Boost Your Immune System - for Families with Young Kids

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Boost Your Immune System - for Families with Young Kids

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Resources: Grow by WebMD, Parents and Cleveland Clinic

Children are notorious for bringing home colds and flus to the rest of the family. Babies grab everything near them and put whatever is in reach into their mouths. As they get older, they may begin interacting with other children outside of their household. Whether they're at daycare, school or playdates, kids are sure to be exposed to a number of germs, and in turn expose the rest of the family!

We've collected some helpful tips for the whole family to boost your immune system and curb unwanted colds. A good place to start is by looking at what you're putting into your body!

Choose Immunity Boosting Food

Probiotics, the live beneficial bacteria and/or yeasts that live in your body, are important to your health. "When you're sick, bad bacteria enters your body and increases in number. This knocks your body out of balance. Good bacteria works to fight off the bad bacteria and restore the balance within your body, making you feel better." Cleveland Clinic Yogurt contains probiotics and is also a popular food with kids. Eating yogurt regularly maintains the balance of good bacteria in your gut and supports immunity health!

As you search for the best fruits and veggies to improve your family's health, look for foods that are high in vitamin C. Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines and grapefruit, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, and sweet potatoes are all great choices.

Other "fruits and veggies provide various antioxidants which protect cells from damage and disease. Foods rich in antioxidants include berries and green vegetables such as broccoli and dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard and mustard greens." Cleveland Clinic

Choose nuts and seeds with the healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and ground flaxseeds all contain the omega-3's and are easy to sprinkle on top of a snack or meal. Experts believe these are power foods that can help to fight illness, and have even cut the number of respiratory infection in children.

Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, oysters, red meat and pork chops are high in protein and good for building your strength. They also carry zinc, which can help white blood cells fight off infection.

Tray full of yummy food for little fingers

Check out @allaboutkids_uk on Instagram to discover more creative and delicious food ideas!

Get Enough Sleep

Everyone knows the key to feeling good during the day is getting enough sleep at night. But can lack of sleep actually make you more susceptible to getting sick? Believe or not, it can! Sleep deprivation reduces cells that attack microbes and cancer cells.

"Children in daycare are particularly at risk for sleep deprivation because all the activity can make it difficult for them to nap. How much sleep do kids need? An infant may need up to 16 hours of crib time a day, toddlers require 11 to 14 hours, and preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours. 'If your child can't or won't take naps during the day, try to put her to bed earlier,' says Dr. Kemper." Parents

Breast Milk for Baby

When baby is breastfeeding or drinking your breast milk from a bottle, they are getting the absolute best immunity booster available! Breast milk contains powerful antibodies and white blood cells that fight off infections.

It's proven that breast milk protects "against ear infections, allergies, diarrhea, pneumonia, meningitis, urinary tract infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)." Parents

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life. If this commitment isn't realistic, aim to breastfeed for at least the first two to three months in order to supplement the immunity your baby received in utero." Parents

Baby girl with pink bows in her pigtails breastfeeds with her mom

Play and Exercise

Get outside together as a family and exercise! For a child, exercise looks like play, and as most things in life it is a learned activity. Regular exercise creates more fighter cells that attack microbes and cancer cells.

It's also a healthy way to relieve stress and anxiety, maintain a good sleep routine, produce endorphins which make you happier, and keep your body resilient! Take playtime outside, go swimming, ride bikes together, skate, play ball and more, just keep moving!

Avoid Secondhand Smoke

If you or any of your child's guardians smoke, quit! If not for your own health, do it for theirs. "Kids are more susceptible than adults to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke because they breathe at a faster rate; a child's natural detoxification system is also less developed. Secondhand smoke increases a child's risk of SIDS, bronchitis, ear infections, and asthma. It may also affect intelligence and neurological development." Parents