Everyone knows that as soon as your child goes to school, they seem to come into contact with every single bug there is! One of the best important ways to ward off those annoying colds and flu symptoms is to make sure your child’s immune system is working efficiently. While you can’t shield your child from every single bug around, there are some top tips you can follow to help them fight off as many as possible.
It all starts with a healthy diet. Make sure your child is getting a varied diet which includes plenty of fresh, whole foods including fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, good fats and lean proteins. Many nutrients help our children’s health but we know that Vitamin D and Vitamin C are especially important for having supporting the immune system. Try to include immune boosting foods which contains these nutrients such as eggs, oily fish, dark green leafy vegetables and berries – delicious and healthy! Also make sure your child is getting outside enough. This is to give them a chance of catching some of the sun’s rays to help manufacture Vitamin D. We are only able to make vitamin D from the action of sunlight during the months of April to September.
Sugar has been known to cause a problem with our immune system (1). To help keep your child’s immune system up and running, try to limit their intake of sugar and sugar containing foods such as ready meals and confectionary. If you are worried that your child might not be getting all their nutrients from their diet, you can offer them a tasty Vitamin C for kids supplement or a children’s immune support supplement.
Depending on their age, children need between 10 – 14 hours sleep. Many children aren’t getting enough. Lack of sleep can lower a child’s immune system leaving them more open to being affected by germs and bacteria (2). When children are overtired and overstimulated, they find it difficult to get to sleep. Try to give them at least an hour before bedtime with no TV or computers etc. This can be a quiet time for reading which will help get them in the mood for sleep.
We tend to think that stress is only something that adults suffer from. We now know that children can often be stressed too. Children’s bodies have the same response to stress that adults bodies do – this means that elevated stress hormones can lower the immune response (3). Yoga and meditation
Exercise is helpful for a good immune system (4). Regular and moderate exercise is to be encouraged not only for the immune system for general overall good health as well. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise every day and make it fun for your child. Skipping, playing football, running around, playing tag and cycling are all types of exercise that can be fun for the child yet still be good quality exercise.
Make sure your child (and you) laugh every day! It’s thought that laughter may actually increase certain cells which help our immune system (5)! Laughter also reduces stress and increases feel-good hormones called endorphins. Have fun!