How can immune boosters help our children

Superhero knowledge

Well protected: It is particularly important for children that their defenses function well. Here you can find out everything about how your immune system can best learn to defend itself against infections. And we'll show you what the child's immune system loves: A training plan in 5 steps.

They lurk everywhere: nasty colds, viruses and bacteria that attack the body and health. And as parents, you will have noticed it long ago: 10 to 12 infections per year are quite normal. Nevertheless, there is a lot you can do to avoid colds and flu-like infections. The best tips for parents:

1. Exercise and fresh air

Cold and wet rain, wind or freezing cold: Are you afraid that your child will catch a cold or infect it all the more? The opposite is the case! Even in bad weather during the cold season, you and your child should spend some time outside every day. Because fresh air strengthens the child's immune system. The right clothing is of course important: ideally in an onion look, then you can take something off quickly if you work up a sweat. A little exercise also keeps the metabolism on its toes and also has a positive effect on the immune system. Because running, jumping and romping not only makes children happy, it also creates messenger substances that increase well-being - and which in turn counteract stress that weakens the immune system. And: At least from April to October the sun is sucking in to ensure that we produce enough vitamin D, which supports the normal function of the immune system (see next point).

2. Healthy eating

A healthy and balanced diet contains everything the immune system needs. The immune system is particularly happy about this:

Don't forget to drink:

Many parents pay particular attention to what their children eat. Sufficient fluids are also a decisive factor for our immune system. Because only with "thin" blood can the small immune cells be quickly on the scene. Ideal: water, spritzer or tea. Unsure how much your child should drink? The Research Institute for Child Nutrition recommends around 600 ml for one year olds, around 800 ml for five year olds and around 1 liter a day for ten year olds.

Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables:

It is best to choose seasonal and regional fruits and vegetables that are more nutritious than well-traveled varieties. Basically, children need the same nutrients as adults for a fit immune system. And that's a lot: in addition to vitamin C and zinc, also vitamin D, copper, iron, folic acid, vitamins B12 and B6. The more colorful your child's diet, the more of these nutrients it will take in.

  • Vitamin D supports the immune system (Bikle, 2009). The vitamin is formed through the skin with the help of the sun. In winter, however, the radiation is too low for this. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) has determined that around 60% of the population do not consume enough vitamin D. And: Sure, there must be light protection in the blazing sun. Anyone who uses sunscreen in the transitional period should pay more attention to a balanced diet and foods rich in vitamin D.
  • Ideally, the amount of vegetables should be slightly larger than the amount of fruit, because vegetables contain even more health-promoting substances on average. Unfortunately, most children fail to reach the recommended amount of five children's hands full of fruit and vegetables a day. Does your child not like vegetables? Nevertheless, do not remove carrots, broccoli & Co. from the menu right away. Offer spurned varieties again and again, sometimes as raw vegetables, sometimes pureed in the soup, sometimes as hash browns or gratin.

Whole grains for the intestines:

A large part of our immune system resides in the gut. And even if the exact mechanisms behind it have not yet been fully researched, our intestines probably play an even greater role in health than previously assumed. The gut tastes good: fiber from whole grain bread, brown rice or whole wheat pasta. In addition, fermented foods such as natural yogurt.

3. Strong mind - strong defenses

A long day in kindergarten or after-school care center, afternoon appointments and pressure to perform at school - even children can be stressed. If you are permanently under current, your body will produce stress hormones (cortisol), just like adults, which have been shown to weaken the immune system. So make sure that your children have some leisure time every day. Half an hour of leisurely reading in mom's or grandma's arms, just cuddling on the sofa or just daydreaming - small breaks and lots of love strengthen the soul and health.

4. Destroy every germ? Better not!

Our immune system needs some mess if it is to function well. Excessive hygiene is therefore out of place and promotes allergies. Many studies have now proven this. Of course, a certain amount of cleanliness is important, but a little dust or dirt trains the child's immune system. Everyday contact with intruders of all kinds works like a small vaccination - the immune cells learn something new and react even faster the next time. Aggressive cleaning agents and disinfecting soaps are therefore not necessary - with the exception of noroviruses. Better: Regular soap and natural detergents like vinegar.

Stop viruses: 2 things that will help immediately:

wash your hands: It's no secret, but washing your hands is the best protection against infection.

Ventilate well: Thousands of viruses cavort in warm rooms. On the other hand, ventilation for 5 minutes helps, preferably several times a day.

5. Get enough sleep

Make sure your children get enough sleep. Sleeping well will help support your child's immune system. Researchers have studied how the immune system of bad sleepers reacts to vaccinations. The result: those who slept well and sufficiently had formed significantly more antibodies against the disease than those who slept too short a night. Of course, the need for sleep varies greatly from child to child, but there are guidelines that you can use as a guide.

Average length of sleep for children

1 - 2 years 12.5 hours

3 - 5 years 11.5 hours

6 - 13 years 10 hours

14-17 years 9 hours

Boost the immune system in babies

Every mom gives her baby the important nest protection that protects your child from many pathogens in the first few months. In addition, breast milk is a valuable source of antibodies until the baby has built up its own immune system.

Ill again?

Has your child caught an infection? Sure, that is exhausting for both parents and children. But it's ultimately good for the immune system. Now it can train properly again to become even stronger and more powerful.