With this Coronavirus pandemic, many parents are researching what foods and habits they can add to their routine to improve their child’s immunity. We know, however, that there have been many fakes news on how to prevent diseases and strengthen the body’s defenses. Some even speak of miraculous solutions that promise to improve the immune system with therapies and capsules. In fact, some medications do help, but you need to be aware that everything must have the approval from your doctor and it needs to be monitored. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of some myths and truths about children’s immunity.

Does supplementation help the immune system?

Supplementation only helps when needed and with a prescription from the doctor. Vitamins and minerals are very important to keep the body strong. However, the ideal is to get the necessary amount to supply the body’s needs through good nutrition. Supplementation should be an option only when there is some type of deficiency proven with examinations and medical diagnosis.

In many cases, people use supplements as a way to replace healthy foods, which are rich in nutrients, and are the result of a bad relationship with food. In addition, excess vitamins can be harmful to health. If we analyze the amount of vitamin that comes in capsules and medications, we will notice that it is 300 times greater than what adults need to eat daily, imagine if you give them to a child!

Is eating healthy important? 

We always hear that eating a certain food will strengthen our immune system, but consuming too much of certain foods is no guarantee that it will help keep your defense cells strong. The same is also recommended for herbal therapies. The ideal is to have a balanced diet with nutritional monitoring. There are many nutrients that help maintain the body’s defense cells.

It is important to understand that having a good immune system depends on a set of factors; having a good diet, regulated sleep, doing physical activities, and having a healthy and peaceful lifestyle are the biggest contributions to having a good immunity system since childhood. 

Children who have contact with nature have a better immune system

Another important point, in addition to maintaining a healthy diet, is that children today have less contact with pathogens, which are important for it to create antibodies. In the past, children played outdoors, had contact with nature, the dirt, and the grass. And because of this lack of contact with the environment, there are currently countless children who have developed many allergies. Recent research shows how children who live in homes with a pet, because of exposure to hair and certain germs, are less likely to develop respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis!

Is immunity related to the emotional state?

Some factors involving parents, too, are important for maintaining the healthy immune system of the little ones. One example is stress, which releases cortisol causing an imbalance of the immune system. Often, stress is passed on from parents to children and children end up absorbing the tension. 

An essential factor for a child to have great immunity in their early years is exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life. The ideal is to maintain breastfeeding even with the introduction of food since the mother’s defense cells that have been produced throughout her life will continue to be passed on to the little one. It is as if it were an immunity by default that the baby gains while developing its immune system. In addition, breast milk is rich in nutrients and meets all the baby’s needs. Of course, we understand that breastfeeding isn’t an option for many parents and it is reassuring that many formulas today, are close to breastmilk quality.

Another factor that strengthens the immune system of babies is having a natural birth, as the newborn has access to several fungi and microbiota that are important for his intestinal system. This is the subject of our next article.