Boosting Your Child's Immunity



As the nights become cooler, especially at this time of heightened sensitivity to viral infection, I thought you might be interested in receiving my recommendations on what you can do to boost your child’s immunity.

Although the media is painting a picture of doom and gloom, MOST people seem to be recovering from the COVID-19 and children who have tested positive only display very mild symptoms, if any. It is prudent, however, to avoid getting the virus if just for the sake of those who are more vulnerable in our community.

Below are some of the measures you can take at home to help your child, and your whole family.

Vitamin C

A total of 148 animal studies indicated that vitamin C may alleviate or prevent infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. 1

The best sources of Vitamin C include blackcurrants, citrus fruits – oranges, limes and lemons, berries, kiwifruit, tomatoes, broccoli, sprouts, red, yellow and green capsicum

Cutting and heating foods lessens the effectiveness of Vitamin C. It is important to eat fruits and vegetables raw, or lightly cooked, and don’t cut them too long before eating them.


Vitamin D

Necessary for good bone strength and most importantly for healthy immunity. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has identified Victorians and children as having the lowest levels of Vitamin D in Australia. 2

Foods that provide vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon

  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals

  • Beef liver

  • Cheese

  • Egg yolks

To get vitamin D from food, fish is a good option. Approximately 180g cooked salmon will provide 1000 international units (IU) which would be a good start.

When the days become cooler, children tend to play less outdoors. This can lead to a drop in Vitamin D levels because of reduced exposure to sunlight. It is therefore important that children are encouraged to play outdoors as much as possible but ensure they are well rugged up. Of course, it would be better if as much skin as possible was exposed but keeping warm is essential.

Zinc

An abundance of evidence has accumulated over the past 50 years to demonstrate the antiviral activity of zinc against a variety of viruses, and via numerous mechanisms.3 Unfortunately, many children (and adults) are low in zinc, leaving them exposed to a host of viruses.

Food sources of zinc include meats, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, some dairy foods, whole grains, eggs, dark chocolate. Fruits and vegetables are relatively low in zinc. Potatoes (sweet and other) contain a small amount of zinc.

It is important to note that if your child has a frank zinc deficiency, supplementation in the form of capsules and powders will be necessary.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms themselves are comprised of antibacterial and antiviral compounds to survive in nature, so they naturally harbour a considerable amount of these substances.

Mushrooms have powerful constituents called beta-D-glucans, beta-glycosides, and other substances that have been determined in some research to significantly stimulate our innate immune system. Some mushrooms are a rich source of selenium, magnesium, and zinc, all of which