Amid the Covid-19 pandemic and all the restrictions it’s imposing on daily lives, one of your top concerns is no doubt to ensure your children maintain perfectly healthy immunity that will help them fight off different kinds of infections. Many foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are known to be naturally rich in key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support immunity. Equally important are foods fortified with vitamins and minerals that not only support your child’s immunity but also enhance their overall growth and development.
This is why a crucial beverage in your child’s daily diet needs to be milk. Yes, milk. And not just any type of milk: Fortified milk powder that is prepared specifically to meet the nutritional needs of your children aged five and above.
While the link between dairy consumption and immunity is still an area of active research, current evidence suggests that consuming dairy products can support healthy immunity due to their nutrient-rich offerings. Multiple nutrients such as zinc, selenium, and vitamins A and B12 found naturally in milk and dairy products are crucial for the optimal functioning of the immune system.
The nutritional superiority of fortified milk in powder format is also well known. Powder milk, unlike the liquid variety, can be fortified with pretty much any vitamin and mineral in the right quantities to allow high absorption in the body. Choosing a fortified milk powder specifically designed for your child’s age will reassure you that the amount of fortification it contains will help them meet their daily nutritional needs.
Having said that, let’s dive into the key nutrients supporting and maintaining a healthy immune system in the body.
Protein plays a key role in supporting immunity, especially in helping the body heal and recover. Proteins stemming from dairy products are known to be of high quality, as they supply essential amino acids, making dairy products and milk an ideal choice for immunity boosting.
Natural food sources of protein also include lean meat and poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, unsalted nuts, and seeds.
One large egg contains 6.2g of protein, which covers more than 20 per cent of the daily needs of an average eight-year-old.
Studies over the past 10 years have identified iron as a fundamental mineral for the development of a normal immune system.
Natural food sources are red meat, beans and lentils, wholegrain breads and cereals, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Canned sardines are considered an excellent source of iron, second only to chicken liver and beef. Sixty grams of cooked ground beef provide 2.4g of iron, covering about 24 per cent of the daily needs of average 4-8 year-olds.
Zinc is a mineral that helps the immune system function properly and plays a role in healing wounds.
Natural food sources include lean meat, seafood, milk and wholegrain products.
Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food, followed directly by beef.
Vitamin A supports the immune system and protects the body against infection by maintaining the health of tissue in the respiratory system, mouth, stomach and intestines.
Natural food sources are carrots, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, spinach, apricots and eggs.
Sweet potato is among the richest sources of vitamin A. One baked sweet potato with the skin on contains 1,403 mcg of vitamin A, more than three times the daily needs of average 4-8 year-olds
Vitamin C plays a role in stimulating the formation of antibodies that are the body’s defence mechanism against different illnesses. It also enhances iron absorption in the body.
Natural food sources include oranges, red bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, and papaya.
Red bell peppers have twice the amount of vitamin C compared to oranges.
Although balanced nutrition is essential for a strong immune system, no one food can on its own help prevent illness or infection. You can still play a crucial role in supporting your child’s immune system by offering them nutrient-rich foods and the right fortified products every day. Always remember the importance of two daily glasses of fortified powdered milk to help meet all core nutritional needs that may not be met through their regular diet.
After all, it is thanks to your love and the right nutrition that your child gets to grow healthily and happily.