Boosting your child’s immune system is essential for helping their bodies fight illnesses like colds and flu, but also for protection against the coronavirus. One of the best ways to do this is including affordable ingredients and superfoods in their diet.
Oranges are loaded with vitamin C and also contain phytonutrients that have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Choose the actual fruit over orange juice – sweet-tasting juices are often laced with added sugar and preservatives. If your child doesn’t like oranges, then pack naartjies into their lunchbox – they are sweeter, softer and easier to peel and eat.
According to research, if someone has vitamin D deficiencies, they are more susceptible to illness. Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D. They are also packed with a number of other immune-boosting nutrients, such as B vitamins and selenium. Hard-boiled eggs are perfect for a quick and easy snack.
Spinach is full of many immune-boosting vitamins and minerals. The powerful veggie is packed with vitamin A, E, C, and K, as well as folate, manganese, zinc, selenium, and iron. Blend some baby spinach and add it to the mix for a yummy green smoothie.
These nutritional greens contain a whole host of immune system boosters, including vitamins C, A, and E, as well as several antioxidants. Broccoli is most nutritious when it’s eaten raw, so gradually add it to your child’s diet. If they don’t like the taste, have them eat it with a great-tasting, healthy dip or sauce.
Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which increases the number of white blood cells that fight viruses and bacteria. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium and fibre. Your child will love this sweet potato fries recipe.
Yoghurt is a great source of vitamin D, which helps to strengthen and regulate the immune system. Choose full cream or double cream plain yoghurt, as the flavoured varieties are full of sugar and preservatives. To make plain yoghurt more appealing, drizzle honey over it or add sliced banana bits.
Oats contain beta-glucans, a component of fibre that activates the cells that fight bacteria, viruses and other intruders in our bodies. Add oats to your child’s diet by serving them overnight oats with fresh apple, bananas or berries.
Honey contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties that make it an effective immune booster. It also helps to soothe cold symptoms like sore throats. Honey is as delicious as it is nutritious, and a healthy alternative for your child than sweet, sugary foods. Mix honey into plain yoghurt or add it as a topping on sandwiches.
Remember, variety in your child’s diet is key for keeping their immune systems strong. Incorporating the above foods into their diet will tick that box and should also be affordable enough to maintain week-on-week.