Tips to Boost Your Children's Immune System

Children are exposed to a number of germs and viruses every day and eventually, they will get sick. For children, having a cold five or six times a year, an ear infection and even the flu once a year is considered normal. Over time your child's immune system will strengthen and allow them to fight off these viruses and germs and there are some habits you can help them form that will assist in this process. Boosting your toddler's immune system is the best defense against the everyday germs they are going to contact. So keep reading to learn what you can do to achieve it.

How to Boost Toddler's Immune System

1. Eating a balanced diet

There are plenty of reason why you should be ensuring your child eats a healthy well-balanced diet. Eating foods that are packed with preservatives, additives, and sugar can lead to food intolerance, digestion issues, and inflammation. What your child eats can hinder their immune system, which is why you should be feeding well-rounded meals to your child and include foods that are a significant source of the following to help them healthy.    

  • Antibiotics. Antibiotics are necessary to promote the growth of healthy bacteria found in your child's gut. This bacteria allows the body to better defend against harmful bacteria and viruses. Naturally increase your child's intake of prebiotics by feeding them bananas, tomatoes, garlic, onions, artichokes and whole wheat foods.
  • Iron. Iron helps hemoglobin form which is necessary for the transportation of oxygen to the rest of the body. Not getting the proper amount of iron can lead to issues with cognitive development and a weakened immune system. Some of the best iron rich foods to feed your child include red meats, beans, nuts, whole grains, and dark leafy greens.
  • Zinc. Zinc helps new cells form in the body and create enzymes that support the immune system. Zinc is not stored in the body, so ensuring your child consume the proper amount daily is vital. Some foods that are rich in zinc include meats, milk, cheese, and cereals.
  • Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the immune system function properly and can help your child better defend infections. How to boost toddler's immune system with vitamin D? While the sun is the most effective way to get plenty of vitamin D, most children only get about 25% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin D. To boost your child's vitamin D intake, consider including salmon, mackerel, eggs, and fortified cereals into their diet.
  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that will help protect the cells in your child’s body as needed specifically by the white blood cells to better defend against infections. Foods that are rich in vitamin C include peppers, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and kiwi.
  • Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps the immune system by triggering the antibody response and alerting the immune cells to function. Some of the best foods to feed your child that contain vitamin A are eggs, yogurts, organic fruits and vegetables like sweet potato and mango, and dark green fruits and vegetables like spinach.

2. Getting enough sleep

How much sleep your child needs will depend on their age but most preschoolers need to get around 10 hours of deep, restful sleep and younger children will need up to 18 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation in children, as well as in adults, weakens the immune system. Children should sleep in the dark without electronics or even a night lite to ensure they fall asleep and stay asleep longer.

3. Breastfeeding

It is always encouraged that you breastfeed your infant since the milk contains white blood cells and immunity boosting components. Breastfeeding can help your child better fight off ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, and even sudden infant death syndrome. Breast milk can also help boost your baby's brain function and reduce the risk of colitis, cancers, and insulin-dependent diabetes.

4. Regular exercise

How to boost toddler's immune system? Exercising keeps the body strong both inside and out. When your child participates in regular exercise, the natural killer cells in their body is increased. One way to ensure your child gets enough exercise each day is to exercise with them. Being a good role model for your child will encourage them to be more active. Trying doing things the whole family can do like bike riding, hiking, or playing a sport together.

5. Prevent the spread of germs

You want to help reduce the amount of stress on your child's immune system and one way to do this is to prevent the spread of germs. Teach your child to wash their hands thoroughly with soap, especially before meals, after playing with others, once they have used the restroom, and when they arrive home from school or daycare. Other ways you can protect your child against germs is by throwing away their toothbrush if they are ill, having them get a flu shot, and allowing them to make washing their hands fun by letting them choose their own colorful soap.

6. Avoid second hand smoke

Smoking around your child exposes them to thousands of harmful toxins which kill the cells in the body. Secondhand smoke not only makes your child more susceptible to sudden infant death syndrome, ear infections, asthma, and bronchitis, but it can also have a negative effect on their neurological development. If you or your spouse smoke, you want to quit as soon as possible or at least limit your smoking to only outside the home.

7. Help them cope with anxiety and stress

How to boost toddler's immune system might come down to giving them more time to just relax. Children become just as easily stressed as adults do, and often times even more quickly. When the stress hormones are elevated, the immune system is unable to function properly. To help your child better cope with stress and anxiety, you want to schedule in regular downtime where they can play, be creative or just relax.

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