they stop.
6. Get enough rest
Most children these days don’t get enough sleep. Whether it’s because of mobile devices or stress and anxiety, all children need to put those problems aside and get their required amount of hours.
Our immune system is constantly running 24 hours a day, so it’s important to give our bodies a break so that our immune system can calm down and recoup. Without an adequate amount of rest, children’s immune systems can become strained. Children should sleep at least 8 hours a night.
7. Supplements can help
Just like adults, supplements are there when you can’t get enough of a certain nutrient from food. Supplements are also great because they are convenient and very efficient in terms of consuming a specific nutrient.
The best supplements to boost your children’s immune system are vitamin C, D, fish oil, iron, and zinc. But before you go about choosing supplements for your child, make sure you consult with your child’s doctor first.
8. Help them to calm down and avoid stress
Although children don’t suffer from stress and anxiety as much or as intensely as adults do, their development can cause problems for their health. Children also feel mentally strained and need a break. When stress hormones are elevated in children, their immune system’s response becomes slower.
This is why it’s important to teach your child cool and calming techniques to help them feel relaxed at difficult times. Not only does this improve their health, but it can also improve their behaviour as well.
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