Building immunity through nutrition: Children

Dr. Nadine Aoun

Dietician, Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics

Medcare Women and Children Hospital

Good nutrition is the most effective way to build a strong immunity for children. The following measures would help:

  • Serve more fruits and vegetables: studies show that a diet rich in phytonutrients can protect against chronic diseases as cancer and heart diseases in adulthood.
  • Breast-feed your baby: breast milk contains immunity-enhancing antibodies and white blood cells. Studies show that it may also enhance your baby’s brain power and help protect her against insulin-dependent diabetes, Crohn’s disease, colitis, and certain forms of cancer later in life. Colostrum, the thin yellow “premilk” that flows from the breasts during the first few days after birth, is especially rich in disease-fighting antibodies.
  • Exercise: encourage your kid to exercise as it improves their overall health, well-being and puts them in good mood.
  • Offer them immune boosting snacks. For example: Walnuts have healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you in lots of ways. Experts believe that omega-3s help your body fight illness. One small study found omega-3s cut the number of respiratory infections in kids. Walnuts are easy to sprinkle into a snack mix or on cereal.

To build immunity in kids give them macronutrients like proteins including milk, eggs and animal protein. Choose Lean meats and poultry also contain high amounts of zinc and important minerals that lead to increased white blood cells to fight infection. For vegetarians, pulses are a great source of protein.