Winter is upon us and unfortunately so is the cold and flu season. For many parents the winter months can seem like and endless cycle of coughs, colds, and tummy bugs with nurseries and schools being popular places for children to come into contact with viruses and bacteria.
Thankfully nature possesses a treasure chest of nutrients that can support and strengthen your child’s immune system. Providing your child with an immune boosting diet rich in nutrients will help to protect him from infection and aid recovery in times of illness. To keep your children healthy this winter ensure the following foods are included in their diet.
Fresh salmon is rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals as well as being one of the best sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. These essential fats are vital for good health and required for a strong functioning immune system.
Salmon is also rich in Vitamin D another important vitamin for enhancing immune function. Vitamin D aids calcium absorption and is also good for bone health. The easiest way to get Vitamin D is from sunlight but during the winter months it can be difficult to get the amounts required from sunlight alone. Increasing amounts in the diet is therefore recommend.
Try to ensure your child eats Salmon or oily fish 2-3 times per week. Ensure you buy Salmon that comes from a reliable non farmed source whenever possible. Salmon has a mild flavour and can be added to pasta sauces or risottos or try making your own salmon fish fingers with a polenta coating.
Natural yogurt is considered a probiotic food as it contains ‘friendly’ bacteria, the most common being ‘lactobacillus’ and ‘bifidobacteria’. These good bacteria are part of your child’s first line of defence against harmful bacteria and viruses as they exert a positive influence as they pass along the digestive tract. Helping to keep the harmful bacteria at bay.
Yogurt is also a good source of calcium which is easily absorbed. Calcium is important for immune function as well as building strong bones and teeth.
It is important to note that not all yogurt is good for us, many commercial varieties aimed at children are usually laden with sugar, some containing as many as 5 teaspoons in each small tub. Sugar acts as an immunosuppressant and should be kept to a minimum.
When buying yogurt aim to buy organic, plain, natural or live brands. Natural yogurt can be sweetened by adding honey or fruit purees, or you can blend with fruit to make smoothies, try freezing these to make healthy ice lollies.