Nothing pains a parent more than seeing their child fall easy prey to infectious diseases. It’s true! We all are aware of the importance of a balanced diet for children.
While we do our best to take care of our child’s nutritional needs, we need to make sure we include power foods that contain nutrients to boost his/her immunity and fight illnesses.
In fact, we have an exclusive bunch of super power foods that you can include as a part of your family’s daily intake. After all, a family that eats together, stays together! Agree?
Power Foods That Your Child’s Immune System Needs:
1) Vegetables – Yes, They Can Be Tasty!
Green leafy vegetables are must for your growing child. Greens are immunity boosting foods that help in DNA repair as well.
They contain important antioxidants that help build the immune system in kids.
Spinach and fenugreek are rich sources of iron, folic acid, and zinc. They also provide traces of vitamins.
Kids should be persuaded to eat all vegetables as they work together to strengthen the immune system. You can give veggies to your child in various forms from raw to baked to boiled or stir-fried.
Vegetable lasagna anyone?
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2) Eggs, Lean Meats, Pulses And Everything Protein!
“To build immunity in kids give them macronutrients like proteins including milk protein, ovo protein as eggs and animal protein,” advises Dr. S Yamuna, Chennai-based consultant pediatrician.
Boiled, poached, scrambled, or as omelette–eggs are superfoods–a rich source of proteins.
The egg yolk is a storehouse of vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Lean meats and poultry also contain high amounts of zinc and important minerals that lead to increased white blood cells to fight infection.
How about boiled eggs and chicken soup to add fun to your child’s breakfast and dinner?
For vegetarians, pulses are a great source of protein. “If chapatis is your staple food with these protein foods, try cooking chapatis on iron tava,” she advises.
3) Yoghurt To The Rescue!
Power foods can be yummy! Yoghurt or curd, as we know it better, strengthens the intestinal tract in children to prevent gastrointestinal illnesses.
If your child detests plain curd, try the delicious flavoured options.
Yoghurt is full of probiotics, the good bacteria that fights and stops colonisation of bad bacteria in the stomach and is a great immune booster for kids.
So try to include curd in any form in your child’s diet–plain curd, flavoured yoghurt, raita, or lassi – and keep your child off stomach infections!
Tip: Choose the low-fat or fat-free variety to reap the benefits without extra saturated fat.
4) Garlic Stimulation!
Garlic has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It also stimulates production of white blood cells within the body and is also an antioxidant. Garlic helps prevent cold and flu symptoms. Need we say more?
5) Stay Healthy With Oats and Barley
Whole grains are a healthy option. They are rich in beta-glucan, a sort of fibre that contains antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. The fibre also helps in cleaning the intestines and to avoid constipation.
6) Carrots For The Eye!
Carrots for sharp eyesight and carrots to fight infections! Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, that’s why the bright colour.
This component supports body’s mucus membrane lining the respiratory and intestinal tracts, making it harder for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause diseases.
For a healthy diet, include carrots in your child’s diet. The bright red colour of carrots is sure to make your job easier!
7) Mushrooms To Fight Infections!
They say, mushroom, is the next best thing to chicken, in taste and in terms of nutrients. They are a major source of the immune system boosting mineral—zinc.
By now you know, zinc helps in production of white blood cells to fight infections and improves immunity in kids.
Mushrooms help in fighting common cold, flu, and other infections. Different types of mushrooms have varying antibacterial, antiviral and anti-tumour effects.
So next time you want to offer your child a nutritional meal, try mushroom-peas in gravy or a mushroom sandwich. You can add mushrooms to soups, salads, pulav and mix-vegetables!
8) Go Nuts!
Nuts should be your go-to food if you want to give your child a handful of something to munch at odd hours.
Nuts contain a whole lot of proteins, minerals, and vitamins and they are also rich in antioxidants such as omega fatty acids, zinc, and Vitamin E.
Make kids try all variants–almonds, pistachios, walnuts, raisins, dates, dried figs, etc. You may include dry fruits in garnishing home-cooked sweets, chocolates, or bars (chikki). This is a great way to build your child’s immune power!
9) Fishing for Immunity!
Fish helps build immune system and is also food for the working brain.
It contains Omega-3 fatty acids as well as other healthy fats, a must to increase the activity levels of body cells.
Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are great options for kids.
10) Top it with Fruits!
Is your fruit shopping limited to apples, bananas, and mangoes? Time to add berries, melons, pomegranate, peaches, and more.
Remember deeper and darker the colour of the fruit, the better. Fruits have antioxidants, roughage, and many hidden benefits.
Make your child eat at least one portion every day to see him/her healthier and happier!
Know of other power foods that help children to develop strong immune system and how to include these in your child’s diet? Leave your comments!
Article originally published on – September 07, 2015, updated on – Feb 13, 2020