7 Ways to Boost Immunity in Children

All research in the medical world has revealed that the immune system is important for protection from all diseases, especially cancer, for many years. Especially in the recent Covid-19 pandemic, it is frequently emphasized by experts that the most important factor for both protection from the virus and milder illness is the strong immune system. Pointing out that when the immune system is weakened, our body becomes open to all viruses, bacteria and fungi. Acıbadem Kocaeli Hospital Nutrition and Diet Specialist Saime Selin Cengizcollects what needs to be done in order to create a strong “defense shield” for children under 7 headings.

Defining the immune system as “a complex system that forms the defense mechanism against diseases in a living thing, recognizes and destroys pathogens and tumor cells, and protects the body from foreign and harmful substances”, Dyt. Saime Selin Cengiz said, “The immune system, which is a defense shield that protects the body against diseases, becomes active with birth. Weak immune system can invite diseases in children as well as adults.

Pointing out that the most important rule of strengthening immunity and being resistant to infections is nutrition, Dyt. Saime Selin Cengiz said, “Babies are born with this defense mechanism with the factors they get from the mother and breast milk. But over time, irregular diet, toxins in our environment, and lack of sleep cause this defense system to weaken. When the immune system, which protects our body against microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, is weakened, it becomes unprotected against infections. Malnutrition, sugar, smoking (including passive smoking), environmental and air pollution cause this system to weaken.

  1. 1. Sleep is the key to strong immunity

Noting that uninterrupted night sleep is as important as nutrition for the healthy development of children, Dyt said. Saime Selin Cengiz continued as follows:

“During sleep, especially in the dark, the hormone melatonin is secreted. The secretion of this hormone has an important role in strengthening the immune system and also makes the pituitary gland secrete more growth hormone. During sleep, the child’s non-working muscles are also working and energy stores are renewed. While children sleep, their brains work and develop. While awake, it organizes the information learned in the game during sleep and saves it in the brain. Thus, the connections between neurons in the brain are formed and strengthened.”

  1. 2. Make sure they get their daily vitamin D

Vitamin D supports the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency is common in children during the winter season. For this reason, it may be necessary to start daily vitamin D supplementation in children starting from the autumn months. It is beneficial for all babies under the age of one to supplement with vitamin D throughout the year. However, it is necessary to use vitamin D in consultation with a specialist. Otherwise, excess vitamin D also brings some health risks.

3. Don’t skip breakfast

Dyt Saime Selin Cengiz pointed out that starting the day with breakfast is important in terms of balanced and quality nutrition as well as increasing mental performance. to make full meals and most importantly not to skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast is not enough, no matter how strong and healthy we make the next meals. As well as not providing enough saturation, many nutrients may be missing.

4. Don’t Neglect Omega-3

Especially fish; Nuts such as walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts should be consumed regularly. The omega-3 content of these foods plays a very important role in protecting our immunity, preventing further progression of infections and supporting children’s brain development.

5. Increase the consumption of vegetables and fruits

Vegetables are essential nutrients for the immune system in terms of their rich vitamin C and antioxidant content. Raw vegetables should be consumed to get the best use of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Vegetables such as red cabbage, onions, carrots and radishes can be added to salads in terms of vitamins A and C. If he doesn’t like vegetables, you can offer vegetables to your child in different ways as a plate decoration method. Antioxidant and vitamin-rich fruits can also be a snack. Different colored fruits provide more diverse vitamin, mineral and antioxidant intake.

6. Make sure he washes his hands regularly and often

Hand hygiene is an important factor in strengthening the immune system in children. Regular and frequent washing of hands plays an important role in preventing many infectious diseases. For this reason, it is necessary to explain the importance of washing hands to children, especially during the day and when they come from school.

7. Propolis strengthens immunity

Explaining that propolis, a natural bee product with very strong antioxidant and antimicrobial effects, collected by bees from the leaves, stems and buds of plants, helps the body fight diseases by destroying viruses and bacteria. Saime Selin Cengiz concluded her words as follows:

“Children often get sick because of the germs they are exposed to in crowded environments such as kindergartens and schools. When propolis is consumed regularly, it helps to reduce the frequency of illness by strengthening immunity. As a result, the use of antibiotics is also reduced. In addition, scientific studies show that propolis has a field of use in respiratory system disorders, mouth wounds, aphthae, herpes, gastrointestinal disorders and has an effect against cancer.

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