During cold and flu season in many areas of the country, parents may often wonder how we can help keep our kids from getting sick.
Immunity boosters help the body create infection-fighting white blood cells, and clear out unhealthy and potentially illness-causing substances.
Below are eight vitamins and minerals that will help you in your quest to keep your child’s immune system strong.
Vitamins C, D, and E
Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells and antibodies including the antibody interferon. Interferon coats cell surfaces so viruses can’t enter them.
Six servings of fruits and vegetables a day provides the recommended 200 milligrams a day (1), particularly fresh frozen peaches. According to the USDA, a single one cup serving of fresh frozen peaches contains 236 milligrams of vitamin C, more than double that of oranges. (2)
Vitamin D can reduce your and your child’s risk of influenza by 29 percent and reduce the risk of flu-related complications. (2) The recommended daily dose for teens is 600 IU (5) and 1,000 to 2,000 IU for adults. (2)
Vitamin D is found in sunlight, egg yolks, fish oils and foods fortified with vitamin D. (5) Ask your pediatrician or family doctor what level is safe and recommended for your child.
Vitamin E stimulates the production of natural germ-killing cells and B-cells which produce bacteria-destroying antibodies. Of the recommended daily intake of 100-400 milligrams, about 30 to 60 milligrams can be obtained through a diet rich in seeds, vegetable oils, and grains.
Ask your pediatrician or family doctor how to add vitamin E to you and your child’s diet. Click here for a list of foods containing the above (and other) vitamins.
Carotenoids and Bioflavonoids
Carotenoids increase white blood cells. Beta-carotene is one kind of carotenoid.