Every second of our lives we are under attack by bacteria, viruses, spores, and more living organisms who want to enter our body and use its resources for itself. The immune system is a powerful army of cells that fights like a T-Rex on speed and sacrifices itself for our survival. It is our body’s ability to defend itself against various pathogens that come from both the external and internal environments of our body.
Every parent wants only the best for his/her child. Having healthy children is surely the most important wish of us all. A healthy child means a happy child and a happy child means a happy parent. Such a simple equation, isn’t it?
Of course, there is no magic, one-size-fits-all way to strengthen the immune system, but fortunately there are some proven steps and procedures that we can utilize to keep our children happy and healthy.
1. Make sure they get enough sleep
Good quality sleep is very important for boosting our immune systems. During sleep, the immune system regenerates, damaged white blood cells are removed, and new ones are produced. According to scientific findings, up to half of today’s primary school aged children sleep one hour less than their parents did when they were their age. The consequence is lower emotional well-being, attention disorders, and weaker immune systems. Preschool children need 10-13 hours of sleep a day while those aged 6-13 need 9-11 hours a day.
2. Feed them a healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals
Vitamins are organic substances that belong to the basic components of the human diet. Together with minerals and trace elements, they are involved in several biochemical processes and the proper functioning of the immune system. The most important vitamins for boosting the immune system include vitamins A, B, (mainly B6 and B12), C, D, E; folic acid; minerals and trace elements like zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and copper. Not to forget the Omega 3 fatty acids. All these nutrients are involved in keeping our children’s immune system functioning properly because a deficiency of any one of them lowers and compromises the ability to defend themselves against a disease.
To get all the important nutrients and for their immune system to be strong, children need plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds in their diet every day. And this is where we often run into problems: Peaky and fussy eaters? Who can’t relate? Well, I can… I have two of them at home! That’s why, especially during the development and growth or generally when they are reluctant to consume a varied and balanced diet, an increased intake of vitamins and minerals in the form of high-quality natural food supplements is very much needed.
3. Let them enjoy enough sun during the warm months
Getting enough sunlight is not only pleasant, but also important for health and boosting the immune system. We all know that vitamin D is being produced in the skin when exposed to the sun. The manifestation of its deficiency is weakened immunity and increased risk of inflammatory diseases. And here we run into another problem: the lack of sunlight in the Western population, mainly living in big cities with smog, leads to a deficiency of this vitamin in about 50% of the population. The excessive use of high SPF sunscreens does not help either, as these block its production. It is therefore advisable to supplement vitamin D especially in the autumn and winter months.
4. Get them active in the fresh air
“Active” doesn’t have to mean playing a sport or going to the gym; it could be playing at the playground or just going for a walk. Movement is a very natural thing for a child. It speeds up the blood circulation, increasing the activity and production of some white blood cells. This makes the child more resistant and has a significant impact on strengthening his/her immune system. It is said that just 20 minutes of exposure to fresh air will increase the number of active white blood cells by 20%.
The immune system of our children is built up until the age of seven and thereafter we must support and take good care of it. The goal of a strong immune system is not to avoid the outside world to prevent infection, but to “train” it to cope with everything your child encounters in the future.
BIO: Lenka Schäfer is a full-time mum of two, full-time businesswoman, VFN member and active volunteer. She is passionate about health and nutrition and when she is not helping people around her to become healthier and happier, she enjoys traveling, baking sourdough bread, hot yoga and reading.
Get in touch with her to explore how the power of natural food supplements can improve your health and well-being: