Eating healthy food can help you boost your immune system. It is a message that has been pushed forward as the global fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues.
What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to prevent, fight, and recover from virus infections, as healthy food is important for supporting and boosting immunity. This is a message that concerns many parents looking to keep their children’s immune systems strong against the virus.
Food production company, Danone, has conducted a live online discussion to address the important topics in children’s health and how to boost their immune systems. The discussions featured paediatrician and nutrition expert Nabil Fawzy, influencer and nutrition expert Nourhan Kandil, and actress and nutrition enthusiast Kinda Alloush.
The online discussion follows the initiative kicked off by Danone and film star Alloush, with the participation of paediatricians and experts in the field of children nutrition. It aims to provide mothers with the advice they need to keep their children healthy.
Nabil Fawzy stressed the importance of the child’s psychological wellbeing and how it could impact the child’s immune system.
“Daily exercise along with a balanced diet, including fresh fruit and vegetables, and fortified with a lot of vitamins, is also recommended,” Fawzy said.
During the live discussion, Alloush highlighted the challenges of preparing healthy meals on a daily basis, and how kids often resist eating healthy food.
In response to that, Kandil explained how mothers can try to change the foods their children normally like to eat, and replace them with healthier options.
“They need to be involved in the preparation and cooking process,” she said, “Mothers teach children how to enjoy healthy food by constantly showing them fun ways to prepare it and offering them a good variety of colours and textures to develop their palate.”
Parents should also give their children a range of natural herbs and spices, including ginger, turmeric, honey, cinnamon, to ensure they stay healthy. Kandil clarified, however, that “there is no magic herb or spice that will turn our children into supermen or superwomen”.
Kandil added that the immune system comprises of many parts, with a healthy, balanced diet not the only part. She noted that good quality sleep is also one of the main contributors to a healthy immune system.
“As for herbs and spices that have beneficial effects on general health but may not be very palatable, they can simply be hidden and incorporated into daily food and drink,” Kandil explained.
Fawzy also brought attention to a fundamental point during the time of the pandemic, and that is the major bug-bear of ‘screen time’.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should practice “no screen use before the age of 18 months”. Parents can then monitor and stay with their children as they use screen-based technologies between the ages of 18 and 24 months. Following the child reaching the 24 month mark, parents should “limit the screen time…to just one hour a day of high-quality programming”.
Nabil added, “Excessive screen time and exposure to radiation may have adverse reactions on children, such as poor vision, anxiety, and even psychologically autistic behaviour.”
“Danone will continue to bring together key opinion leaders and experts in the childcare and nutrition field, to answer the questions and concerns that mothers might be asking themselves to raise their children ready for tomorrow,” said Hanan Nayel, Danone’s General Secretary Director. “This is one among many initiatives carried out by Danone to transfer knowledge to consumers and the public at large, with nutritional information relevant to children and the whole family.”