As told to Kamakshi Ganesh by her grandmother
Growing up, my paati (grandma in Tamil) used to have a cure for almost any ailment I had. Be it a bad throat, indigestion, fever, or cold, she would quickly whip up a comforting bowl of food or a concoction with immunity-boosting items from the kitchen. I’ll be honest, not only were my Paati’s recipes super effective in relieving me of whatever I was suffering from; they were also incredibly tasty. We’ve taken a leaf out of the grandmother’s recipe book and rounded 5 immune boosters for kids that are grandma recommended and approved.
There is a lot to be learned from the previous generations about healthy eating and introducing immunity boosters in everyday meals. With COVID looming over us and the onset of monsoon, we need to load our kid’s meals with nutritious food to keep them healthy. So give these 5 immune boosters for kids a try, and not only will they love their meals, but it will also keep them safe from catching any infections.
It is believed that eating a spoon of ghee on an empty stomach in the mornings, boosts the healing properties of the cells in our body. Our immune system is a direct reflection of our gut health and ghee helps to maintain and boost our digestive system. Growing children need to consume food rich in nutrition as this directly translates into a stronger immune system for them. Ghee provides them with good fat and energy.
Pure cow’s ghee can be added in place of refined oils in all meals prepared for children to help boost immunity. A number of delicious Indian sweets and snacks are also prepared in ghee so you are bound to find a recipe featuring this immunity booster that your child greatly enjoys.
2. Garlic and pepper rasam
If you are South Indian, you are all too familiar with the wonder potion that is rasam.
This garlic and pepper rasam is essentially a clear soup without any dals added to it. Tamarind which is the main ingredient in rasam is rich in Vitamin C. Studies have shown that garlic reduces the risk of becoming sick in the first place, as well as how long you stay sick. Black pepper is also enriched with vitamin C, which naturally boosts the immunity and works as an excellent antibiotic. The potent combination of tamarind, garlic, and pepper make this a great supplement to boost a child’s immune system.
There are multiple versions of rasam - from lemon and ginger rasam to neem flower rasam, which are all great to boost immunity. It is best enjoyed with rice or you can also serve it to your kids as a soup for their meals.
3. Turmeric milk
The top 5 immune boosters for kids list would be incomplete without including Haldi wala doodh. This golden elixir has been responsible for curing many a cold, cough and sorethroat in Indian households. Turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin which is what is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. By adding pepper to turmeric, it amplifies the efficacy of curcumin in the bloodstream. In addition to this, turmeric also helps with digestion.
When raw grated turmeric is mixed with hot milk and consumed, it relieves chest congestion and mucus. This turmeric milk can be given to younger children and toddlers as well to boost their immunity and keep the pesky infections at bay.
4. Ragi and oats laddoo
Millets and oats have always been super popular with our grandparents and with good reason. Millets are packed with magnesium, calcium, and thiamin which help support the immune system. Whole oats contain beta-glucans which are believed to boost immunity, speed wound healing, and even help antibiotics work better.
What is great about millets is that they can be adapted to a number of delicious recipes for your kid. Slurrp farm has readymade organic ragi and oats powder that can be used to make these tasty and healthy laddoos for your children. Jaggery or crushed dates can be added to flavor these laddoos.
5. Spinach dal
Spinach is packed with vitamins A, C, and E which are great to boost immunity. Each portion of spinach contains a high dose of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E and phytonutrients, natural chemicals which have anti-inflammatory properties and help ward off diseases and germs.
If the sight of plain spinach makes your kid balk, you can always add it to other dishes to make it more palatable to them. In all honesty, much like my paati, I have almost always tricked the kids in my household to consume large amounts of spinach by cooking them with a lot of the dals we make! Give it a try.