Dr. Sears breaks down the best immunity boosters for kids!
Q. My child has a weak immune system. He was born prematurely, and I believe this is the cause. He is constantly sick, and his colds last for at least two weeks. What can I do to help boost his immune system?
A. Your suspicions are correct. Premature babies tend to have immature immune systems, which makes them prone to frequent infections. A classic word that describes the care of preemies is “more”—they need more holding, more food for growth, and more protection against infections. Try these tricks to boost your child’s immunity:
Offer more fruits and vegetables
Fruits and veggies are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, and both of these natural nutrients boost the immune system. Antioxidants travel through the bloodstream and protect tissue from damage. They are like the anti-rust protection in an automobile, helping reduce the wear and tear on the engine. The less wear and tear on the body, the less susceptible it is to infection. Good immune-boosting fruits include strawberries, papaya, cantaloupe, guava, pink grapefruit and blueberries. Good veggies are tomatoes, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, as well as soy products. When I see children in the office who are sick a lot, I prescribe Dr. Bill’s immune-boosting smoothie: one cup of plain yogurt, one-half cup each of the above-mentioned fruits, a multivitamin / multimineral formula that contains at least ten milligrams of zinc (an immune booster) and a quarter cup of flaxseed meal. Mix these immune boosters in milk or juice.
Feed your child immune-boosting fats
Omega 3 fats, particularly those found in coldwater fish (such as wild salmon) are valuable immune boosters and maintain the overall health of just about every organ of the body. They increase the activity of macrophages, the white cells that eat up bacteria. Grandmothers knew this fact years ago in the pre-antibiotic era when they prescribed that awful tasting cod liver oil. Feed your child at least three ounces of wild salmon three times a week. If coldwater fish is not available to you, give your child a high-quality fish oil capsule. One capsule a day (open the capsule and squirt it into juice or oatmeal) should be enough.
Related: Shop Complete DHA Gummies for Kids
Feed your child less sugar and other sweeteners
Studies have shown that drinking the equivalent of two and a half 12-ounce cans of soda can reduce the ability of immune-fighting white blood cells by 40 percent.
Get your child moving
Exercise both increases the white blood cells’ ability to fight off infection and increases the number of those killer cells mentioned above.
Lessen exposure to germs
If your child is in part- or full-time daycare, insist on careful hand washing when caregivers handle your infant. As much as possible, keep your child away from those who are coughing and sneezing, especially other children.
Related: Shop Mini Hand Sanitizer