Here's Why Boosting Your Child's Immune System Is Important
A strong immune system provides a child with powerful natural defences against infections. Conversely, a child with a weakened immune system is vulnerable or more susceptible to colds, flu, and more serious illnesses.
Role Of Immune System
Apart from fighting viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, the immune system also helps the body in tissue repair, wound healing, elimination of dead and cancerous cells.1 Another major role played by the immune system is that it helps the elimination of toxic or allergenic substances that may enter the body through mucosal surfaces.2
How Immune System Gets Affected by Diet And Environment
Metabolism of nutrients affects immune system through hormonal signalling. The immune cells also directly sense the nutrient changes and respond accordingly.3
Nutrients, including essential Amino acids, essential Fatty acids, Vitamin A, Folic acid, Vitamin B6, B12, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, Zinc, Copper, Iron and Selenium have been demonstrated to be required for proper immune system function. Deficiency of any one or more nutrient may affect overall immunity.4
Human interactions with the surrounding environment influence the microbial colonization of our bodies. These interactions may range from physical interaction with other humans, interacting with the outdoor environment, and consuming food and water etc. All these interactions lead to the development of a unique microbiota in every person.5 The microbiota plays a key role in the induction, training and function of human immune system.6
How To Help Kids Build A Better Immune System
Immune systems in kids are still developing and some steps can help us boost their immune system to ensure they are protected against diseases and grow well.
Feed Them a Balanced Diet With Proper Nutrients
Nutrition plays a very important role in immune responses and malnutrition is considered the leading cause of immune-deficiency worldwide. A proper balanced diet with all required nutrients such as Vitamins, essential Amino acids etc. is extremely important for maintaining the immune system.7
Put Them to Bed on Time
Sleep is a restorative process that plays a critical role in the proper functioning of the immune system. Lack of proper sleep may lead to weakening of immune system as well as increased susceptibility to infection and thus it is important to ensure kids are well rested and get proper sleep.8
Encourage Safe Sun Exposure
It has been proved that Vitamin D modulates the innate as well as adaptive immune responses. Deficiency of Vitamin D is associated with increased susceptibility to infection.9 Thus, encouraging kids to play in the sun while avoiding over-exposure is important for boosting the immune system as that helps in the natural production of Vitamin D.
It has been shown that certain components of the immune system including the natural killer cell activity can be improved by some probiotic bacteria.10 Thus, incorporating the same in kids’ diets can be beneficial.
So, make sure you keep these points in mind to ensure your child’s healthy growth. By closely monitoring diet, encouraging outdoor activities and providing proper rest you can help build and maintain his/her immunity.