If you have kids, you also have germs—and lots of them! I know this first-hand, especially since my eldest started school. And when one kid gets sick, his or her siblings (and perhaps parents) soon follow. This is why I’ve decided to ramp up our families’ immune-boosting efforts.
Don’t know how to boost kids immune systems? We can help. Here are five easy, evidence-based (and perhaps surprising) ways to boost your child’s immunity:
1 – Make oatmeal your go-to breakfast
Oatmeal is our family’s number one breakfast choice for many reasons. Not only is it easy and versatile, but oats are also jam-packed full of nutrition. They contain a special kind of soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which has anti-microbial and antioxidant qualities, which help boost your child’s immune system and protect them from illnesses like the flu. Beta-glucans also decrease inflammation, which help kids fight off infection quicker. Serve with berries, milk and a sprinkle of chopped nuts or seeds for a balanced breakfast. If you want to create a strong immune system for your little ones, consider starting their day with healthy choices like oatmeal and fruit.
2 – Include oily fish
Most of us know that Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in kids’ brain and eye development, but many parents don’t realize that the Omega 3 found in oily fish such as salmon, trout, and halibut also helps boost our kids’ immune systems by increasing the activity of white blood cells that eat up harmful bacteria. Omega 3’s also decrease inflammation, which may help to protect little lungs from infection. Serve your kids oily fish at least twice a week. If you have a picky eater on your hands, try making homemade fish ticks or other appetizing meals that your little ones will love.
3 – Consider probiotics
Another great way to boost our kids’ immunity (and overall health!) is to give them Probiotics. A probiotic supplement helps support immune function while also improving gut health. Probiotics are “good” bacteria, and when consumed in sufficient amounts, provide many health benefits. In fact, there is promising evidence to support that giving probiotics such as Bio-Kidz, to your kids, can boost their immune response, helping them fight illnesses such as cold and flu. Although probiotics can be found in certain foods such as yogurt, the live bacterial cell count is relatively low compared to Bio-Kidz probiotic drinks, which have 12.5 billion active cells per serving. As a bonus, Bio-Kidz are delicious, portable and well loved by kids (including my own!).
4 – Get your kids moving!
Most of is know that daily activity is important for overall health and wellness, but did you know that it can boost our kids’ immune systems? Research shows that moderate daily activity can increase immune function by boosting white blood activity in the body, potentially warding off harmful viruses and bacteria. Get your kids out for at least an hour of active play each day.
5 – Protect your child’s sleep
Just like us adults, we need to make sure our kids get enough rest. There is growing evidence that a lack of sleep can suppress the immune response (the body’s ability to fight off infection). Even though it might be tempting to skip naps or push bedtimes on weekends, remember that kids require at least 10-14 hours of sleep total per day, everyday (depending on age). If you want a simple immune system booster for kids, make sure they are getting plenty of sleep on a regular basis.