COVID-19 cases increase among children in India and all around the world, it is the need of the hour to make your child’s immune system strong. Taking proper measures in this direction and giving children the right nutrition will not only help in strengthening their immune system but also contribute to improve cognitive development. It reduces the the chances of children becoming obese, getting infected or developing serious diseases. We shall discuss 6 ways to increase a child’s immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
6 ways to increase a child’s immunity during COVID-19 pandemic
You must start breastfeeding your child within an hour of birth and continue it for the next 6 months. The process must be continued till they are at least 2 years old. From the time your child turns 6 months old, complement breast milk with food rich in nutrients. Do not add salt and sugar to these food items.
2. Fresh and unprocessed food
Give fruits, vegetables and legumes (such as lentils and beans) to your child. Nuts, wholegrains, unprocessed maize, millet, oats etc can also be given to increase their immunity. Use raw vegetables and fresh fruits for snacks. Avoid serving food with high salt, sugar or fat content.
3. Drinking water
Water helps in transporting nutrients and compounds in blood. It also regulates body temperature, helps in getting rid of waste, and cushions and lubricates joints. Your child must have at least 8 to 10 cups of water every day. It also includes water from sources like other drinks and food. You can give them unsweetened milk or fruits and vegetables that contain water. For instance cucumber, spinach, tomatoes, apples etc. Avoid giving them sweetened fruit juices or syrups.
4. Healthy fats
Ensure that your child eats unsaturated fats abundant in fish, nuts, olive oil, avocado etc. Saturated fats such as fatty meat, butter, coconut oil, cream etc should be avoided. Do not give processed meat to your child because it contains high quantities of fat and salt. Trans fats which are industrially produced should also be avoided. These are found in fast food, pies, cookies, frozen pizza etc.
5. Home cooked food
All the meals you give your child must be prepared at home. Home cooked food is healthier and more nutritious for growing children compared to the food from outside the home. Very often, such foods are rich in calories, salt, fat and sugar. This increases the risk of your child becoming overweight or developing chronic diseases like stroke, diabetes, cancer etc. later in life.
6. Limited salt and sugar intake
While preparing your child’s food, prefer using iodised salt and limit the amount of high sodium condiments, such as soy sauce or fish sauce. Try using only one teaspoon of salt while preparing their food. Do not give them drinks or snacks having high sugar content. Serve them fresh fruits as snacks instead of cookies, cake and chocolates.
The above mentioned ways are effective to increase a child’s immunity but following precautionary measures against COVID-19 is mandatory. Washing hands with soap, wearing a mask when stepping out, maintaining physical distance and using sanitiser are some protocols we can’t do away with. [Image Credit Ben/Unsplash]
Disclaimer: All information presented here is from publicly available sources. For COVID, or other related diseases, nutrition needs, always consult a doctor or nutritionist.