The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population has officially announced the beginning of the fourth wave of COVID-19, as well as the detection of the first case of Delta strain in July. This new information has left parents worried, especially that schools will be back in less than a month. It is also common for mothers to enroll their children in nurseries in September.
Immunity boosting is essential especially that children can’t get vaccinated and it is hard to guarantee social distancing and committing to precautions. That’s why you have to focus on boosting your toddler’s immunity. Here is a list of the top five immunity boosters for toddlers and their sources.
Zinc comes on top of the immunity boosters for your child. It helps the immune system fight bacteria and viruses, helps the body make proteins, and helps heal wounds. Protein-based foods like red meat and poultry are primary sources of zinc. It can also be found in fortified cereals, whole grains (whole wheat, rice, oats), and dairy products.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a toddler between the ages of one and three should take three to seven milligrams of zinc a day. Lack of zinc affects your child’s immunity, yet too much zinc isn’t recommended either, as it might cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that can be found in the intestinal tract. Their main role is supporting digestive health and immunity. Boosting helpful bacteria in the body can destroy harmful bacteria and reduce infection and that is the role of prebiotics. Prebiotics are supplements or non-digestible food ingredients that cannot be normally digested by the gut and that promote probiotic bacterial growth.
That’s why probiotics and prebiotics should be consumed together for a significant impact on your child’s immunity. One of the top sources of probiotics is yogurt. You can find prebiotics in garlic, onion, banana, apple, and cocoa.
Vitamin C has endless benefits but its main importance is the prevention and treatment of respiratory infections and shortening the duration of common colds. A pilot study showed how the combination of vitamin C and probiotics prevented upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) in preschool children. Children who took supplements suffered from URTI symptoms for fewer days.
Vitamin C doesn’t stay in the body for long, so it needs to be consumed at regular intervals throughout the day and to increase the child’s intake when they are ill. You have to get back to your pediatrician to set the suitable type and dose for your child.
We all know that your child’s diet should include vegetables and fruits. However, we must focus on ones rich in antioxidants as they prevent the formation of free radicals, reduce the risk of cell damage, and keep the immune system healthy. You can find antioxidants in dark leafy green vegetables, beetroots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, strawberries, and pomegranates.
Iron deficiency is common in children and it doesn’t only cause anemia, it also affects the immunity system. Toddlers who don’t get enough iron on a regular basis can suffer from a reduced immune function and are more vulnerable to infections. Iron-rich foods are red meat, liver, spinach, and fortified milk.
We know that making sure a child gets the needed nutrients in his/her diet is a real challenge for mothers, especially with picky eaters. You can always serve your children useful foods hidden in recipes that they already love as in the video above.
- Coronavirus Food Menu: Healthy Recipes and Meals for COVID-19 Patients
- Foods and Vitamins to Boost your Immune System Against Coronavirus
- Tips For Toddlers’ Food Strikes
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Sources used in this article:
- Zinc – National Institutes of Health
- How to Boost Your Kid’s Immunity Heading Into the New School Year – Cleveland Clinic
- Essential Supplements to Boost Your Child’s Immune System – Temecula Center for Integrative Medicine
- Children May Benefit From Probiotics, Prebiotics – WebMD