Although there is no food that protects against colds or the various infections that accompany the little ones during the coldest season, there are some micronutrients, phytonutrients, vitamins or minerals that are involved in some way in the immune system. What are those foods that improve and increase the defenses of children?
That children maintain a healthy and balanced diet 365 days a year is a responsibility that as parents we must try to fulfill, although it is already known that there are special dates such as birthdays or family celebrations in which we all skip routines.
In times of low temperatures, the immune system of the child may be affected. If you want to know how to raise your child's defenses at this time of year and do it naturally, pay attention to the list of foods that will help you achieve it.
- Foods with vitamin C
Vitamin C is traditionally associated with protection against colds. Keeping your vitamin C stores well-replenished during winter lowers the risk of infection. Although this protection is not tremendously relevant, it is a great help during childhood.
We can find vitamin C in citrus fruits, tomatoes or red peppers - raw - but also in broccoli and spinach, as long as we use a vitamin-friendly cooking method, such as steaming.
- Fermented foods
These types of foods are those in which beneficial health bacteria, generally lactic acid bacteria, have been used to produce a fermentation that produces a change from the original food, such as milk, transforming it into a new one, such as cheese or yogurt.
The advantage of these foods is that the bacteria they contain help to strengthen the intestinal microbiota, which is the first line of defense against infections.
- Foods rich in healthy fats
These foods contain fat-soluble vitamins: vitamins A, D, E and K. Specifically, vitamin E is involved both with macrophages, which detect and destroy pathogens, and with B lymphocytes, responsible for antibodies.
Foods such as olive oil, oily fish, nuts and seeds stand out in this section.
- Foods rich in trace elements
Zinc is a key mineral to strengthen the immune system, since it participates in the formation of white blood cells, in addition to enhancing their aggressiveness against infectious agents, increasing the effectiveness of the child's defenses.
On the other hand, selenium, despite being a little known mineral, is easy to find in foods that are also rich in zinc, such as meats, seafood, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It is characterized by stimulating the mobilization of T lymphocytes, which respond specifically to different infections.
- Foods rich in iron
Iron is another of the minerals most necessary for the proper functioning of the child's defenses, since the red blood cells depend on it.
Heme iron can be supplied from foods of animal origin, such as meat, or non-heme iron from legumes and green leafy vegetables. Combining these foods with vitamin C and avoiding calcium in the same meal favors its absorption.
- Foods rich in carotenoids
Carotenoids are not only antioxidants, but also have functions of stimulating the immune system, in particular, of its attacking cells, such as macrophages and T lymphocytes.
These finonutrients are found in foods that are red or orange in color, such as carrots, peaches and apricots, tomatoes, and red peppers.
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