Are you worried about your child's low immunity level?

My neighbour Mrs. Gopalakrishnan insisted that her 9-year-old son was always the ?first to catch flu'. Our conversations in the elevator centred around leaky noses, ear aches, stomach upsets and bouts of fever! I explained to her that germs are part of a child's world. Children are exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, and you cannot ?germ-proof' a child. However, you can equip him to cope by improving immunity levels.

Immunity is a combined function of the lymphatic system, the bloodstream, the digestive system and the skin, all working in combat mode to defend the body from invaders.

Immunity downers

Stress

Improper diet

Sedentary habits

Inadequate rest and sleep

Pesticides

Food additives

Pollution

Immunity boosters

Good hygiene

Make sure your children wash their hands after returning from school or from the playground.

The sleep fortifier

Lack of sleep reduces immunity. So make sure your child gets 8 to10 hours of sleep every day.

Laugh and hug your child to good health

Believe it or not, regular hugs and kisses keep bugs at bay. Studies show that laughter and positive thinking boost immunity. Stress and unhappiness lowers a child's resistance to disease. The more children laugh and enjoy life, the better their immune function.

A balanced, well-planned diet (include foods with Vitamin C, zinc, iron)

Good digestive health

Regular exercise

Positive attitude

Vital Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin C

All immune system organs and cells rely on specific nutrients to function efficiently. For example, interferon, an anti-viral and anti-cancer chemical, secreted by tissues throughout the body, needs Vitamin C for its production. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and sprouts are a rich source of antioxidant Vitamin C.

Iron

If your child is tired and low on energy, it could be the sign of an iron deficiency. Iron increases haemoglobin in the blood, so a drop in haemoglobin levels can lead to anaemia and fatigue. Green leafy vegetables, beans and meat are good sources of iron.

Zinc

Zinc is necessary for cell division, growth and wound healing. Almost every cell in the body contains zinc. Adequate levels of zinc are vital to health and a deficiency can cause loss of appetite, reduced resistance to infection.

Eggs, milk, whole wheat foods, grains and peanuts are good sources of zinc.

The writer is a certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist.