Strengthening Your Toddler’s Immune System
When looking out for our young children’s well-being, we usually take measures to protect them from outside bacteria, but what we should not overlook is the essential nourishment that bolsters their natural defense system.
During the infancy of a child, their immune system develops, making them increasingly resistant to the germs and viruses which they encounter in the world. Usually, during the winter months, toddlers experience up to eight colds. This figure can climb when they begin to attend daycare or preschool.
Parents are generally wary of the germs which exist in their environment and will take measures to protect their young from them. Yet, a proper nutrition regime is also key in reinforcing a toddler’s natural defenses, helping them to stay in peak condition. If your little one suffers from frequent ailments, their normal routines can be disrupted, so it is vital that their bodies can recover adequately when they rest.
Why is nutrition important for immunity?
Good nutrition plays an integral role in keeping our immune systems healthy. Skin, the digestive tract, and mucus act as our body’s first line of defense by creating a barrier to keep out any foreign pathogens. Furthermore, cells that have the capacity to attack and destroy germs, or create antibodies to fight them off, are triggered when nutrition is optimal.
Without adequate nutrition, children are left more vulnerable to infections and illnesses. As a result, their intake of food may decrease, leading to malnutrition and depriving them of the power of certain immuno-nutrients which work to protect their bodies from infection.
Several vitamins and minerals are instrumental in enhancing your child’s immune system functioning. Here are certain vitamins and minerals that play an important role in improving the immune functions in your child’s body.
- Nutrients important for your toddler’s 1st line of defense:
- Vitamin A, C, E, Zinc
- Nutrients important for immune cells:
- Vitamin A, C, D, B6, B12, E, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Folic Acid
- Nutrients important for producing antibodies:
- Vitamin A, D, B6, B12, E, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Folic Acid
Here are a few strategies that can assist your toddler in attaining the essential immune-strengthening nutrients:
- Ensure your toddler’s diet is both nutritious and well-rounded by providing a selection of foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, and essential fats and oils sourced from fish, tuna, eggs, and seeds.
- Vitamins are a necessary part of a balanced diet, and Vitamin C is especially important in supporting your child’s immunity. Green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, kiwis, and strawberries are all excellent sources of Vitamin C.
- It is recommended that you provide your child with meals high in iron, including beef, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
- Feed your child a diet rich in Vitamin B6, as it promotes the strengthening of her immune system. Whole grain cereals, legumes, green and leafy vegetables, fish and shellfish, meat, nuts, and liver are all excellent sources of this essential nutrient.
Exposure to bacteria and viruses in early infancy is crucial in fortifying a child’s immune system for subsequent illnesses. From birth, a child’s immune system is strengthened through being exposed to various types of bacteria and viruses, thus better preparing them to combat future sicknesses.