6 Ways to boost kids' immune system
We've all been re-trained to sneeze into our elbow and instructed on staying home when we're sick, but what can we do for our kids to prevent them from getting sick to begin with? A healthy immune system is your child's best defense against germs this season, and maintaining a fit one will help keep germs away.
Follow these expert tips to keep your family healthy this flu season.
Fight the flu with food
Watching what your children eat and drink and being aware of what you put on the table is essential in building up defenses in the body that protect us from infections.
Manager of Clinical Dietetics at the Children's Medical Center of Dayton, Rachel Riddiford, MS, RD, LD, says eating five fruits and vegetables a day provides vitamins C, E, and A and the phytochemicals essentials to a healthy immune system. Riddiford adds, "Eat yogurt with active cultures (probiotics) once a day. These foods build defenses against flu and the common cold."
Choose eggs, nuts, meat and fish to eat, as Riddiford points out, "These foods provide immune enhancing vitamins B6, B12, zinc and selenium." Other foods that Riddiford recommends include: milk for vitamins A and D, whole and enriched or fortified grains for vitamins B6, A, folic acid (folate) selenium, iron and zinc. "Think cereal, bread and rice to keep the flu bug away."
Dr. Eric Plasker, a health and wellness expert, and author of The 100 Year Lifestyle suggests fortifying your diet with super foods like salmon, blueberries and almonds. "Food that contain omega 3's and antioxidants prime your body to fight colds."
Plasker also says to avoid too much sugar and soda. Avoiding high fructose foods and sugary snacks weaken the immune system and are linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
For more tips, read Top 3 immune building recipes to ward of the colds and flu.