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Top 5 Immune Boosting Foods for Kids

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Top 5 Immune Boosting Foods for Kids

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Do you know that some foods can help in improving the immunity of your child? Read the article below to learn the details of such foods.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At December 11, 2018
Reviewed AtJuly 27, 2023


Children these days are more susceptible to different infections like the common cold, cough, fever, diarrhea, etc., due to faulty eating patterns and junk foods as they are unaware of the unhygienic conditions under which they are prepared. Therefore, awareness about consuming foods that will boost children’s immunity is essential to prevent them from various illnesses. Good immunity is significant as it protects the child from multiple diseases and infections.

What Are the Immune Enhancer Food Items for Kids?

Good immunity can be developed by eating the following groups of food:

  • Fruits And Vegetables: Blue, purple, and green colored fruits and vegetables contain a pigment called antioxidants which protect your child from various infections by strengthening their immune system. Encourage your kid to eat different types of fruits and vegetables with different colors, which provide your child with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and C, strengthening your child's immunity. For example, fruits could be cut into slices, mixed with yogurt, and given to your child. It will provide your child with essential fiber and strengthen your kid's gut.

Citrus fruits are rich in protective antioxidants like vitamin C that help protect cells and assist healing. Protective antioxidants support your immune system and make you less vulnerable to illness. Oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and tangerines are your most loyal flu fighters.

Strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are not just colorful and tasty, but also nutritious! Packed with antioxidants, berries fight against free radicals in the body, thereby strengthening your child’s immune system. Some kids may be allergic to berries, so do keep a watch on that. Add berries in puddings or yogurt as you cannot overlook the importance of a balanced diet.

  • Good Fats: Good fats like almonds, walnuts, garden cress seeds, and flaxseeds give your child omega-3 fatty acids, an important antioxidant to prevent obesity-related health problems. Recently, newspapers have reported cardiac arrest in teens due to consumption of excess bad fats, which are present in junk foods like burgers, fries, samosa, pasta, and pizza. Therefore, it is essential to replace these bad fats with good fats, hence strengthening your child's immune system.

  • Proteins: Proteins are available in milk and milk products such as cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, and non-vegetarian sources like chicken, fish, and eggs. They build immunity for your child by enhancing wound healing. If there is a lack of protein in your child's diet, your child is prone to the risk of internal bleeding, and also external wounds take time to heal.

  • Iron: Iron comes from green leafy vegetables like spinach, garden-cress seeds, and non-veg foods like chicken, eggs, and fish. Lack of iron may lead to anemia in your child and cause lethargy, restlessness, and lack of concentration. Therefore, it is imperative to include rich sources of iron in your kid's diet.

  • Calcium: Calcium comes from milk and milk products, seafood like fish, sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables, etc. Calcium plays a crucial role in developing and strengthening your child's bones. Lack of calcium in your child's diet may make them prone to rickets with symptoms like bowed legs and knocked knees. Also, it may disrupt enamel development in your child, leading to various dental issues. Lack of calcium in your kid's diet may also hamper your kid's performance in sports due to symptoms like back pain and pain in the bones and hips. Therefore, it is crucial to include good sources of calcium in your kid's diet.

  • Vitamins and Minerals: Nuts and oilseeds possess abundant quantities of vitamin A and E, besides omega-3 fats. They act as strong antioxidants and decrease the chances of inflammation in the body by protecting it from oxidative damage.

An adequate quantity of almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds can be incorporated into your child’s daily diet. They can be taken between meals, as salad, or as nut butter.

Sunlight, an excellent reserve of Vitamin D, aids in the functioning of T-cells in the body. Other food groups that provide vitamin D are milk and dairy products, fortified cereals, eggs, cheese, and mushrooms.

  • Probiotics and Prebiotics: Gut health also has a huge impact on the immune system. Probiotics (good bacteria) and prebiotics (nutrients that serve as food to good bacteria) enhance the immune response to diseases and render anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects. Some of the good reserves of probiotics and prebiotics are yogurt, buttermilk, onion, garlic, banana, barley, oats, and flaxseeds.

What Are the Top Five Immune Boosting Foods for Kids?

The top five immune-boosting foods for kids are as follows:

  • Turmeric: This spice has been used for ages for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects. It can be taken with milk as an additive and also in other preparations and recipes. It boosts the child’s immunity.

  • Mushrooms: They are one of the main sources of zinc which serve as an immune system-boosting mineral. It aids in white blood cell production and helps in fighting infections and enhances immunity in children. Mushrooms specifically help in treating and preventing the common cold, flu, and other infections. Various types of mushrooms carry different antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-carcinogenic effects.

  • Eggs: Eggs are regarded as whole food. It is one of the certain foods to hold vitamin D naturally. It is packed with many essential vitamins and minerals, proteins, omega-3 fats, antioxidants; and nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and selenium.

