When we think of ways to help boost the immune system, medical solutions — such as getting the flu shot and taking vitamins — are the first things that come to mind. We also think of good hygiene practices such as handwashing that, when done correctly, helps prevent the spread of infections.
But did you know that one of the most convenient ways to help strengthen the immunity of the entire family is a diet filled with foods rich in immunity-boosting nutrients? These include vitamins C, D, and E, zinc, beta carotene, and protein, among others, that are naturally present in different foods.
During your next grocery run, fill your carts with these nutritious food items:
1. Citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables
We know that citrus fruits like orange, kiwi, lemon, and grapefruit are packed with vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, an antioxidant that helps control infections and heal wounds, stimulates the production of white blood cells, and shortens the duration of the common cold.
Vitamin C can also be found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Try mixing them in ulam or simple salads for your children.
2. Nuts and seeds
Instead of reaching for chips and sweets, let your kids snack on nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, macadamias, and sunflower seeds. These nutrient-rich foods are packed with protein, fiber, and more, and provide cardiovascular and metabolic benefits such as reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, and may even help in weight loss.
3. Eggs, poultry, and seafood
Protein makes up our muscles, bones, skin, and hair, as well as the enzymes that power many chemical reactions in the body. Poultry like chicken, turkey, and duck; seafood like fish, crustaceans (shrimp and crab), and shellfish (squid and mussels); and eggs are said to be healthier sources of protein. They’re perfect for making meaty, savory ulam and filling sandwiches.
4. Legumes and tofu
If you’re looking for non-meat options that are also packed with protein, you may serve your kids' legumes such as beans and peas, soy products like tofu, and whole grains like wheat and rice. You can easily use these protein-rich foods as ingredients for savory dishes or even filling sandwiches.
5. Peanut butter, avocado, and plant-based oils like sunflower and soybean oils
These are just some of the many food sources packed with vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals, prevents clot formation in heart arteries, and enhances immunity. You can make sweet sandwiches using peanut butter and avocado, and cook your dishes using these oils.
6. Spinach, pumpkin, red bell pepper, asparagus, and mango
These vegetables are also rich in vitamin E and can be turned into yummy ulam along with some lean meat. Polish off your meal with some mangoes, whether freshly sliced or made into juice or fruit shake.
7. Dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and milk
It’s a well-known fact that dairy products contain calcium, which primarily helps build strong bones and teeth with exercise and vitamin D intake. Calcium also plays a role in blood clotting, regulation of the heart’s rhythm, and nerve impulse transmission.
Let your kids snack on plain, low-fat yogurt or cheeses like mozzarella, ricotta, Swiss, and cheddar (as is or as a sandwich!). You may also opt to combine them with other calcium-rich foods such as collard greens like kale and spinach, or pink salmon to make full, well-balanced meals.
Lastly, don’t forget to let them drink at least one glass of milk per day. If possible, try to look for milk that contains human milk oligosaccharides (2’-FL HMO) and nucleotides that support your child's immune system.
Similac GainSchool believes in the power of nutrition. To help mothers out, they launched kiDMMUNITY, a community of parents and experts devoted to boosting the immunity of children through tips, conversations with healthcare experts, and other channels to empower parents to strengthen their kids’ immunity so they can continue to learn and grow.
Help your little one grow strong and healthy. Similac GainSchool's immune-nourishing formula with 2’-FL HMO and Nucleotides, along with balanced nutrition, helps support your child's immunity with dual-layer protection.
Similac GainSchool gives your child dual-layer protection: 2’-FL HMO helps reduce gastrointestinal intolerance and respiratory infections, while Nucleotides add a second layer of defense, helping your child reduce instances of diarrhea.
Learn more about Similac GainSchool and get helpful parenting tips when you join KidMMUNITY. For more information and free nutrition counseling, you may reach out to Alagang Abbott's Nutri-Connect. Book an appointment by sending a message to Alagang Abbott on Facebook.
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