OPINION: Pack kids' diets with germ-repelling good stuff
DOES it seem like every week your child comes home with a running nose, sore throat, tummy bug or cough?
These immunity boosting foods can help!
Young children are susceptible to all sorts of germs. Because their bodies are so new they haven't been able to build up immunity to common bugs the way adults have.
Furthermore, if your child is around other kids often, whether at playgroups, school or daycare, then they are sharing their toys, food and germs with the other kids as well.
The good thing about having your child constantly sick during the first years of his life is that it will boost his immunity and prepare him for school.
However, there are other ways you can boost his immunity without having to watch him suffer week after week and without restricting his outings.
A few simple changes in diet can improve your child's immunity and keep those sicknesses at bay.
Zinc: Zinc is a common infection fighter but it is also something that many people do not get enough of. To ensure that your kids are getting their share of zinc-fuelled foods, make sure you serve up plenty of fish and lean red meat. If your children are against both of these, try tuna sandwiches for lunch or crumb your steak or fish into little fingers or nuggets.
Probiotics: The best place to find good bacteria, perfect for fighting infection is in yoghurt. Probiotics will help to maintain the balance of organisms in your digestive system. Many people do not realise that a lot of the immune system is actually located in the digestive area and thus taking good care of your digestive system means less tummy bugs down the road. If your child is dead set against yoghurt, then try to mix it with fruit and milk in a smoothie or freeze it into icy pops.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is not only good for fighting colds but will also improve the health of the membranes such as the nasal membranes. It can help block out unwanted bugs and diseases from getting into the system. Choose veggies in the red and green variety. Think carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin as well as spinach and broccoli. Having trouble getting your kids to eat their veggies? Mash them up into homemade soups or grate the ingredients and add them to casseroles and sauces.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is another important one to include in your children's daily diet. Having an orange a day or a small glass of orange juice is all it takes. What Vitamin C can do is improve the condition of white blood cells and help them to break down bacteria and kill them off. Vitamin C is also good for iron absorption, which is another dietary staple.
Iron: Iron is responsible for keeping our energy levels up and our sickness levels down. Even children that appear to have endless amounts of energy still require a certain amount of iron. Lean red meat is an excellent way to pack in the iron. Beans, like kidney beans and lentils are also excellent sources of iron and easy to hide in dinners such as spaghetti sauce, shepherd's pie and lasagne. You can also give your kids dried apricots as a snack which almost taste too good to be good for them.
There are several other 'super foods' to incorporate into your family's diet to help keep everyone healthy including blueberries, kiwi fruit, olive oil, spinach, avocado, whole grains, nuts, garlic, broccoli and tomatoes.
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