  • Spinach: Spinach is famous among kids as Popeye, the sailor man’s food. It seems that Popeye knew that spinach is loaded with vitamins and minerals that strengthen the immune system and also contain vitamins A, E, C, and K, folate, manganese, zinc, selenium, and iron. It assists in stabilizing blood sugar levels and decreases the chances of cancer. It can be ingested as juice or smoothies, though spinach nuggets are also a favorable option.

  • Sweet Potatoes: This sweet and starchy root vegetable is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and beta-carotene. The abundant quantities of antioxidants present in them provide protection to the body from many chronic illnesses. They also increase the count of white blood cells in the body and support the activity of killer cells. They are also a great source of vitamin C and support the immune system of adults as well as children. Sweet potatoes can be incorporated into pancakes, muffins, soups, or in an Indian way as chaat or tikki.


It is highly imperative for children to have good immunity, which can be simply improved by incorporating certain foods in their diet in optimal amounts. Hence, appropriate measures should be taken by parents and caregivers to fulfill this requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Can I Boost My Child’s Immunity?

To ensure that children remain healthy, parents can follow a few simple steps:
- Giving children a healthy and well-balanced diet.
- Ensure that the kids get sufficient sleep.
- Children must be kept active throughout the day.
- Keep the children stress-free.
- Follow vaccination schedules.
- Ensure the kids follow simple precautions such as washing hands and using masks in a crowded environment.


What Can I Give My 5-Year-Old to Boost His Immune System?

Providing children with a healthy and balanced diet ensures good health and strong immunity. Parents must encourage their children to eat seven different fruits and vegetables daily. Whole grains (a wide selection), food containing vitamins such as vitamins A and E, and minerals must be included in their diet. In addition, parents must not expose their children to processed food at a young age and try to avoid giving kids five years or under processed food.


What Vitamins Keep Kids From Getting Sick?

Certain vitamins and nutrients can help children maintain good health and immunity. Vitamin C-rich fruits such as oranges and lime can help boost children's natural defenses. Vitamin D is another essential substance that the little ones can get by soaking up the sunshine during summer. As a wide array of vitamins (including vitamins A, C, and D) are needed to keep the immune system healthy, taking multivitamins can come in handy to boost children's immunity.


Why Does My Kid Get Sick So Often?

Kids are more prone to infections once they start school and until the age of seven or eight. The main cause of frequent colds and illnesses is the fact that children are constantly exposed to new viruses all the time. Germs are everywhere, no matter how often the areas are cleaned or sanitized. In addition, kids with low immunity fall sick often as their body's defense mechanism is weak. Thus ensuring that all children take healthy nutrition-rich food is essential.


How Do You Prevent Colds in Children?

Many viruses cause colds and frequently mutate, which cannot be avoided. There is also no specific vaccination for colds. Thus, colds in children cannot be prevented completely. However, the frequency of colds and illnesses can be reduced by following a few steps:
- Keeping distance from anyone with a cold.
- Washing hands frequently.
- Children must be encouraged to cough into a tissue or their elbows.
- Avoiding sharing towels, glasses, and utensils with a person with a cold.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet (including vitamins and other nutrients).
- Take measures to boost the children's immunity.


How Do I Know if My Child Has a Weak Immune System?

There are a few symptoms that indicate that the child's immunity is low:
- The child constantly feels tired and stressed.
- The child catches coughs and colds easily.
- The child has frequent diarrhea and stomach aches.
- Frequent infections and fever.
- Poor wound healing.
- Frequent body, muscle, and joint aches.
- The child seems to be on some medication or the other.


How Can I Get My Kid to Gain Weight?

To help children gain weight, increase their portion sizes at mealtimes, especially if they consume carbohydrates and proteins. Avoid giving kids junk food. Instead, one must include eggs, peanut butter, other nut butters, beans, hummus, whole-wheat bread or pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, whole milk, and milk products in the child's diet to help them gain a healthy weight.


Should I Give Multivitamins to My Child?

Multivitamins are not necessary for most children who are healthy and growing normally, including picky eaters. A well-balanced diet provides all the necessary nutrients for the kids. Vitamins can be given to children if they are deficient or are at risk of deficiency after consultation with their pediatrician. Excessive vitamins can lead to toxicity in children.


Why Is My Child So Skinny?

Some children are naturally thin or skinny. They may fill it out once they get older. Genetics also plays a major role. The children will most likely be thin if the parents are thin or skinny. Children who are born prematurely are usually skinny or underweight. Inadequate food intake by the kids and picky eating can also result in skinny kids.


When Should My Child Drink Milk?

Kids can be given milk in the morning (at the beginning of the day), evening, or before sleep. Drinking milk ensures that the kids get sufficient calories and nutrients such as calcium, minerals, and vitamins such as vitamin D. Milk stimulates growth in kids and supports healthy weight gain and muscle building.


Does Drinking Milk at Night Increase Weight?

Milk is an important drink to be given to children as it contributes to the child's healthy growth and development. Though late-night snacking is associated with weight gain in adults, drinking milk before bed (at night) does not cause any major increase in the child's weight. Giving underweight children whole milk and milk products can help them gain weight.
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Quadros Krystel Godfrey Lavina
Quadros Krystel Godfrey Lavina


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