“How can I boost my child’s immune system?”
It’s back-to-school season, which means it’s time to prepare for cold and flu season. Here are our top tips for naturally boosting your kid’s immunity.
Build stronger immunity by ensuring enough sleep
Sleep is key for a healthy immune system. Studies show sleep and the circadian rhythm work with the body’s other systems to regulate immunological processes. On the other hand, sleep deprivation causes chronic inflammation that has a negative effect on the immune system.
When your child is asleep, their immune system releases cytokine proteins, some of which are necessary for the body’s response to infection or inflammation. Without enough sleep, the body may not produce enough of these cytokines, weakening your child’s immune response.
Give your kid immunity-boosting nutrients
Sleep and nutrition show up on almost every “how to stay healthy” list because they really are that important.
Research indicates a standard American diet (high in processed sugars and red meat and low in nutrient-dense vegetables and fruit) promotes digestive system issues which cause inflammation and correspond with lower immunity.
So what foods can help improve immunity for kids? Try to provide meals and snacks containing the following vitamins, minerals, and nutrients:
Vitamin C is needed for immune system cells to do their jobs well. Not having enough can increase susceptibility to certain pathogens. Vitamin C is easy to add to your kid’s diet in the form of fruits — guava, kiwi, citrus, berries, and melons, especially.
Vitamin D plays an important role in both types of immune response (innate and adaptive). We know vitamin D as the nutrient we get from the sun, but it’s also found in foods like salmon, eggs, and mushrooms.
Our bodies don’t make zinc but need it for immune function and cell integrity. Supplements like these immune support gummies with zinc are a great way to make sure your child has the zinc they need.
These are the friendly bacteria that live in the gut, protecting us from harmful bacteria and aiding immune system function. You can find them in yogurt and fermented foods, or take them in the form of supplements.
- Prebiotics are food for probiotics! These mostly come from high-fiber foods like greens and grains, but you can also get them in the form of fun, kid-friendly drink mixes, and chewables.
Reduce stress to support a healthy immune system
It can be hard for adults to realize, but children can deal with stress, too. They can pick up on the stress of their parents, and develop anxieties of their own, especially in uncertain times. Besides for interfering with sleep, psychological stress may also contribute to an imbalance in the immune response.
For children who may be dealing with stress, ensure they have a safe outlet to talk about their feelings. Prioritizing calm, quality time together, reliable routines, and imaginative play can help some kids feel calmer and more at ease.
Make movement part of the routine
Physical activity is associated with improved defense against inflammatory diseases, so keep playtime going even when the summer ends! Whether your child is enrolled in sports or regularly enjoys neighborhood walks with the family, as long as you keep them moving, you’ll help keep their immune system strong.
You can browse the Sona blog for more tips on how to support your immune system, as well as more on the nutrients and supplements listed above.
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