The change in seasons can often herald the ‘cold’ season for our children with runny noses, coughing, sneezing and scratchy throats. So, during Autumn and Winter we can prepare and support our children’s immune system.
As the weather continues to cool down, we tend to spend more time indoors. Spending more time indoors allows those germs to spread more easily, so don’t forget to enjoy the winter sunshine and enjoy those outdoor play days. Sunshine still helps our bodies produce vitamin D, which contributes to the normal function of the immune system.
Many vitamins and minerals will help with our kid’s immune system. Fruits such as berries and citrus fruit contain vitamin C which contributes to normal immune function. Carrots contain beta-carotene which can be converted in the body into vitamin A, which is another vitamin that helps. Dark leafy greens like spinach contain good levels of folate which has an importance in immune support. So, remember to give your child his or her five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Besides folate, both vitamins B12 and B6 contribute to normal function of the immune system. Meat and fish are generally the best sources of these B vitamins, although dairy products will provide amounts of them and many breakfast cereals are fortified with these vitamins.
The minerals zinc, selenium, iron and copper all help your child’s immune system. Besides meat and fish being good sources, other foods to include in the diet are wholegrains, beans, lentils, seeds and nuts.
Make sure your children wash their hands often, with soap. You should pay particular attention to their hygiene before and after each meal and after playing outside, handling pets, blowing their nose, using the toilet, and arriving home from school.
Make sure that your child gets plenty of good quality sleep. Remove televisions, computers and mobile phones from the bedroom, and encourage a good period of winding-down before lights out to help ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep.