School starts this week and parents and carers are busy preparing their children and household for their return to school.
It’s also the time of year when parents begin to fear the influx of cold and flu viruses that seem to show up at the start of school. Add another school year in a pandemic and parents can be overwhelmed with how to support their children’s immune systems.
Local registered nutritionist Adrienne Penner, who works at the Steinbach Family Resource Center and A Little Nutrition, says diet is a benefit in building your immune system. “Of course, eating a well-balanced diet doesn’t necessarily guarantee you won’t get sick, but it can certainly help you fight off germs so your symptoms may be less severe. Or you will find yourself recovering faster. ‘
“When we get sick, there’s nothing to replace a homemade chicken noodle soup or warm tea when you’re not feeling well.”
Penner recommends adding a variety of vitamins to your child’s diet in the form of food. Including vitamins like vitamins C, A, E and D, zinc and fiber.
“There’s a lot of research going on into our gut microbiome, so you may have heard of probiotics or kombucha or kefir. The gut microbiome is something we learn a lot more about. “
“The greatest way to strengthen our immune system through food is with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables.” Penner is a big believer that frozen fruit is the most beneficial as it is harvested and flash frozen, which helps retain many nutrients and is a comparable option to fresh or canned fruit.
Penner also recommends switching to whole grains, which tend to promote more stable blood sugar levels that everyone can benefit from. This includes things like black bread, pasta, and cereal.
You should look for whole grains as the first ingredient in any products you buy and at least 2 grams of fiber per serving. Whole grain products according to Penner help with all-round well-being and stabilize blood sugar. ‘Less of the’ hangryness’, stable mood, energy, cravings. Therefore, switching to more whole grains can be helpful. ‘
Penner recommends adding a supplement to your child’s daily routine in addition to certain foods. ‘Vitamin D, the’ Sunshine Vitamin ‘, is the only dietary supplement that we recommend to all Canadians.’
Babies year and younger should have 400 international units per day and anyone older should have at least 600 international units per day. Health Canada has set the safe maximum at 4000 international units per day, but in general 1000 is a very common amount of vitamin D to be consumed per day for adults and that is because it is difficult to get enough of food and sunshine cope with. “
Another way to boost your child’s immune system is to make sure they are adequately hydrated. The average recommendation for adults is 2 liters or 8 cups. And Penner says you should orient yourself by the color of your urine. If it’s the lighter yellow / clear, you’re good to go. ‘
Penner suggests that parents focus on water and milk when choosing their children’s drinks. She realizes that going out for lunch or dinner is special and always recommends chocolate milk. “It’s just a great source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Things that are really important to
In addition to recommending making changes to your children’s diet to boost their immune systems, Penner suggests getting back to basics. “Sleep hygiene, stress management, our children learn so much about mental health and the role of general well-being.”
Getting children active, exercising, and exercising are also important aspects of strong immunity. Penner also adds the things we have been doing over the past 18 months of the pandemic, “of course the hand washing and Covid protocols, which we are all experts on at the moment”.
Hear the full conversation about nutrition and how you can support your child’s immune system below.