Since children spend so much time at schools, day camps, playdates and other places where infectious diseases can easily spread, a strong immune system is extremely important to keep them healthy and active. If your child's immune system is strong enough, they can easily fight off sicknesses that are affecting the rest of their peers. Though vaccinations, good hygiene, supplements, and avoiding illnesses are the best way to keep your kid from catching anything, there are a few other ways to help your child stay healthy. To ensure your kids' have the strongest possible immune system, try to encourage them to eat these immune boosting foods.
Allicin is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in garlic. In addition to providing garlic with its signature flavor, allicin is also a powerful antimicrobial element. It benefits your body by killing off infectious bacteria before your immune system even has to deal with them. A British study found that people who took a garlic extract for 12 weeks were 66 percent less likely to develop a cold when compared to people who avoided garlic. Doctors recommend that children each two cloves of garlic a day in order to get the immune boosting benefits of the vegetable.
Medical studies have found that mushrooms encourage the body to create more white blood cells, and the resulting cells are more active than the cells of a person who avoids mushrooms. Since white blood cells are the primary method of fighting off foreign microbes, increasing the white blood cell count is an excellent way to improve the immune system. Unfortunately, an aversion to mushrooms is fairly common among picky eaters, but grinding them up and mixing into items like ground beef or sausage may convince your child to eat them.
Beef is a great way to boost the immune system because it has unusually high levels of zinc. Zinc deficiencies are very common among Americans, and causes illness to spread because zinc is critical for developing white blood cells. If your child dislikes beef, you can give them milk, poultry, or a vitamin supplement to add zinc to their diet.
Honey has a particularly valuable method of boosting immunity. If your child has any plant allergies, eating honey that was made locally can help. This is because local honey contains trace amounts of pollen and other allergens in your environment, so the immune system can gradually build up a tolerance to these allergens. However, it is important to remember that infants and young children should not eat honey, so this superfood is best left for older children.
Yogurt contains probiotics which are beneficial bacteria that help the body to function properly. When consumed, these probiotics travel to the intestinal tract, where they help to kill germs and other harmful microbes. Probiotics are so helpful that one study found people who ate 7 ounces of yogurt a day took 33 percent less sick days than those who did not eat yogurt. Look for yogurt with a label specifying that it contains “live active cultures” to give your child the probiotic benefits of yogurt, and you should try to find brands that specifically contain Lactobacillus reuteri cultures.
Your immune system is a valuable function of the body that fights off foreign invaders, so it is important to support kids' immune systems early on. Even if your kids are picky eaters, you should try to find creative ways to include these foods in their diet. If you can’t get them to include all the necessary vitamins and nutrients, check out diet supplements and ask your doctor what they might recommend as an additive. A strong immune system does not just prevent illness, it also ensures that any sickness your child does contract will be over quickly.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information on health supplements check out ASEA water reviews or contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan