Keep Your Kids Immune Strong
Health Notes from Dr. Liz
February 20, 2011
What parent hasn’t struggled with his/her child being “sick again” and missing another day of school? Every year, children suffer from more colds than adults and have a myriad of other illnesses, from the flu to skin infections, that make for numerous trips to the physician’s office.
You can enhance your child’s ability to ward of colds, the flu and more by including immune-boosting foods along with some lifestyle changes. Here are the top four must-do’s to boost your child’s immune health:
- Quality proteins sources: Lean meats, chicken, fish, dairy and soy foods supply a child’s body with key ingredients to build the immune system. Include these foods at every meal; depending upon age, 1 to 3 ounces.
- Probiotic foods: Yogurt, kefir, some breakfast cereals and cheeses contain live healthy bacteria. These friendly bacteria keep the intestine healthy, which means your child’s immune system stays strong. Include one serving daily.
- Zinc-rich foods: This mineral plays a key role in immune health. Lean meats, oysters, clams, whole grains, beans and wheat germ, along with fortified breakfast cereals, are standout zinc sources. Make sure to include these foods regularly.
- Sound sleep: Children need at least 8 to 10 hours of sound sleep nightly to restore strong immune function. Additionally, lack of restful sleep can even suppress immune fighting cells. Encourage your children to “wind down” a few hours before bedtime with reading or simple conversation rather than TV or computer time.