Keep Your Child's Immune Strong | Nugget Markets Daily Dish

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Keep Your Child's Immune Strong

Health Notes from Dr. Liz

August 28, 2015

What parent hasn’t struggled with their 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 illness from 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, 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 support your child’s immune strength in several ways such as serving as a barrier to invading pathogens in the intestines. Include one serving of probiotic 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 cereal 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 screen time on the computer or in front of the TV.

Dr. Liz Applegate Ph.D.

Director of Sports Nutrition, UC Davis

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