Your child’s nutrition is a major component in keeping them healthy. Not only do nutrients help the body function smoothly, but they also protect the body from illnesses. Good food doesn’t just fill your child’s tummy, it also strengthens their muscles and bones, helps their organs develop and contributes to their immunity.
Immunity is the body’s ability to fight off diseases. Early childhood is an important phase in developing a child’s immunity, because a significant part of immunity develops by the age of 5 years. Nutrition during this phase is important as it allows these immune functions to take place and develop.
To fight off diseases and stay healthy, your child needs balanced nutrition - a diet that involves the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as a good dose of micronutrients - vitamins and minerals, which play an important role in immune system functions.
Vitamin A helps keep the eyes healthy, and allows you to see better in the dark. But what it also does is take care of the skin, and keep the lining tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. By doing so, it gives protection from infections.
Sources: Fish, meat, and dairy products; as well as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, bell peppers, and eggs. Orange fruits and vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes provide the Beta-Carotene, an antioxidant in Vitamin A, which protects the cells from damage.
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients that help the immune system function. It protects your child from immune system deficiencies. Another function of Vitamin C is to keep skin healthy. Children especially need Vitamin C so that their bones, muscles and tissues can repair easily in case of injury.
Sources: Muskmelon, papaya, capsicum, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, kiwi, and citrus fruits like oranges, sweet lime, and lemons.
Vitamin D is important for more than just bone and tooth growth and development. It has a protective function of immunity as it can help the body fight foreign organisms that cause diseases.
Sources: Sunlight, dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt, fish, eggs and meat, and fortified juices.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which helps protect cells from damage which in turn boosts kid’s immunity to fight off the diseases better.
Sources: Leafy greens, vegetables, almonds, hazelnut, sunflower seeds.
With a fussy eater, these nutrient needs are not easily fulfilled. Children tend to reject fruits and vegetables, and prefer tastier and more appealing food. Although tricky, parents must try to include as many nutritious foods as possible in their child’s day-to-day nutrition. Ensuring that your child gets their micronutrients can thus protect them from a number of illnesses and keep them healthy.