The most dreaded cold and cough keeps visiting us often like old friends. They are more prevalent in some seasons than the rest. Malaria, Typhoid, Influenza, flu are some more diseases that also make its way in your child’s life.
Low or weak immunity is one big reason that most fall victim to such diseases. Immune-boosting nourishment can help a lot and increase your child’s resistance to fight the disease which no other medicine in the world can do. A sturdy immune system lets your child develop intellectually, physically and emotionally.
One doesn’t need to especially go purchase these food stuffs but can be made accessible in your kitchen pantry and garden.
Everyday Foods That Improve Your Immune System
Fruits and Vegetables:
All citrus fruits, strawberries, Grapefruit, watermelon, grapes, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, Mushrooms and Methi leaves.
All citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C which ultimately increases the production of white blood cells and antibodies that fights against any infection. It also increases levels the antibody called Interferon which coats cell surfaces and prevents the entry of viruses in the body.
Carotenoid present in carrots increases the number of infection-fighting and natural killer cells which prevents babies from catching an infection.
Milk and Milk Products:
Yogurt provides probiotics or good bacteria, which keeps the digestive tract healthy
Cereals and Pulses:
Oats, barley and whole grains, sprouts
The mineral selenium present in whole grains increases natural killer cells in your child’s body.
Meat, Fish and Egg
Chicken soup, Egg yolk, fatty fish and beef
Fatty fish like mackerel and tuna are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. According to a study, kids who consume fatty fish on a regular basis developed lesser respiratory tract infections. The omega-3 fatty acids act as immune boosters by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. These fatty acids also protect the body against damage from over-reactions to infection.
Other Immunity boosting food items
Garlic, ginger, cinnamon, Tulsi leaves, flax seeds,Turmeric
Foods like ginger, Onion, garlic, Cinnamon and pepper contain substances called “mucolytics” (similar to over-the-counter expectorant cough syrups) that liquefy thick mucus that accumulates in the sinuses and breathing passages.
Why Choosing Food over Medicine is so Important?
Food has innumerable properties like antibacterial, anti-infective, analgesic and antibiotic. These properties in food will keep diseases at bay without harming your internal organs.
Your body identifies food and will accept it readily and provide you its benefits. Whereas drugs are foreign substances which your body takes time to identify and in turn harms your natural immunity. This affects your child’s immune system negatively over a period of time.
What Food Can Help You and How?
Haldi/ Turmeric– Has antibacterial property.
Honey/Glycerin/Ghee– Soothes the throat.
Lemon– Vitamin-C in lemons fights against the bacteria.
Ginger– Is a hot food with mucolytic property that liquefies the thick mucus
Raisins- Phenolic Phytonutrients, well known for their germicidal, antibiotic and antioxidant properties, are abundantly present in raisins that help cure fevers by fighting viral and bacterial infections.
Make your own Cough, Cold and Fever Syrup
Homemade Syrup for Cold AND Cough
2 tsp ginger juice + 2 tsp honey + 1 pinch haldi + 1 pinch Salt + juice of 1 lemon + 1 tsp glycerin
Mix them all together and give 1 tsp after every 2 hrs.
Homemade Syrup for Dry Cough
2 tsp Jaggery + 1 tsp Haldi + pinch of salt + ½ tsp Ghee.
Mix all the ingredients together and make small spheres.
Put one sphere in your child’s mouth before bedtime and make sure you don’t give water or anything after that.
Homemade Syrup for Fever
25 raisins soaked in half a cup of water + juice of ½ lemon
Crush the raisins into the water and strain. Add the lemon juice to the water and drink twice a day.
Other Things That Help to Boost Immunity
1) Boost your child’s sleep time.
2) Breast feed your baby.
3) If your child gets sick discard the old tooth brush.
4) Engage your child in some outdoor activity daily.
5) Make sure your child washes hand before meals.
Health is imperative to one and all; be it a child or an adult. A powerful and sturdy immune system will lay the foundation for better future, growth and development.
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How to deal with common childhood illnesses
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Hetal Chheda is a Consulting Nutrition Expert and Lifestyle Coach based in Mumbai, post graduate in Foods and Nutrition with over 7 years of experience in the Nutrition industry. Hetal was on board nutritionist with the leading group of oncologists for 5 years and was a clinical nutritionist in one of the leading hospitals in Gujarat.