The 10 Best Foods to Boost Children’s Immune Systems

You might find yourself ordering from your local restaurants a lot during these uncertain times. It’s essential to find a balance and make sure your family is also eating healthy foods as much as possible. It may not prevent COVID-19, but building up your family’s immune system will help decrease the chance of someone getting a common illness and needing to go to the doctor during this crazy time.

We looked for foods that have a natural ability to help the immune system function to the best of its ability. Many of the following foods are rich in vitamins and minerals. They also have the ability to help gut health, which is essential for the immune system to fight off harmful bacteria that might enter the body. It could be hard to find some of the foods on this list due to shortages in grocery stores, so incorporate these whenever you can.

Healthy immune systems need regular nourishment, exercise, and sleep to function well. We can’t help your family with the other two, but this list of 10 foods have been proven to help improve the immune system and allow it to fight off common sickness.

10. Turmeric

Turmeric is a fantastic spice that you should add to your family’s diet during the cold and flu season. It can boost the immune system and help prevent your kids from getting sick. Turmeric  helps the body fight off bacteria that may enter the body. 

It might seem intimidating to cook with turmeric, but you can add a pinch of it in a breakfast scramble or sprinkle it on roasted vegetables with dinner. You can also add it to soup to a depth or add it to a smoothie that the kids have in the morning with breakfast.

9. Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants that are great for protecting against viruses, infections, and sickness. Green tea supports the creation of white blood cells, which help the body fight infection. 

You could make a pot of green tea before the family goes to bed to help relax the mind and release stress. You can also add it to a green shake that your kids drink in the morning or make green tea cupcakes for a semi-healthy dessert.

8. Broccoli

You can pass on the “eat your green vegetables” tradition to your children by adding broccoli to their diet. Broccoli is full of antioxidants and vitamins that are known to boost the immune system. Feeding your body, the right amount of B vitamins will help the immune system run smoothly and protect against common illness. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin C, which is also very good for boosting the immune system. 

You might think that it will be hard to get your kids to eat broccoli, but you can hide it in a tasty green smoothie, chop it up finely and add it to a stir fry with some of your kid’s other favorite foods like chicken and rice you can even hide it in a veggie pizza.  

7. Spinach

Spinach is not something that your kids are asking you to make for dinner, but adding it to their diet would be very beneficial for boosting their immune system. It’s full of antioxidants and beta carotene, which help the immune system protect the body from infections. 

Spinich might not be your childrens first choice but you can find ways to get them to eat it. Add it to a smoothie, they won’t even be able to taste it if you mix in their favorite berries. You could also try something new and make a breakfast pizza with a little spinach on top. It’s important to remember that spinach loses some of its nutrients the longer it’s cooked so its best to serve it raw as much as possible.

6. Red Bell Pepper

Red peppers are a good source of vitamin A and E and contain more than three times the amount of vitamin C than oranges. Vitamin C helps fight off common illness by boosting the immune system’s ability to function. 

Throw some red peppers in a stir fry, make a burrito bowl with sautéed peppers for taco Tuesday or make a breakfast scramble with vegetables to add a little more nutrients to their meal.  

5. Sweet Potato

Sweet Potatoes do more for the body than you might realize. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also help maintain gut health by getting rid of bad bacteria that may cause your kids to get sick. Sweet potato is a good source of beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A. A healthy immune system needs vitamin A to prevent inflammation in the gut, which could stop the immune system from doing its job. 

Make a batch of sweet potato chips for snack time, make a sweet potato mash for dinner instead of having regular mashed potatoes, or create a sweet potato crumb cake for dessert.

4. Almonds

If you’re looking for a new healthy snack to give your children, try introducing them to almonds. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals which work together to boost the immune system. Pickier kids might have a hard time getting the right amount of iron and protein they need in their diet, cooking with almonds will help them get the recommended amount to help their immune system function properly. One of the biggest benefits of eating almonds is the ability to increase white blood cell production. The body uses white blood cells to get rid of infections and illnesses. 

You can give your kids a handful of almonds on top of their yogurt in the morning so that they will have the energy to help them make it through their day. Add them to yogurt for a healthy breakfast or on top of a salad for dinner to add an extra crunch.

3. Yogurt

Yogurt is full of probiotics that fight off bad bacteria in the body, which helps boost the immune system. Fighting off the bacteria allows the immune system to perform its main function, which is to make sure that bacteria do not get into the bloodstream. In addition to promoting gut health, yogurt also is an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. Another benefit is that yogurt can be added to so many different things, and the flavors are virtually endless.

 Make delicious frozen treats for your kids to enjoy on hot summer days or add it to a breakfast smoothie, make a parfait for dessert, or throw some into a sauce to eat with dinner.  

2. Citrus

Your body can’t store vitamin C, so consuming some form of citrus regularly will be beneficial for your kid’s health. We need vitamin C to help increase the function of white blood cells which protect the body from harmful bacteria and infection. Oranges, tangerines, lemon, lime, and grapefruit are some forms of citrus that you can add to your kid’s diet. Lemon is believed to have antiviral and antibacterial properties that help fight off common illness and infections. 

You can give your kids natural orange juice in the morning with breakfast or add a fresh squeeze of lemon on fish with dinner to give your family that extra touch of vitamin C for the day.

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are a superfood that doesn’t “taste healthy.” They are sweet, delicious, and full of antioxidants, which boost the immune system by protecting the body from free radicals that damage cells. In addition to boosting the immune system, blueberries also promote heart health, brain function and lower blood pressure, and many other things. 

Throw blueberries in healthy oatmeal pancakes. Let your kids make their own fruit parfait for breakfast with blue berries, their favorite yogurt and granola. Blueberries are also very good on their own and make an easy healthy snack for older kids.