How To Boost Your Child's Immunity With Indian Food
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In these times of chaos we wake up every morning to an increasing number of Covid-19 cases confirmed. Despite the feelings of helplessness and stress that this can cause, we have to recognise that we can only focus on what is in our control - and that’s taking preventative health care measures by FOCUSING ON IMMUNITY!
How do we do this? By using what you already have in your kitchen! It’s that simple. Indian food is so incredibly rich in spices and immunity boosting foods. Our food has come about as a result of traditional wisdom and ancient Ayurveda. The techniques of processing and preservation that we use today have therapeutic effects that have been established by the many generations before us.
The first powerful immunity booster is the traditional Tulsi Plant – customary to every Indian household, they are auspicious and also important for their medicinal properties. Tulsi leaves soothe fever, headache, sore throat, cold, cough, flu. They are great for blood purification as they help flush out toxins and cleanse our internal systems. It is best to give your child 4-5 leaves first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, however if they don’t eat the leaves you can also make a juice of it (don’t strain) and mix with honey.
Turmeric is another immunity booster that is already in our kitchen. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and also an antioxidant. It helps with detoxification and the healthy development of new cells. It is not easily absorbed into the bloodstream as curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is fat-soluble, which means when mixed with water, it clumps up and is therefore not in a state to be absorbed. So consuming it with fats such as oil (e.g. coconut oil or ghee) and black pepper, both ingredients that we actively add to our daily Indian food, will help with absorption. Traditional turmeric milk is also great as long as the milk is full fat. It should be noted that the milk we offer our children should be full fat regardless. Heating also enhances turmeric’s overall antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, cooking with turmeric, freshly ground black pepper and oils together is a great combination to boost your absorption of the anti-inflammatory agents in turmeric.
Another immunity booster found in every Indian house is ginger - it relieves pain, decreases nausea, improves digestion and enhances immune function to help protect against illness and infection. When used in moderation, ginger is perfectly safe for babies. You can start adding it to their foods and curries from 9 months of age. It can be added to soups, smoothies or a ginger and garlic khichdi can be offered for cold relief. I highly recommend following a three-day-wait rule to check if your baby is sensitive or intolerant to ginger. As they grow older, post 2 years of age when the first signs of flu start to appear in your child ginger juice, combined with honey, can be offered as a home remedy for cough and cold. Inhalation of ginger vapour is also found to provide effective relief from cold and cough in children. To make this, boil ginger in water and have your child inhale the steam.
All these foods are simple, easily available and completely natural, so you can confidently offer your child food from our humble Indian cuisine and know that it is strengthening their immunity!
Note: Kindly note that this is meant to be an informative reference point and does not replace the consultation of a pediatrician.
Aditi is a Child Nutritionist and helps put fun back in food and meal times as she support parents and families confidently nourish their children. She firmly believes HOW you feed your kids is equally as important as WHAT you feed them. Whether you choose to follow Baby-Led Weaning or Spoon-Feeding, she has helped families build balanced meals for their children and implement strategies that help them develop a positive relationship with food.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.