How to strengthen the immune system of children

Every parent wants their child to be healthy and protected from germs and viral infections, especially during periods when the flu is high.

It is definitely not a solution to lock your child in the house hoping that this way he will be protected and that the germs will not find him.

Prevention is definitely the best treatment.

Daily habits such as regular hand washing, adequate sleep and of course vaccines help protect children, but let us not forget that diet plays a key role in achieving a healthy and strong immune system. There are foods that shield our body against viruses and infections.

Foods that strengthen the immune system are:

Yogurt and probiotics

Yogurt is a source of probiotics, ie good bacteria, which fight and stop the colonization of the bad in the stomach and intestines. Some probiotic strains can help boost the immune response and reduce inflammation, which means fewer colds and flu. If your child does not like the taste of yogurt, you can serve it with fruit or honey.

Bonus: In addition, yogurt is a rich source of protein and calcium !!

Fruits and vegetables

It is essential to give your children fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C and E, as well as beta-carotene (provitamin A) and zinc. Choose fruits and vegetables of different colors such as bananas, apples, kiwis, pineapples, oranges, tangerines, pomegranate, berries, onions, colored peppers, garlic, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, etc. The ideal amount of fruits and vegetables that children should consume is 2-3 fruits and 1 serving of salad per day. The variety of colors in fruits and vegetables ensures the intake of the widest possible range of vitamins.

The eggs

Research suggests that eggs act as a “nature multivitamin”. Selenium, the vitamins A, D and B12 contained in eggs, are important elements for maintaining the proper functioning of the immune system.

Bonus: In addition, eggs are a rich source of protein and iron !!

Fatty fish – Ω3 fatty acids

The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, trout and sea bream, help strengthen the immune system of children, increasing the activity of phagocytes and white blood cells that fight harmful bacteria. Also, many varieties of shellfish contain a significant amount of selenium, which can help prevent viruses and flu. Children should eat fish 1-2 times a week to meet their needs for omega-3 fatty acids.

The nuts

Children’s immune system can certainly benefit from adding nuts to their diet. Nuts are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and zinc that boost the function of the immune system. Serve your children a variety of nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews and hazelnuts daily.

Whole grains

Whole grains offer a complete “package” for health in contrast to processed cereals which during the refining process lose valuable nutrients. Whole grains are rich in B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, copper, zinc, antioxidants and phytochemicals that help shield the immune system. Phytochemicals are not considered nutrients, however they are compounds that help maintain good health of the body.

However, be careful when choosing foods that are labeled “whole grain”, as it does not always mean that they are healthy, as they may contain high amounts of sugar and fat.

In order for children to benefit from the beneficial properties of the above foods, it is important that they are part of their daily diet.

Dietitian-nutritionist Konstantinos Lampis participated in the writing of the article.


Liu, R. H. (2007). Whole grain phytochemicals and health. Journal of Cereal Science, 46(3), 207-219.

Leeson, S., & Caston, L. J. (2003). Vitamin enrichment of eggs. Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 12(1), 24-26.

Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients, 9(11), 1211.

Meydani, S. N., & Ha, W. K. (2000). Immunologic effects of yogurt. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71(4), 861-872.

Yaqoob, P. & Calder, P.C (2007) Fatty acids and immune function: new insights into mechanisms. British Journal of Nutrition, 98(S1), S41-S45

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