Raising a Resilient Child: 5 Ways Nutrition Contributes to a Resilient Mind and Body
As parents, we wish every future success for our children, but first they need to be resilient. Find out how good nutrition helps to boost your child’s immunity and overall health, which is the foundation of a resilient child
Being resilient is the ability to bounce back from difficulties such as stress, trauma, anxiety and failure. This ensures our children grow up with the desire to explore and experience the world because they are confident in their ability to cope with life’s ups and downs. This ability to accept failure as well as success, happiness and disappointment, will allow our children to make the most of future opportunities. It is not something we’re born with, but a characteristic that children can learn to nurture, build and develop.
The first step towards building resilience is to develop a strong body. This comes from proper nutrition, along with
To complement our research on this topic, we spoke to Ms. Michelle Low, Consultant Dietitian at Pantai Hospital about the relation between nutrition and a healthy immune system.
According to Ms. Michelle Low, good nutrition is vital in strengthening your child’s immune system. The immune system is complex and requires adequate nutrition to shield the body from infectious illnesses and other health problems.
How Probiotics and Prebiotics Can Benefit Children
- Probiotics are living microorganisms, or “live bacteria” that are good for the digestive system.
- They help with digestion by reducing symptoms of certain digestive disorders, boost immune system functions and even improve some mental health conditions.
- They can be found as supplements or naturally in some foods, like yogurt and tempeh.
- Consuming probiotics helps your child’s body to produce more good bacteria so they can prevent the bad ones from colonising the gut!
- Prebiotics is a dietary fibre that cannot be digested by the human body. It only serves as the food for the good bacteria in the gut.
- Prebiotics are also found in foods like bananas, onions, garlic, asparagus and whole wheat as well as in fibre supplements.
- Food manufacturers have started adding prebiotics into various food products such as ice cream, baby formula, cereals and yogurt under the name “chicory root extract”, “inulin” or “prebiotic fibre”.3
- A recent study also shows that prebiotics help the body to absorb calcium, which is an essential nutrient to build strong bones in growing children.4
Besides the powerful combination of prebiotics and probiotics, your child can also strengthen his or her immune system by consuming a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Stimulates skin growth and repairs damaged skin cells. Also contributes to eye health, plus the formation and maintenance of teeth, bones, soft tissue, white blood cells and the immune system.5
Protects against immune system deficiencies by stimulating the production and activity of antibodies.6
A powerful antioxidant that neutralises free radicals and helps to boost the immune system.7
Assists our red blood cells to transport oxygen to the whole body. It also contributes to the production of energy for our body.8
While your child can certainly benefit from all these vitamins and minerals, there is yet another fun and easy way for children to naturally boost their immunity. We have the dirt on this, literally.
Get Messy, Get Dirty, Get Healthy!
Are you guilty of over-sterilising the environment your child is living in? If you are, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and just let your child explore the outdoors - dirt, germs and all.
According to Professor Gilbert, a germ expert and the director of the Microbiome Centre at the University of Chicago, outdoor microbes are actually helpful in establishing a solid immune system in young people9. He advised parents to let their young children explore the great outdoors because exposure to germs will naturally strengthen the child's immune system hence making them stronger. In fact, an environment that is too clean and sterile can cause children to develop a hyper-sensitised immune system that makes them more susceptible to allergies and asthma.
Health benefits aside, letting your child experience the world in a free, self-directed and active environment also teaches them about resilience as they grow.
However, you should always be aware of the environmental factors that may affect your children as they experience the world. The presence of pathogenic microorganisms in the air could still weaken your child’s immune system. This is why a nutritious diet is vital for growing children. It strengthens your child’s immune system to ensure it is capable of fighting against various infections, thus allowing them to freely experience the world.
To find out more about this, we talked to two amazing mums about their children’s daily diet and what they do to boost their children’s immunity.
Mrs. Nur Aida, Mum of 2 children
Mrs. Nur Aida swears by the 5-A-Day concept to boost her children’s immune system. If you’re not familiar with 5-A-Day, it is a campaign by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that recommends the intake of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (combined) a day. She also keeps her children active and healthy by allocating ample outdoor play time.
