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Micro-Nutrients and Immunity

Micro-Nutrients and Immunity

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Micronutrients and immunity go hand in hand. Micronutrients are required for the regular functioning of body systems.

Monday, June 18th, 2018

As your little one grows, micronutrients will act as a backbone in the smooth functioning of the immune system. Micronutrients such as vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium are essential for normal functioning of your baby’s immune system. Lack of micronutrients can affect your baby’s immune system and make them prone to infections and illnesses.

Micronutrients: Source of Immunity Building Nutrients 

From birth to six months of age, breastmilk is the ultimate food for your baby. It contains nutrients, micronutrients, and other beneficial factors. Most significantly, it contains antibodies from the mother that protect the baby and build their immune system. After your baby completes 6 months, introduce solid foods to his/her diet alongside breastmilk. The first three years of your baby’s life represent a phase of rapid growth. So, feed your baby plenty of vegetables and fruits that are full of immune-boosting minerals and vitamins.

How to Include Micronutrients for Building Immunity?

Vitamins, zinc, iron, and calcium contribute to smooth functioning of the immune system. Include them in your baby's meal through foods and strengthen the baby’s resistance to diseases.

Vitamin A is important for the development and maintenance of healthy eyes, skin and immune system. Increase the intake of foods like cheese, eggs, yellow and red vegetables in your baby's meal plans to avoid vitamin A deficiencies. 

A diet consisting of fruits such as oranges, kiwis, berries, and vegetables like tomatoes and broccoli will ensure your baby gets adequate vitamin C. This will aid the formation of healthy connective tissues important for healthy development of organs.  

Vitamin D is vital for the development of healthy teeth, muscles, bones and immune function in your baby. Sun is the primary source of vitamin D. Once your baby moves around, take him outdoors in the morning or evening to get sufficient amount of sunlight. Boiled eggs and fish are also rich in vitamin D. 

Iron plays a vital role in the growth of a child. It is required for a healthy brain, to develop cognitive and motor skills between 6 months to 24 months of age. Also, iron is essential for the formation of haemoglobin- an important component in the formation of healthy blood cells which does transportation of oxygen to the various parts of the body. Lack of Iron can lead to a condition of anaemia, which slows down the growth processes and leads to constant weakness. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional disorders found in children and women. So how to ensure your baby gets adequate iron? Include dark green vegetables, iron-fortified cereals, and eggs to their diet. When children start chewing food efficiently, it is time to add small portions of meat to their meals, as it is rich in iron.

Calcium is essential for child's development. It promotes growth and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. And, has an important role in nerve and muscle function. Milk, yoghurt, cheese are some of the foods you should add to your baby's diet to ensure that the baby gets the recommended dietary calcium amounts.

 Zinc is another micronutrient that is essential for normal neurological and immune function. You can ensure your baby gets sufficient quantity of zinc by including chicken and yoghurt to their diet.

The Bottom-Line

With growth and development, your baby's needs will increase. Provide him with adequate micronutrients to build up a strong immunity and keep deficiencies and illnesses away. Increase the intake of food rich in vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, etc. during this mental, physical and social development phase. Also, before introducing any new food into your baby’s diet always check with your paediatrician.

Besides deficiency, hidden hunger can also affect a child’s holistic growth. It can be tackled effectively through fortified foods, which can be easily prepared. 

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