Want to boost your child’s body immunity? Ms Suzanne Khor, Senior Dietician at Thomson Paediatric Centre shares with us the top 10 immunity foods for children.
1. Kiwi fruit
Kiwi fruit is rich in vitamin C, which increases the immune system’s production of antibodies when germs are present in the body. Ensure your child eats 2 servings of fruit daily. Other fruits rich in vitamin C are oranges, papaya and guava.
Get some inspiration from these refreshing Kiwi fruit Healthy snack recipes
Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, that are anti-inflammatory and protect the body against damage caused by a hypersensitive response by the immune system. This may happen occasionally if the immune system overreacts and releases more chemicals than the body needs to fight germs. Some fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon and tuna. Avoid albacore tuna, which has been found to be high in mercury.
Beef is high in the mineral zinc. Zinc is needed by the body to help the white blood cells release antibodies in response to infection. Zinc is also important in wound healing. Other sources of zinc are egg yolk and zinc-fortified cereals.
Nuts are a rich source of vitamin E, an antioxidant. This vitamin stimulates the creation of cells that destroy germs. For young children, you can try to grind the nuts into powder and add it as a thickener to soups, gravies or mashed potatoes. (Note: However, If you have a family history of allergy to nuts, you may want to delay the introduction of nuts to your child’s diet.) Other sources of vitamin E are whole grains, some vegetable oils and sunflower seeds.
Yogurt contains healthy bacteria or probiotics that help your child maintain a healthy digestive system. Choose one with live cultures for your child. Serve yogurt with fresh fruit.
6. Chicken soup
Chicken soup contains an amino acid, cysteine and studies have shown that it helps to reduce the symptoms/ duration of colds.
Carrots are rich in beta carotene, which once converted in the body to vitamin A, is essential for healthy skin. Skin that heals fast from injury is essential for immunity as skin prevents germs from entering the body. Other foods rich in beta carotene are sweet potatoes or red capsicums.
8. Onions and Garlic
These vegetables are high in the antioxidant quercetin, which has some antiviral properties. You can add onions and garlic to soups or pasta, as their properties are not destroyed by cooking.
Eggs are a rich source of zinc and selenium, which help boost the immune system. Eggs are also rich in protein and cholesterol. So if you are trying to limit your child’s cholesterol intake due to family history of high cholesterol, limit egg yolks to 4 per week.
This vegetable is rich in glucosinates, a type of phytochemical. Other vegetables rich in this phytochemical are cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
By Ms Suzanne Khor, Senior Dietician at Thomson Paediatric Centre (The Child Development Centre)
Thomson Paediatric Centre (The Child Development Centre)
10 Sinaran Drive, #09-04 Novena Medical Centre, Singapore 307506
Tel: 6397 6627/ 6397 6966 (hotline)
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