Donna Peters column: Boost your child’s energy and their immune system

Now is a good time to think about your childrens health as the new school term has just started.
Now is a good time to think about your childrens health as the new school term has just started.

I can’t believe it is September, where did the summer holidays go? Hope you managed to top up those vitamin D levels with a little sunshine, because the nights are already starting to close in as autumn approaches.

It’s also a good time to think about our children’s health and what we can

do to help boost their

energy levels and immune systems.

Unfortunately, for many, they go back to school after the summer and before long they get a bit snotty, start with a cough and a cold, end up tired and tearful – and this is all before half term!

Always happens this time of year… Everyone gets ill… It’s the change of weather… Well let me tell you – no it’s not!

When a child gets a cough or a cold, their immune system should spring into action and deal with it. When a bacteria or virus enters their system, their immune system should automatically recognise it as being dangerous and produce antibodies to kill it. However, if their immune system isn’t working as well as it should be, this is when the bugs aren’t killed and illness can occur.

Every child is different; some have health conditions that require very specific care, but for those in general good health here is my basic ‘plan of attack’ to get the immune system working properly and ready for autumn and winter.

1. Important nutrients – try to include the following consisting of two to three portions of fruit, three to four portions of vegetables per day and three to four portions of omega 3 fats per week:

B vitamins – (energy) – wholegrains, vegetables, bananas (B6), oily fish and eggs.

Vitamin C – (immunity) – strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and oranges.

Vitamin D – (immunity, growth and development, mood) – sunlight, oily fish, eggs and butter.

l Public Health England recommends supplementing children with vitamin D during autumn and winter.

Vitamin E – (energy, immunity and cognitive function) – almonds, spinach, sweet potato, avocado, sunflower seeds and olive oil.

Zinc – (immunity and cognitive function) – lamb, chicken, pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, chickpeas, eggs, spinach and cashews.

Magnesium – (energy) – dark green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, almonds, bananas, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, eggs, salmon and avocado.

Iron – (energy, immunity, cognitive function, growth and development) – dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, grass-fed beef, dark chocolate, spinach, sardines, pistachios and raisins.

Essential Fatty Acids – (energy, immunity, cognitive function, mood) – oily, avocado, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, white fish and egg yolks.

2. Reduce sugar intake – no brainer!

3. Get at least 30 minutes of exposure to the sun every day.

4. Drink plain water.

5. Consider supplementing with a good multi vitamin and mineral, vitamin D (with K2) and omega 3.

6. Rest – Allow free time to just play/relax and

make sure they get enough sleep.

If you need support with strengthening your child’s immune system or maybe you have a ‘picky eater’ and need some ideas for healthy child-friendly meals, do get in touch.

Free 30 minute consultations are available via my website – www.donnapetersnutrition.co.uk.