There’s a good chance you are reading this while sneaking glances out of a window, the breeze is cool and calming, and there are some drizzles and downpours, as your kids play indoors. The monsoon season can be calming and relaxing but on the flip side, with this comfort comes the package deal of seasonal and viral infections, more so for children.
While rainfall is unpredictable and its intensity can change in the blink of an eye, fluctuations in your child’s immunity levels can be controlled through the right nutrition. Dr. Ganesh Kadhe, Director, of Medical and Scientific Affairs, Abbott’s Nutrition business shares three tips to help support your child's health and immunity during the upcoming flu season:
1. Prioritize Immunity Over Everything
A robust immune system is the first step towards preventing the flu. A diet rich in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein offers immune-rich ingredients which provide the building blocks the body needs for vigorous defenses. Setting a regular bedtime is especially important because lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, making children more susceptible to illnesses like the cold and flu.
Vitamin A rich foods can aid proper immune system function[i]. Some excellent sources of vitamin A include everyday diet. Some food sources rich in vitamin A include orange and red vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and red peppers, as well as fruits like cantaloupe, apricots, and mangoes. Certain types of fish and dairy products also contain vitamin A.
Vitamin C is well-known as an immune system booster[ii]. Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits, along with strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes, and various vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and kale, are abundant sources of this vital nutrient
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that supports a strong immune system[iii]. Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts, along with their butters and oils, as well as sunflower seeds, wheat germ, and fortified foods like breakfast cereals and fruit juices, are excellent sources of vitamin E
If you find it challenging to get enough fruits and vegetables in your child’s meals to ensure they meet their nutrition requirements, try adding PediaSure to their glass of milk as it will not only elevate the taste but also increase the nutritional value of that glass of milk. It is a complete and balanced nutrition solution with 37 nutrients, scientifically tested to help improve children’s immunity.
Physical activity offers numerous benefits for children, including improved immune health[iv], better sleep[v], and enhanced learning[vi]. Engage your child in online exercise classes or arrange playdates with their peers to promote movement and active play.
Destress and try new activities:
Stress can weaken the immune system[vii]. Help your child unwind by curling up with a story, listening to a podcast or trying activities together like cooking. Engaging in culinary activities with your children not only strengthens your bond but also enhances their nutritional intake. Encourage your little ones to create their own snacks to support their immune system, such as combining vitamin C-rich strawberries with yoghurt or spreading vitamin E-packed peanut butter on crackers. For older children, you can involve them in preparing high-protein scrambled eggs or French toast for a family breakfast or ask for their assistance in making a salad or their favourite vegetable side dish during dinner time.
With the arrival of the monsoon season, you can take proactive steps to support your child's immune health. By prioritizing a nutrient-rich diet, encouraging regular exercise, and reducing stress through enjoyable activities, you can help strengthen their immunity and protect them during this time of increased vulnerability. Embrace these tips and create a healthy environment that bolsters their overall well-being and resilience against flu and other common illnesses.