Mrs. Pamela Jansen, Mum of 3 children
Mrs. Pamela Jansen believes in the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics alongside daily servings of healthy meals to build her children’s immune system and protect them from illnesses.
Incorporating a healthy diet for children can be tricky as healthy foods generally tend to be bland and unattractive. But fret not! We’ve compiled a few healthy kid-friendly meal ideas for you.
Delicious Pre- and Probiotic Food And Meal Ideas For Children
Recent studies have shown that almonds are able to increase levels of good bacteria in the gut thanks to their high fibre content. It’s also worth pointing out that almonds are highly fair in fat, so aim to eat them in moderation.
Maple Almond Breakfast Smoothie
Get the recipe here: https://www.superhealthykids.com/recipes/going-nuts-over-nuts/
Low-Sugar or Sugar-free Yogurt
Yogurts are loaded with probiotics that stimulate the immune system.
Add natural vanilla extract or a drizzle of honey into plain yogurt for extra yumminess.
Healthy Instant Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt
Blueberries contribute two kinds of probiotics, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Both have the ability to counter gut inflammation by enhancing the gut microbial profile.
Triple Berry Baked Oatmeal
Get the recipe here: https://happyhealthymama.com/triple-berry-baked-oatmeal.html
Blueberry Graham Pancakes
Get the recipe here: https://www.superhealthykids.com/recipes/blueberry-pancakes-graham/
Looks yummy, right? We can’t wait to try these out ourselves!
Resilient Children Equals A Successful Adult!
Every child deserves a successful life. As children grow, it is our main role as parents to provide them with the support they need to stay healthy, resilient and successful all the way into adulthood.
So let’s begin at the basics. Teach your child about living a healthy and well-balanced life through good nutrition, an active lifestyle and a positive mindset. Start providing your child with nutritious foods at an early age, especially foods that contain prebiotics and probiotics, because with a healthy body, your child is prepared to step out into the world, resilient to the challenges of growing up.
1 Brown, Mary J. (2016, August 23). 8 Health Benefits Of Probiotics. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-health-benefits-of-probiotics
2 Westphalen, D. (2018, October 29). What Is The Difference Between Prebiotics And Probiotics?. Retrieved from www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323490.php
3 Freuman, Tamara D. (2015, May 5). What Is Inulin (Chicory Root Fibre)?. Retrieved from health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2015/05/05/what-is-inulin-chicory-root-fiber
4 McCabe, L., Britton, Robert, A., & Narayanan Parameswaran. (2016, December 1). Prebiotic And Probiotic Regulation Of Bone Health: Role Of The Intestine And Its Microbiome. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4623939/
5 Bradford, A. (2015, August 25). Vitamin A: Sources And Benefits. Retrieved from www.livescience.com/51975-vitamin-a.html
6 Carr, AC., & Maggini, S. (2017, November 3). Vitamin C And Immune Function. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29099763
7 Zurich, Peter R. (2015, April 9). Can Vitamin E Rescue Your Immune Cells?. Retrieved from www.futurity.org/vitamin-e-immune-cells-894482/
8 Nairz, M., Haschka, D., Demetz, E., & Weiss, G. (2014, July 16). Iron At The Interface Of Immunity And Infection. Retrieved from www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2014.00152/full
9 Timmins, B. (2017, July 17). Scientist Reveals Why Its Important To Let Your Kids Be Exposed To Germs. Retrieved from www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/why-its-important-to-expose-kids-to-germs-scientist-explains-jack-gilbert-children-babies-immune-a7845031.html
*Danone Dumex is part of Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition
**Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition calculation based in part on information reported by Nielsen through its Scan Track, MarketTrack and Retail Index Services for the Children nutrition milk formula for children aged between 12 and 36 months segment (client defined) in the Children nutrition milk formula category (client defined) for the 52-week period December 2017, for the total grocery channel in Belgium, Czech, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, and Switzerland. (Copyright © 2017 The Nielsen Company.)
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