Daily Dose Of Right Nutrition To Build Immunity In Indian Kids
Every parent wants to see their child stay healthy and fight off infections. But children with their developing immunity are prone to infections and often end up with frequent bouts of cough and cold (especially during seasonal changes).
As a parent, how I often wish I could create a protective shield around my kids. If only that was possible! However, one thing I do know that can help them stay healthy and strengthen their immunity is adequate nutrition.
It is believed that ‘what we eat has a clear impact on our immunity‘. Since a child’s immune system is continually adapting, changing and strengthening in response to external factors, the food they eat helps strengthen their natural defense so they can fight off illnesses effectively.
Research shows a balanced diet with lots of different kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables facilitates a body’s natural ability to fight off diseases. Also, most of our immune cells are located in our digestive system. So a balanced diet can fuel the immune system by providing it all the necessary nutrients that can improve its functioning.
So what are the essential nutrients that a child needs daily?
Here is a quick list of daily dose of nutrients required for building immunity in Indian kids.
They help break down food into energy. They build body cells and are required for repair and growth. Common food rich in proteins are eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, dal, etc.
These help a child’s body to use protein and fat for building and repairing tissue. They are the most important source of energy to keep them active. Carbohydrates come in different form – sugar, starch and fiber. Kids should be eating more of starch and fiber (less sugar). Foods containing good level of carbohydrates are – cereals, pasta, crackers, rice, etc.
They are a great source of energy for kids and help the body to properly use some of the other nutrients it needs. Foods that contain high levels of good fats are – meat, fish, cooking oil, nuts etc.
Minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, and potassium are very important for body functions. They are required for healthy teeth, bones and muscles. In kids, a significant development of bones and muscles happens till the age of 10. Food rich in minerals are – leafy vegetables, seeds, whole grains, milk, yogurt, etc.
Fiber helps in bowel regularity and maintains good intestinal function. Foods rich in fibre are – lentils, chickpeas, seeds, salad, whole-grain cereals, etc.
Vitamins aid growth at many levels. Various vitamins play different roles like Vitamin A assists eye function, Vitamin C strengthens the walls of blood vessels, etc.
A balanced diet is the presence of all these key nutrients in the right proportions.
For my kids, I ensure that I fill their plate with foods that are rich in these nutrients. However, they are fussy eaters and often end up eating only half of the stuff I offer. My son doesn’t like veggies and dairy products; and my daughter gives me a tough time when it comes to eating pulses and cereals. So, I also add nutrition-based supplements in their everyday meals which somewhere assures me that their daily nutritional needs are met.
I rely on PediaSure which is a health supplement meant for children 2 years and above. It is fortified with 37 vital nutrients (both macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins & fats, and micronutrients like vitamins & minerals) that support immunity and overall growth and development. It also has neuronutrients to help support kids’ brain development.
I now worry less regarding my kids’ immunity because every nutrient that may be lacking in their diet is compensated with their daily glass of PediaSure. And, they totally relish the taste of their ‘chocolate milk’ (as they like to call it)!
One of the most important factors that influence growth and immunity is adequate nutrition. So, if you too are worried about your child’s immunity, I would suggest that you focus on his/her daily dose of right nutrition and ensure balanced meals. You can also consult your doctor and add a dose of PediaSure to his diet. You will surely find it to be effective.