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Pinay Pediatrician Shares The Food Your Child Needs To Eat To Fight Viruses And Infections
  • With the current discussions on the resumption of classes come August 24, 2020, it becomes more crucial to strengthen our children’s best defense against COVID-19: Their immune system. There is still no vaccine for the virus and no specific drug that has been proven to cure the disease.

    “Theories have come out that maybe 80% of us will be exposed to the virus one way or another. Because the virus cannot reproduce by itself (the virus needs a host), what we want to do is to be a host that will be unkind to them [so] that we will not be able to reproduce the virus in our bodies,” shares Dr. Jamie Isip-Cumpas, a pediatrician and international certified breastfeeding and lactation counselor, in the Lunch Lockdown, a series of online webinars by WholeHealth Integrated Health Services (facebook.com/wholehealthph).

    Vitamins for kids to boost the immune system

    One of the ways to combat COVID-19 and prevent serious complications is to make sure our children are getting the right vitamins and minerals that will boost their immune health. In the webinar, Dr. Isip-Cumpas lists the important nutrients that our children need:

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    Vitamin D

    Vitamin D isn’t just for newborns — children, as well as adults, also need their daily intake of sunlight. Dr. Isip-Cumpas recommends going outside before 9:00 a.m. and spending at least 30 minutes to an hour (the longer the better) under the sun.

    You can also get vitamin D from various food sources including salmon, sardines, fatty fish, eggs, mushrooms, milk, and other dairy products that have been fortified with vitamin D.


    Vitamin A

    This vitamin is a very good antioxidant and promotes cellular defense and repair mechanisms in the body. It is easily found in food like sweet potato, carrots, liver, squash, red and yellow bell peppers, kale, spinach, broccoli, melon, and mangoes.


    Another antioxidant that can be found in various food sources like pumpkin seeds, beans, chickpeas, sesame seeds, lentils, cashew, and spinach. According to research, Zinc helps both in the prevention of COVID-19 and reduces the severity and duration of the disease should you ever get it.

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    In another webinar facilitated by Stratum Health Partners, Dr. Candy Drilon-Dalman, a functional and integrative medicine physician shares that quercetin has anti-viral effects against both RNA (e.g. influenza and coronavirus) and DNA (e.g. herpes) viruses. It’s also important in stopping viral replication, says Dr. Isip-Cumpas. It is commonly found in onions, red apples (eat with the skin on!), red grapes, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, okra, wansoy, and tomatoes.


    This is what neutralizes free radicals — compounds found in our body that can lead to cell damage if the amount is too high in our system. This can also lead to chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.

    To ensure that your child gets a lot of antioxidants, offer a rainbow of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet, advises Dr. Isip-Cumpas. For picky eaters, she shares a nifty food hack: Make a color chart and let your child fill it out with the kinds of fruits and vegetables that she can eat that contains the colors. For example, red for apples, orange for squash, kangkong for green, mushroom for brown, etc.

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    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C supports various cellular functions of our immune system. It is found in food like guava, bell peppers, oranges, broccoli, papaya, cabbage, and calamansi.

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    This healthy fatty acid plays a crucial role in brain health and function. It also improves immunity! Since our bodies cannot produce omega-3, it’s important to consume it from food like avocado, salmon, sardines, anchovies, seaweed, chia seeds, flaxseed.


    Probiotics are essential for developing a strong immune system in kids and boosting good gut bacteria. It can be found in fermented food like miso, kimchi, atsara, kefir, and yogurt.

    To know whether your child is getting the proper amount of “good bacteria,” it’s best to consult a doctor. “Probiotics are like tourists — they stay in the tummy for two weeks [and] they have a good, positive effect on the tummy and the body and then they go away,” says Dr. Raymond Joseph Escalona, a functional medicine specialist from WholeHealth.

    Most doctors, Dr. Isip-Cumpas included, will recommend that kids get the nutrients they need from food. Supplements may be introduced to children, but only if there is deficiency and as approved by their doctors. “When it comes to supplements, we want to individualize or personalize each child or case,” Dr. Isip-Cumpas says.

    Have you gotten your flu vaccine? It can help protect you and your child from COVID-19 complications. Click here to know more.

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