by Marleny Buritica

One of the daily concerns of parents is how to protect their children from diseases. Many resort to antibiotics, vitamins, vaccinations, and food, but it is not always possible to prevent children from getting sick by those means only. You can also take preventive measures to strengthen childrens immune systems.

What is the immune
system?

It is the body’s defense system that fights against infection. The immune system attacks invading germs and helps the body stay healthy. It is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. The cells are white blood cells (leukocytes) of two basic types (lymphocytes and phagocytes), which combine to find and destroy the organisms that cause disease.

The immune system is responsible for creating antibodies to locate and neutralize disease. In this way, the immune system helps to destroy bacteria, viruses, and infected cells (Hirsch, 2019).

The immune system from birth

From pregnancy onwards, the immune system begins to work in favor of the fetus; this is why the future mother must take care of her health by eating properly, and, as a result of that, she will have a positive influence on her baby’s development. After birth, the child needs as much care as when in the womb. Regular feeding and contact with the mother are very important for good development of the baby, producing positive effects throughout life. It is well known that the more love you give to a child (in addition to good feeding and physical care), the stronger the child’s immune system will be.

Strengthening the immune
system through food

The immune system is constantly developing throughout life in order to cope with the different diseases that appear; therefore, it needs a good supply of nutrients at its disposal.

Nourishing food and a healthy digestive system are essential.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breast milk as the only food for the baby during the first six months of life. After that age, it is advisable to have a diet based on vegetables, legumes, cereals, and proteins—and to stay away from junk food. It is also important to eat fruits, which contain vitamins A, C, and E, and to have good hydration (Hernandez, 2011).

Conclusions

Based on the previous facts, we conclude that:

  • A healthy pregnancy should produce a strong baby.
  • Breastfeeding your child, for at least the first six months of life, will result in healthy growth and an optimal childhood and adolescence.
  • A balanced diet will strengthen the immune system so it can prevent and defend itself against diseases.

Recommendations

  • Be aware of the importance of the immune system and how essential it is to properly strengthen it by having a balanced diet and other good living habits. Diseases—viruses too—are becoming more and more aggressive and deadly, and it is vital to strengthen our immune systems. It depends on us alone to keep them strong and capable of defending us and our children.

References (in Spanish)

Sistema Inmunitario para niños: (Hirsch, 2019)
https://kidshealth.org/es/kids/immune-esp.html
Alimentación para potenciar tus defensas: (Hernandez, 2011)
https://www.webconsultas.com/dieta-y-nutricion/dieta-equilibrada/fortalecer-las-defensas-de-ninos-y-mayores-5335

by Marleny Buritica
Physical Therapist | Colombia

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