Raising happy and healthy children is definitely one of the most daunting challenges for parents; especially when they are dealing with a extremely picky eater whose diet chart is virtually impossible to plan.
Add to this the negative influence of fast food, and you are looking at more and more kids who have very little resistance and immunity against the various childhood ailments that are a part and parcel of their growing up.Today’s parents are left in a quandary about the right approach towards their children’s health.
Some of them believe that keeping their child in an antiseptic bubble and germ-proofing them is the best way to boost their immunity, the logic being that they are keeping viruses, etc, at bay. But that is actually a deterrent in developing body’s immunity because, in reality, it is the occasional bout of cold and flu that enables the body to generate enough resistance to deal with disease-causing pathogens.
Another approach common to parents is to give multiple vitamin supplements and use all kinds of prophylactic medicines to strengthen the child’s immune system. Unfortunately, neither of these methods enhances a child’s immunity.
Good health is a combination of various consciously made lifestyle choices: Balanced diet, regular exercise, and a stress-free happy life, especially during childhood. Here are some easy ways to build your child’s resistance and immunity for a lifetime. Follow these simple guidelines regularly to guide your child to a happy, healthy, and fit adulthood.
1 Add Fruits and Vegetables in your favorites list. A famous quote reads, “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” Fruits and vegetable contains essential antioxidants, vitamins, and numerous nutritional components that are hard to find in any one dietary product. A generous quantity of fruits and at least two to three servings of vegetables is necessary for all growing kids.
While all fruits and veggies are an excellent source of fiber, the following are the best immunity boosters: Strawberries, brocolli, carrot, soya beans, and all citrus fruits. Include all seasonal fruits like watermelon, melon, mangoes in your kids’ daily diet according to the season. In summers, juices made with fresh fruit juices provide the body with the right amount of nutrients to provide immunity in the long run.
2 A for Amla, B for Berry, C for vitamin C. Who knew that the amla tree in grandma’s house was literally a treasure house of health and vitality? Amla, or Indian Gooseberry, is a one-stop shop for building immunity. It has medical properties that aid in the prevention of recurrent respiratory infections. Amla juice with honey is excellent for improving eye sight for children.
Amla enhances the absorption of food, is loaded with antioxidants, and also works wonderfully in weight loss diets. Teenagers get the additional benefits of acne prevention and clear skin with regular intake of amla. Jams and pickles made from amla provide a nutritious alternative to processed jams. Include this highly beneficial berry in your child’s diet and see the benefits for yourself.
3 Trust P for Power. That is Protein. Concentrate on the protein intake. Have a close look at your kid’s diet plan. Is he getting enough protein in his diet? Paneer, eggs, lentils, and sprouted grains, can be used to make a variety of interesting snack foods for kid’s lunch boxes. Eggs have extremely high protein content, most of which is easily digestible. Lentils are a staple in every vegetarian’s diet. Soy milk,soya beans, and nuggets are particularly beneficial for boosting children’s immunity.
4 Start them young. Research states that breastfed babies have statistically more stronger immunity than other young ones. Breast Milk is undoubtedly the best source of all essential nutrients for a new baby. No other substance has such a perfect combination of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and vitamins.
5. “A good laugh and and a long sleep are the best cures in a doctor’s book,” thus goes an Irish Proverb. Design a systematic sleep pattern and make sure your kid gets the required amount of sleep for his age. Inadequate sleep affects children in more ways than just making them tired and irritable.
Children who consistently get adequate sleep show higher levels of attention, comprehension, have increased levels of imagination and creativity, and succeed at all activities in school, whether academic or extra-curricular. Sleep-deprived children, on the other hand, tend to lose attention quickly, may be obviously tired and show little or no interest in physically stimulating activities and exercise.
6. Do not use antibiotics for common viral complaints. Antibiotic resistance and the emergency of the Super Bug is the biggest cause of worry for parents these days. Over the years, we have been programmed into giving antibiotics to children for even every-day common ailments, such as viral infections, cold, and cough.
Research proves that this is one of the most significant causes of the low levels of resistance and immunity among young children these days. Stay away from antibiotics as much as possible. Use it only if prescribed, and make sure you complete the course as directed by the physician. Stopping the course of antibiotic treatment midway is equally harmful to the body.
7. Increase the intake of fluids. Not just in the summer seasons, make sure that the child has at least 8-10 glasses of water during a day. At playtime, you can make a game out of this activity, and suggest a few minutes of extra playtime if he finishes the water in the water bottle during playtime. Summers are excellent times for making home-made juices, shakes, etc. Make sure the child has plenty of liquids to keep himself hydrated.
8. Ban those sweeties! Candies, chocolates, and other artificially-sweetened products should be off from the kid’s list. Of course, this is easier said than done. But provide healthy alternatives. Supplement refined sugar with date syrup, wherever possible. Jaggery is another sweetener that can be added in place of sugar for most home-made sweetmeats. Avoid unnecessary snacking. Avoid storing huge quantities of sugary treats at home. This would reduce the temptation to sneak and indulge in some sinfully sugary snack.
9. Yogurt is power packed with essential probiotics and is a marvelous agent for digestion. It is one of the easiest and cheapest product in our refrigerator that can generate a substantial amount of good bacteria in our body. It is especially beneficial for children who are suffering from frequent viral infections.
Yogurt is an excellent immunity booster. It can be consumed in a variety of ways. You can make delicious smoothies by adding fruits in it. Strawberry and mango yogurt taste heavenly and have the added advantage of fruits in it. For exceptionally hot seasons, a chilled glass of buttermilk provides respite from heat and lends in the necessary nutrients lost during sweating. Make sure your child as least two servings of yogurt every day.
11 Exercise. A well-balanced diet and proper exercise are the two most important requisites for a healthy body. And children need exercise more than ever. This is the perfect time to indulge in as many sports as possible, to increase the body’s resistance, increase appetite, and develop a strong immunity that would last us a lifetime.
Use as many opportunities as possible to go outdoors. Try swimming, skating, tennis, cricket, or the simple jog in the park every day to get those legs and arms moving. For older children, simple yoga and meditation exercises are extremely beneficial–to calm their anxious nerves and provide relief from undue exam stress.
12. Introduce the good fats in his diet. An important thing for all parents to remember is that not all fats are bad. The fat contents found in products such as nuts, olive oil, fish, coconut oil, peanuts, and dairy products contain unsaturated or good fats that contain essential fatty acids. These aid in building a child’s immunity, help in development on brain, uterus, and the nervous system. A generous amount of these fats in the food can bring about a positive change in the child’s growth and development.
13. Lead by example. Make sure everyone at home follows the healthy eating mantra and incorporate helthy eating habits. Instill good table manners in the child and make sure he sees the adults in the family following healthy practices regarding food. Make dinner time a family get-together time and make it a relaxing, enjoyable part of the day. Do not eat in front of the TV and do not form a habit of munching endlessly while watching your favourite soap on the telly.
Make healthy living a way of life, and not just a temporary fad that you picked up as a hobby. Please remember, children pick most of their positive and negative habits from home. Make an extra effort to generate a positive, happy ambiance at home, where kids are free to express their likes and desires. Robert Brault once said, “In the happiest of childhood memories, our parents were happy too.” A happy childhood and positive parenting will guarantee a ticket for a healthy and happy adult life.