This weeks blog post comes to us from Krista Harper. A mother a two who understands the struggle to keep our little ones healthy. Take a look at her helpful tips on boosting your child's immune system.
Once your kids head off to school they face an uphill battle when it comes to fighting off disease. From toddler to middle-school a child’s immune system seems to be working overtime as it is introduced to new kids (and viruses) at the playground, preschool, kindergarten, and a lot of activities. While these activities keep your child socially and physically healthy, their immune systems may have something else to say. This is why it is up to you to help boost their immune systems and keep them awake and functioning throughout the day.
Here are 3 ways to boost your child’s immune system.
Replace sugar with fruit
One of the best ways to boost your child’s immune system is by introducing a healthy array of fruits and vegetables. These foods contain ample amounts of phytonutrients which help to improve the immune system. The most commonly know phytonutrient is Vitamin C which is widely known to help strengthen the immune system, repair body tissue, and maintain bones and cartilage, among many other things.
Candy and sweets are often a child’s best friend when it comes to food, but fruit is just as effective in taking care of that sweet tooth and much healthier. The important thing is to reduce the candy in your house and keep a variety of fruits available. One thing to keep in mind is that acidic fruits such as oranges can affect bedtime, so try to keep a mix of non-acidic fruits such as bananas and apples available for pre-bed snacks.
Focus on bedtime
With the introduction of smart phones and tablets, getting enough rest at night has become even more difficult for kids. The typical child should get around 11-12 hours of sleep each day with at least nine-ten hours occurring at night. However, each year children are sleeping fewer hours per night.
Sleep is the body’s time to repair damage and regulate hormones and brain function. While your child sleeps their immune system uses proteins called cytokines which aid in sleep as well as help to fight infection and inflammation. If your child is sleep deprived, they will produce fewer cytokines, antibodies and cells which fight off infection.
In addition, a lack of sleep can be attributed to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease all of which can inhibit your child’s immune system from working optimally.
Make sure they wash their hands
For some reason around four or five-years-old your child may go from the diligent hand washer to flat out refusal. This is the time when it is important to stand your ground for the sake of your child’s immune system. While washing hands may not directly bolster the immune system, what it does is help the body reduce the overload of germs and bacteria your child comes in contact with every day – and there is a lot.
Washing hands will help to reduce the number of germs, but that doesn’t mean it will reduce or kill off all the germs on your child’s hands and that is actually a good thing. Your child’s body requires some bacteria so that it can build up an immunity. While too much can be overwhelming, a small amount will strengthen their immune system.
Your child’s body is sensitive to bacteria, germs, and disease so it is important that as their social circle grows their immune system improves. Simple actions such as eating healthy, getting quality sleep, and limiting germs will boost your child’s immune system.