Help boost their immune system.
Winters are knocking and we better get prepared. While its festival and holiday time both in India and United States, let's also give some thought to living healthy and living natural this winter season and many more to come. Let’s look at some small, everyday healthy practices which can go a long way in making them stronger and their immune system better.
For age 3 and above
The immune system is everything. In layman’s terms- It’s our defense system to protect us against all kinds of diseases. It detects and distinguishes between pathogens, virus and parasitic worms (all that make us ill) and our own healthy tissues. It goes without saying that a healthy functioning immune system can go a long way in keeping ourselves and our children safe.
A newborn’s immune system is not nearly as effective as an adult’s or even an older child’s. Many a times we see babies and toddlers falling sick more often than older kids and adults. That’s because their immune system isn’t fully developed. It takes good eating habits and healthy lifestyle to give a boost to our immune system.
Lemon/Lime water early in the Morning-Lemon /Lime are powerhouses of nutrition and flavor. Introduce this in your daily life. A glass of water with half a lemon/lime squeezed first thing is the morning is a very healthy habit for life. Give it to your children. Of the many benefits, it’s the Vitamin C antioxidant, which helps boost the immune system. Also, during 7-8 hours of sleep, our body would have been without water. When we wake up, giving the body a glass of water with lemon is a great way to kick start your day.
Crushed Garlic-Garlic has always been there in my family. My parents use to regularly have it with water. It has various medicinal qualities. Its antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant. Phewww J. Give a raw clove of garlic to everyone along with water. When it is crushed under our teeth, it produces a compound allicin which is a very powerful antioxidant. My little one has been having half a clove of a small garlic ever since he was two. Me and my husband share a big clove and drink it with water. One clove of garlic in United States is equal to 10 cloves in India. I suggest keeping the Indian garlic clove portion in mind while taking this.
Adding garlic to food enhances flavor, but what raw garlic does to body, cooked one wouldn’t. J
Probiotics-Buy supplements from the shop or the better for daily intake ois to have homemade yoghurt. If you are buying yoghurt, look for plain yogurt with live and active cultures. This pretty much means the presence of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which help in converting milk to yoghurt during the process of fermentation. Try to avoid artificially flavored yoghurt.
Get sleep- a well-rested body helps the immune system to become stronger. Children need more sleep than adults.
Two-year-old needs -12-14 hours of sleep with daytime naps.
3-5-year-old need-10-12 hours of sleep with or without naps. Though a short nap is always a very good practice for the body to rest and refuel.
5-8 years old need at least 9 hours of sleep. They can escape their daytime nap.
Fruits and Vegetables-Kale, Broccoli, Red Bell pepper, Green Bell pepper, Cauliflower are all having a high content of vitamin C in them along with their usual other benefits. Cooking them right is important as vitamin C in them is sensitive to heat and storage over time. Kiwi, pineapple and oranges are fruits high in Vitamin C. All kinds of berries are rich in antioxidants. Go ahead and eat.
Recipes coming along for a healthy winter – Do check the recipe section. Coming Soon.
· Tomato soup
· Steamed cauliflower with quinoa stir fry
· Kale stuffed pancakes
· Broccoli burger Barley soup
Avoid too much sugar- What happens is that food high in sugar content has shown to suppress the functioning of the immune system. Excess sugar, which children crave for and parents give in too is never a healthy habit. Make sugar treats more as rewards. Chocolates, ice creams, candies artificially flavored are a big NO.
Physical activity-Unless it really cold or freezing (which can be very risky considering kids can get frost bite or hypothermia), running around, playing and jumping is good for children. Dress them up well in their woolens and let them get their dose of exercise. Keep the temperature in mind. To me it gets uncomfortable playing when it 15-16 C outside. Children can also try their hands at indoor basketball or volleyball. Remember cold and flu are caused by virus and not by being outside.
Fresh air and Sunlight- Let fresh air and sunlight stream in every day in your house. (not possible, though in places which have freezing winters). Sunlight is a natural disinfectant. You may have seen the practice in India to put quilts and blankets out in the sun. Though I guess with pollution, I wonder how effective that method is now. Fresh air is uplifting both for the mood and the body.
Wash hands regularly- Barney says it, Sid the Science kid says it and so does everyone. Washing hands regularly help keep germs at bay. Separate towels for each family member. Don’t spread the germs form one to another. Maintain hygiene. Using the same towel for the entire family is no sign of love. J
Coconut oil post bath for children’s skin-because after a hot water bath the body pores behave like a sponge. If possible, make coconut oil a part of your daily regime. Just apply it after a bath and hydrate your skin. Damp body absorbs the oil better. I know it can get greasy but we are talking about few drops only. For children, this is one of the best practice to keep their skin ‘childlike’. Adults can choose a moisturizer or a cream. I normally pour the coconut oil in a wide container so that I can have easy access to it.
Milk Malai for dry skin around the mouth at -This is an old Indian way to keep your skin feeling soft and smooth. For children who are prone to severe drying around mouth area, lip or hands and feet’s, take the malai out of the milk, make a paste and apply on the mouth area, rub gently in circular motion. Clean the dry crumbs. Leave it for the night.
Turmeric milk anyways for a good night sleep and recovery. Both are antioxidants and antioxidant basically helps in preventing or saving us from damage to our body.
The wonderful Concoction-Typically Indian but whenever your little one starts sneezing or having a runny nose, try this- Lemon, ginger, cinnamon powder, honey and black pepper. A tablespoon every 3-4 hours to take care of the symptoms. This helps suppress the symptoms and while the virus may take its own course of 3-5 days, this helps the body in fighting the virus.
· Dust and clean the blankets to get rid of allergens.
· Wipe and clean the germ abundance Surfaces-Door knobs, phones, kitchen counters and common surface areas.
· We also see kids play a lot indoors with their friends. Children sneeze on toys and pretty much on each other. When kids come to play after playing outside, hand them a sanitizer or ask them to wash hands before they start playing.
· Ask them to cough or sneeze into the crook of their arms or reach for a tissue.
· Make it a practice to clean the toys or at least wipe them with a Clorox wipe once every two or three days.
· Take a flu shot …remember you can still get a flu because of a different strain of virus.
Disclaimer-The aim of this article is not to provide/suggest any medical advice, diagnosis or any kind or treatment.