There is no magic pill or capsule that builds an invincible immune system in your kids. However, there are scientifically proven ways to bolster their immunity. A healthy immune system is a byproduct of lifestyle choices.
Let’s see what you need to do:
Get them to eat better:
In a recent survey, 97% parents agreed that children’s eating habits will determine their health and yet, only 17% thought that their kids are eating a very healthy diet. Parents know that proper diet is the foundation of good health but very few manage to get them to eat healthy.
A healthy immune system is made up of many different nutrients. You need the right amount of micronutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Iron, and Magnesium. But at the same time obesity or overeating can actually reduce immunity.
Vegetables are the best source for these vitamins and minerals. Research shows that plant based diet can lower the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Not only that, but green vegetables improves the function of immune cells in your gut and skin.
Adding more vegetables and fruits to their diet will improve the immune response. More healthy food means less of junk or packaged food. A survey by Obesity Policy Coalition found that more than 50% of these kid’s items are actually unhealthy.
Get them to run:
Running comes with some serious health benefits. It will improve cardiovascular health and keeps obesity at bay. It oxygenates blood and improved circulation helps disease fighting cells to reach all parts of your body. It’s no surprise that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 60 minutes of physical activity for kids.
A recent study confirms that children who exercise regularly will grow into healthier adults, both physically and mentally. Another study suggests that immune system can get a real boost from regular exercising. To the extent, that the ability to fight infection or disease at the age of 80 will be the same as someone 40 or 20 years of age. If it can do so much for 80 years old, imagine how good it will be for younger children.
Running will also improve your kids’ mental health. Scientists observed improved attention and focus in children who participated in fitness program. Another study found that physically fit students performed better in standardized math and reading tests.
Your kids will also get the required amount of Vitamin D from running in the outdoor. We know that Vitamin D is important for adaptive immune response (not to forget its importance for bone strength). Running or jogging for just 15 – 20 minutes can give anti-inflammatory effect that will improve the immune system.
Our body needs adequate sleep to fine tune its systems and that includes the immune system. This is why Matthew walker, the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, believes that sleep should be prescribed.
According to Matthew, lack of sleep results in reduced resilience. Lack of sleep will result in lack of fight against germs and diseases. Another study published in the Trends in Neurosciences confirms that sleep improves the response memory of your immune system. This memory helps them fight and fend off bacteria and viruses when they enter your body.
This is why it is important to develop good sleeping habits in children. A good night’s sleep can make a huge difference to their health and vitality.
Don’t leave it all on their immune system. It does not have to be the first line of defense. Make sure you are not straining the immune system by exposing them to germs and infections.
Many common illnesses like diarrhea or flu can be avoided by maintaining good hygiene. In fact, 88% of diarrheal deaths are caused by unsafe water or poor hygiene. A study involving 6000 students in 16 elementary schools saw 19.8% drop in infections when hand sanitizers were used in classrooms.
According to WHO, washing hands with soap and water can reduce diarrheal associated deaths by up-to 50%.
It is worth mentioning that hygiene doesn’t mean barring your kids from playing in dirt. In fact, you need to encourage them to play outside because exposure to everyday germs will strengthen their immune system.
Vaccination is a hotly debated topic because vaccines are not always 100% effective. But even when they are not 100% effective, they can produce great results. For example, the flu shot that was effective in less than 20% cases in year 2014 – 2015 managed to prevent 4000 deaths and 144,000 flu related hospitalizations.
Your kids will get vaccination shots for up to 15 diseases and it’s a good idea to consult the option of seasonal vaccinations like flu shots with your child pediatrics.