Boosting immunity

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Boosting immunity

The immunity one develops during childhood determines the body’s resistance throughout life. Dr Jayashree Keshav suggests ways to strengthen your child’s immune system.

With children falling sick quite often, a child’s immunity is of prime importance to parents. Our immune system protects us from infections caused by bacteria and viruses with the help of antibodies, which fight fiercely to counter these infections. However, in the case of low immunity, bacteria and viruses multiply and cause illnesses, like the common cold and fever.

Parents can take several measures to boost immunity in their children. It is true that a healthy diet is indispensable for eveloping and improving immunity in children. In addition to providing a nutritious diet, you could follow these three easy steps to boost immunity in your child:

Balance: Your child’s meal should have a healthy balance of different kinds of food groups, including fruits, vegetables, cereal, grain, dairy products and meat.

Variety: It is important to consume a variety of food within each group.

Moderation: Food must be eaten in healthy portions only.

There are somethings you could do to increase immunity.

Eat foods rich in Vitamins C, A and E: Make sure your child is eating foods rich in these important vitamins, which are particularly beneficial for boosting immunity. Oranges, grapes and pineapples are rich in Vitamin C. Foods such as egg, milk and fortified cereal contain Vitamin A, and apple, apricot, pumpkin, chicken and vegetable oil are sources of Vitamin E.
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Drink plenty of water: Drinking fluids regularly is essential for your child’s
immunity. Make sure your child drinks plenty of water or fluids, especially in the summer.

Encourage hand hygiene: It is important to ensure that your children develop the habit of washing their hands throughout the day, especially before eating and after using the washroom. Using hand sanitizers can effectively help prevent hand-transmitted infections.

Ensure a good night’s sleep: Your child must get enough sleep to maintain a healthy immune system.

Encourage regular physical activity: Your child must get plenty of fresh air through regular exercise and outdoor games to help develop and maintain
immunity.

Also, there are certain things that should be discouraged.

Avoid sharing cups and utensils: Teach your children to avoid sharing cups, plates and glasses with others to prevent the transmission of germs.

Avoid street food: Our stomach is ill-equipped to deal with the bacteria often found in foods prepared in an unhygienic manner. If your child would like to sample street food, look for a food stall that prepares and serves food in a hygienic way.

The immunity an individual develops during childhood goes a long way in
determining the body’s resistance throughout life. Therefore, as parents, ensure that your child develops healthy habits to build immunity and promote good health.

(The author is in-charge of scientific publications, The Himalaya Drug Company)

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