Kids´ defenses and nutrition

We talked with the nutritionist María Iglesias about how children should eat and what foods reinforce the immune system. Maria has a diploma in dietetics and human nutrition and also has a graduate degree in herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and ergogenic aids. She has a master’s degree in human and community nutrition and is specialized in sports nutrition. Finally, this “all terrain” woman also did a master’s degree in coaching and pnl (neurolinguistic programming).

A poor diet and lack of physical activity causes children to get sick more often, especially until they are 6-7 years old. Therefore, by correcting the diet, many of these symptoms are corrected. Eating properly we ensure that our children can have a stronger immune system and defenses, always combining it with physical activity. The movement makes the osteomuscular, cardiopulmonary and immune system stronger. Children must be educated from the time they are young so that they acquire healthy life habits that are beneficial for both children and adults.

Infant nutrition

What should it be like? In a word: balanced. High consumption of fruits and vegetables, which are the foods that contain more vitamins and minerals. One of the factors that most destroys the immune system are preservatives, chemicals, canned foods etc. The more natural everything is, the better, says nutritionist María Iglesias.

They also have to consume protein and carbohydrates. At this point we must differentiate the amount of physical activity that the child does, as it is not the same as a child who does an extracurricular activity such as playing guitar, that another who plays football. Even so, the consumption of carbohydrates is mandatory since, being in the growing fase, they have a high caloric expenditure, as well as to maintain cell regeneration and repair and energy status. Carbohydrates are the gasoline that will allow them to work throughout the day.

When asked if the smallest should take whole foods, the nutritionist is clear: for me everything refined should be outside the kitchens, since we are taking away all the grace of food. It is true that children can find it harder, harsher and with a less good taste, but we have to habituate them from when they are small to consume this type of food. Fiber is indispensable. In addition, in the husks there are many minerals and vitamins that disappear in the process of refinement.

Foods that strengthen the immune system

It is important to encourage the consumption of vitamin C to have a stronger immune system. We can find it in kiwis, in citrus fruits such as oranges and tangerines, also in strawberries, melon, peppers and tomatoes.

Vitamin A helps to maintain the barriers of mucous membranes and can be found in liver, eggs, dairy products and some fruits such as cherries or melons.

Vitamin E increases the immune response and we can find it in cereals, bread, wholemeal pasta, green leafy vegetables, nuts and olive oil.

Finally, keep in mind that iron, zinc and selenium are also essential minerals to strengthen the immune system and beware of sugar! Since it is not only harmful to your health but accelerates it.

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