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9 ways to naturally boost your toddler’s immune system

One of the main concerns moms have right now is keeping their kids healthy. Our kids are likely to get sick with a cold, the flu, an ear infection – or even worse COVID-19. Kids’ immune systems are still developing and this makes them more susceptible to get sick.

But luckily there are steps you can take to decrease the severity and frequency of illnesses.

Immune boosting supplements and vitamins is one route you can take, but often kids get difficult when they have to take their ‘medicine’.

ALSO SEE: The best immune-boosting finger foods for little ones

If you’re constantly having to fight with, bribe and beg your toddler to take his vitamins, why not try these natural ways to boost his immune system?

More sleep

According to mamanatural.com, sleep is one of the most powerful natural immune boosters for kids. Not only does your body repair itself while you’re sleeping, it also produces infection-fighting white blood cells.

How much sleep does my toddler need? Toddlers need about 12 hours of sleep during the night and one nap during the day (between 1 – 3 hours).

ALSO SEE:  Should my toddler nap during the day?

Regular exercise

According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, exercise can reduce colds by up to 67%. This doesn’t mean a 5km run every morning. Now that the Botanical gardens have opened for exercise, you can take your toddler for a walk through the gardens – or just take an afternoon walk in your suburb. Playing games in the garden also counts as exercise – get the frisbee out or kick a ball to each other.

Natural ways to boost your toddler's immune system

Give your tot more zinc-rich foods

Toddlers seem to thrive on sweets, Flings and two-minute noodles, but try and sneak in some chickpeas, seeds, cashews, eggs and ground red meat in his meals. You could make a yummy spaghetti bolognaise for dinner or try these different egg recipes for breakfast.

More fruit and veg

Yes, we know the chances of you getting 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep is higher than your toddler actually eating vegetables without you having to bribe him. But, tomatoes, green veg like broccoli and spinach, carrots, onions and garlic all contain phytonutrients that are all great natural immune boosters.

Try this tomato soup with cheese bread dippers – maybe your toddler will like it.

Natural ways to boost toddler's immune system

Get enough vitamin D

According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, vitamin D encourages an immune response when the body is threatened with foreign invaders. Sunshine is the best form of vitamin D – but it’s currently winter in South Africa, so you might not be spending as much time outside as you would during summer. You can also include more vitamin D-rich foods in your toddler’s diet like salmon and mackerel, eggs and beef.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough clean water is another great way to naturally boost children’s’ immune systems. When you’re hydrated, it helps your body fight off colds and flush out bacteria and your wee, which can also help prevent your toddler from getting a urinary tract infection. Add strawberries, lemon slices or pineapple and mint leaves to your child’s water to make it a little more fun to drink.

Look after your tot’s teeth

Another study by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health shows that oral infections can increase your risk of autoimmune diseases. Help your toddler brush his teeth every morning and night and make regular appointments with your child’s dentist.

ALSO SEE: When should my baby go to the dentist  

Get a pet (if you don’t have one already)

Studies show that sharing your home with a pet an improve your immune system and reduce your chances of developing allergies or asthma.

Animals also reduces stress levels (and stress can sabotage your immune system).

Natural ways to boost toddler's immune system

ALSO SEE: Thinking of getting a pet? Here are the best dogs for kids

Cut down on sugar

Yes, we know – sugar is how you sometimes bribe your kids so you can get work done, but according to this study, too much sugar can wreak havoc on your gut health, which is bad for your immune system. Sugar also leads to inflammation throughout the body.

This doesn’t mean you should take away all sweets – there are healthier alternatives you can make for your toddler. Try the below recipes as a fun baking project with your tot this weekend:

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