Feed him healthy

These su­per­hero nu­tri­ents will boost your baby’s im­mune sys­tem to fight off germs

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Contents -

How to boost baby’s im­mune sys­tem

It might still be sum­mer, but now is the time to start boost­ing your bub’s im­mune sys­tem for the cooler months. And you can do this very eas­ily, by feed­ing him all the nu­tri­ents he needs to keep his in­fec­tion-fight­ing sys­tem in tip-top con­di­tion. His im­mune sys­tem won’t reach full ma­tu­rity un­til he’s at least five years old, so giv­ing it all the nu­tri­ents it needs to func­tion well will help him stay healthy.

When he was born, the struc­ture of your baby’s im­mune sys­tem was al­ready in place. But he’s still busy build­ing up all the good bac­te­ria in his di­ges­tive sys­tem and the an­ti­bod­ies he needs to fight off germs and stay well. Think of it as a newly built house, that still needs furnishing. As his body en­coun­ters germs through ill­ness and vac­ci­na­tions he’ll start to de­velop spe­cific an­ti­bod­ies. But he’ll de­velop most of his im­mu­nity be­tween six months and three years, and what you feed him can re­ally make a dif­fer­ence.

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion rec­om­mends ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing up to six months, and breast­milk nat­u­rally con­tains an­ti­bod­ies. Af­ter six months of age, you can start in­tro­duc­ing your lit­tle one to solids. Here’s a guide to get­ting the big­gest im­mune-boost­ing nu­tri­ent hits in his pint-sized por­tions, from pae­di­atric nu­tri­tion­ist Sara Pa­tience.

In­fec­tion-fight­ing IRON

Your baby needs iron to trans­port oxy­gen around his body to help his im­mune sys­tem work well. The store of iron he was born with only lasts six months and, as his body can’t make iron, he’ll need to get it from some food ev­ery day. If you can, give him iron in ev­ery meal – add a ta­ble­spoon of red meat wher­ever you can. If he’s not keen, try blend­ing it into a paste when you make spaghetti bolog­naise. Dark poul­try meat has far more iron than white, so an­other sim­ple way to up the iron in your child’s diet is to use thighs in­stead of breasts. Chick­peas are an­other good source: try mash­ing a ta­ble­spoon to make hum­mus and serve with red cap­sicum as the vi­ta­min C will help his body ab­sorb the iron more eas­ily.

An­ti­body-build­ing VI­TA­MIN A

Vi­ta­min A helps your young­ster’s body build in­fec­tion-fight­ing an­ti­bod­ies and white blood cells to at­tack in­vad­ing germs. Or­ange fruit and veg­eta­bles such as car­rots and man­darins are rich in it. In fact, a tod­dler’s en­tire daily al­lowance can be found in just a third of a sweet potato. Try mak­ing some tasty wedges by bak­ing some with a driz­zle of olive oil.

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