3 ways to boost your child’s immune system
The school year is upon us and for parents across the country we know this means sniffles,
coughs, and restless sleep. The school year may be exciting for parents and kids alike, however,
the introductions of hundreds of kids can easily result in an overload to the immune system. That
means that now is the time to bolster your child’s immune system and here are three ways to do
Improve sleep habits
Sleep is likely the most important ingredient when it comes to maintaining your child’s immune
system. From toddlers who need up to 12 hours of sleep each day to your high schooler who
should get around 9 hours of sleep it is important to create a sleep-inducing environment. In a
time when toddlers are commonly put to bed with tablets and devices and older children sleep
with their smart phones it can be difficult to manage your child’s sleep sufficiently. Televisions,
tablets, and smart phones use blue light which can reduce melatonin release and thereby affect
your child’s level of sleep.
Sleep deprivation has been shown to create a higher risk for susceptibility to illness. This occurs
because the immune systems fighting cells become less active. A lack of sleep can also
contribute to higher stress levels which can lead to decreased immune system function.
Start serving more fruits and vegetables
We all know that vitamin C is important to keep your immune system running well.
Phytonutrients help to increase the production of white blood cells which fight infection and
interferon, an antibody responsible for blocking viruses by coating cell surfaces.
Foods that provide immunity-boosting phytonutrients are carrots, green beans, oranges, and
strawberries, though the list of healthy fruits and vegetables is exhaustive and should be added to
each meal and snacks. In addition to improving immune health these same nutrients have also
been shown to improve protection against cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Your children may already be involved in extracurricular activities or likely get a lot of time
playing outside. Exercise is shown to increase the production of disease fighting cells and
increases blood circulation which brings oxygen to muscle tissues and organs while increasing
the strength and endurance of the cardiovascular system.
While it is important for your child to exercise with friends there is evidence that shows playing
with your kids, whether that is a bike ride, hiking, or playing sports together also helps to
improve the immune system by providing comfort, self-esteem, and stress reduction which are
all important to a strong immune system. So, instead of sending your child outside to run around,
taking the opportunity to join them will improve both you and your child’s health.
Boosting your child’s immune system will not just help them stay healthy throughout the school
year but can also create a strong system as they reach adulthood. A strong immune system can
also improve overall health function to help fight off chronic diseases such as heart conditions
and cancer. By serving more fruits and vegetables, improving sleep habits, and playing together
you can ensure your child’s body is ready to fight off new viruses.