8 Ways to Boost Your Toddler’s Immune System
Unfortunately, our kids can pass viruses around so easily and even sometimes without showing symptoms.
However, we don’t have to just accept that children get sick, we can actually take measures to boost their defenses and speed healing.
Give your toddler’s immune system a good boost by ensuring that you’re offering them the following:
Although your toddler’s diet may typically consist of chicken nuggets and Mac and cheese, it’s best to offer them a variety of healthy foods. If you must, sneak fruits and veggies into their diet as this is a great way to get your picky eater to still eat healthy.
There are a variety of foods that contain the essential vitamins and nutrients that their bodies need to boost their immunity and fight off illnesses. Here are a few:
- Yogurt: Yogurt contains helpful germs called probiotics which not only improves digestion, but can help to fight sickness. Tip: Yogurt that says “contains live cultures” is your best bet and if it separates with a little liquid on top, that’s a good sign! Also, make sure you’re reading the label to opt for yogurt that doesn’t contain too much sugar.
- Walnuts: These nuts have healthy Omega-3 fatty acids that can help fight infections.
- Fruits and vegetables: It’s no surprise that these are the ultimate health foods. Aim for ones high in Vitamin C, including citrus fruits, carrots, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, and sweet potatoes to name a few.
- Lean meats: Foods high in protein gives us strength and also contain zinc that help white blood cells fight off infections.
- Avoid sugar: sugar can actually suppress the immune system and cause inflammation. Give water instead of juice and whole foods instead of packaged snacks.
Get More Sleep
Sleep deprivation can make a child more susceptible to viruses because it can reduce the cells that attack bad cells. Toddlers should be getting 11-14 hours of sleep per day including naps.
Give a multivitamin or probiotic supplement
A gummy multivitamin is a great source of nutrients for children over 2. This can be a good choice for a toddler who refuses to eat healthy foods, but nothing substitutes for the natural, whole foods.
Ensure that your child is staying active and not maintaining a sedentary lifestyle. They don’t have to be doing rigorous exercise to improve immunity, but expose them to lots of activities that can get them moving and playing.
If you are able to still breastfeed your toddler or are offering them pumped breastmilk, this is one of the best immunity boosting things you can do. Breastmilk contains immunity-enhancing antibodies and white blood cells passed to your child.
Get them outside
The vitamin D that your body produces in response to sunshine has a huge influence on your immune system by increasing white blood cells.
Avoid antibiotics when possible
The majority of childhood illnesses are viruses that can’t be killed by antibiotics. Antibiotics can actually kill off the good bacteria in your child’s body that would help them fight off viruses.
Stay up-to-date on immunizations
Vaccines are an important way to guard a child’s body against illnesses. Maintain the regular schedule of immunizations recommended by the CDC and your physician.
. . . . .
Although you can only do so much to boost your toddler’s immunity, guarding against the spread of germs is a great way to prevent illnesses.
So always be sure that your child is washing their hands often with soap and keeping their distance from others that could potentially be sick.
Meet the Author:
Marissa is a school-based occupational therapist turned stay-at-home mom after the birth of her second child. She’s a mom of two children under 18 months old and loves being able to stay home and make memories with them. She recently started her blog, Just Simply Mom (justsimplymom.com), to educate other moms on tips and tricks about all things pregnancy, motherhood, and babies. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, cook, and make DIY projects.
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