Everyone loves the first rain after a sweltering hot summer that brings along the delightful petrichor that satiates our mind body and soul. The feeling of first few drops of rain on our face is blissful. This is also the time of the year that schools reopen and our little ones go back to school after the summer vacation. Naturally, the kids are extremely prone to falling sick.
It is a known fact that monsoon is the season when water and airborne diseases are at a peak and kids fall sick more often than the rest of the year. Sadly, the monsoon is also the time when diseases, particularly of the digestive system, are rampant. Poor digestion leads to a form of ‘cellular starvation’ which in turn lowers your metabolism and increases fat storage.
So, here are our simple but effective health care tips for kids to have a sick leave free monsoon. Most of these are simple foods that naturally increase immunity and act as medicine to prevent all of us from falling sick.
Immunity Building Foods to Eat this Monsoon
1) Yoghurt, Dahi or Fermented Foods
Yoghurt is a probiotic with live beneficial microorganisms that are capable of strengthening the gastrointestinal tract. Parents usually do not give yogurt to their children thinking that it could cause cold and cough. But, yogurt infact helps enhance resistance against infections. Children should be given unfrozen yogurt or fresh Dahi set at home at room temperature.
Consumption of a probiotic yogurt on a daily basis boosts the immune system to fight disease-causing germs. Fresh or pureed berries and other fruits can be added to the yogurt to enhance the flavor. Just ensure you feed at room temperature & freshly set curd made at home.
2) Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemon, sweet lime, amla and grapefruit are excellent sources of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Vitamin C is an important micronutrient to boost the immune system. Citrus fruits help boost immunity and protect the children against diseases and infections.
Children are more likely get injured while playing outdoors. Vitamin C aids in wound healing process. Orange juice and lemon water are easy options that can be given to children at room temperature to get their daily dose of vitamin C.
Other sources of vitamin C are guava, papayas, tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli. Also, our very own Amla is the richest source of Vitamin C. When out of season, you can feed a little bit of organic amla powder with a little honey as an immunity drink.
3) Green Leafy Vegetables & Bright Coloured Veggies
When it comes to improving immunity, green leafy vegetables are the best; as they are good sources of vitamin C and folic acid. Greens should be included in the child’s diet at least three times a week.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower act as an immune booster. When you cut them open, they just look like our lungs right. Hence they are naturally made for lung or respiratory tract related issues. They also naturally eliminate the toxins from the body and prevent illness. Broccoli contains choline, an amino acid that helps keep the cells functioning properly and promote a healthy gut lining. A portion of these cruciferous vegetables can be included in the diet at least twice a week in the form of salads, paratha, or a gravy.
Orange and bright yellow vegetables have beta-carotene that acts as antioxidants and helps boost the child’s immune system. Some of the vegetables that contain carotene are carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and squashes.
Just ensure you wash these well before consuming. Check out this video below on how to significantly reduce the pesticide residue in veggies.
4) Garlic and Onion
Garlic and onion are known for the potent immune-boosting powers. These flavorful ingredients contain antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help fight infections. Garlic helps open clogged sinuses. Garlic contains sulfur compounds such as sulfides and allicin that are good for the immune system. It also increases the production of antibodies.
Children may not like the raw taste of garlic and onion as it causes bad breath. Finely chopped or pureed onion and garlic can be included in the child’s diet by adding it to soups and pasta dishes.
5) Turmeric with Milk
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric make it one of the best foods to boost the immune system. The active ingredient in turmeric called as curcumin has antiviral and anti-fungal properties. On the other hand, milk which is a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamin A also helps build strong immunity.
Turmeric milk is an age-old remedy to fight seasonal infections. Adding a teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of warm milk helps fight common cold and flu. Turmeric can also be added to a variety of dishes. Also adding a pinch of pepper can be helpful for increasing the effectiveness of turmeric absorption by the body.
Tulsi or basil leaves have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and help improve immunity. Give five to six tsp of tulsi tea/kadha to your child every morning as it helps to keep them disease free during monsoon.
Sage is a wonder herb that acts as a natural expectorant. It possesses anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. Sage contains phytosterols and flavonols. Sage aids in the clearance of mucus and helps control cold and cough. Sage can be added to hot water to clear nasal congestion.
You can also check out our article 20 Herbs & Spices for your baby that have huge medicinal benefits.
7) Ginger and Honey
Ginger juice and honey combined together to act as an elixir against common cold and flu. Ginger juice has antibacterial and anti-viral properties whereas honey coats the throat giving a soothing feel. Ginger-honey juice works best when given at bedtime.
Important to remember is that it is best to use raw honey. Processed honey removes the pollen & is also heated which reduces the wonderful medicinal properties of honey.
8) Kulith or Horsegram or kollu, hulga
Grown across India traditionally this pulse helps protect against gout, uric acid and kidney stones. Again a climate resilient crop, it lends itself as stuffing in your paratha or dal and. You can eat it with rice to improve your amino acid profile. Kulith is especially good to recover from flu and cold in this season.
Kulith also has the ability to generate heat and energy in your system and therefore keeps you warm on a rainy day.
Let's also talk about immunity for the Mind & Soul
Monsoon is the most beautiful season of the year in India. Go to a little outskirts of the city you see a lush green carpet everywhere. Little shrubs prop up everywhere, the mountains get green, you can hear the splashing of the waterfalls and the mist in the air.
Going out in nature, touching mother earth, seeing the beautiful blooming flowers, feeling the fresh air from the hills around rejuvenate the soul and the tired mind. Check this video from Sadhguru explaining how being in touch with 5 elements of nature - earth, fire, water, air, cosmos is crucial in maintaining a healthy energy body.
Such picnics in the monsoon not only create happy family memories for your child but also recharges all of you to feel great.
Do ensure to plan a trip to ghats or have a small picnic to a park or a zoo. For children, just seeing the entire family together gives them such a sense of joy, comfort, security.. Its priceless and this feeling cannot be purchased in any store :-)
And just in case you do catch an infection...Here are Simple Home remedies for Cold/Cough
A sneezing and coughing kid is bothersome for any parent. Babies and kids are often affected by cold and cough and it is usually better to avoid using strong antibiotics for treating these. Unless the situation is critial, please do see your doctor. There are certain home remedies which can be tried before giving them any kind of medicine. Ajwain is one among the most popular home remedies that you could give a try.
There are certain home remedies that you can try, that most grandmoms recommend as their go-to solution for cold & cough.
It is also known as carom seeds is one of the most common spices found in all Indian homes. This spice has been proven to be extremely effective in providing wonderful relief from a cough and cold symptoms not only in kids but also in elders.
It can be had as a concoction by adding few ajwain seeds in hot water and then strain it, consume in small sips throughout the day.
How to make Ajwain Potli or Pad?
a) In a piece of a cotton cloth wrap some ajwain seeds and make a potli (ball),
b) Heat a flat pan or tawa and warm the potli. Gently place the warm pad on your baby’s chest. Tab gently around the chest area, both front & back.
c) Just make sure that the cloth doesn’t get too hot or else can burn the sensitive skin of your baby. For best results continue this for about 2-3 days. The smell of warm ajwain from potli will help reduce congestion in the baby.
For best results continue this for about 2-3 days. The smell of warm ajwain from potli will help reduce congestion in the baby.
Try steaming out the chest congestion to loosen the mucus trapped in the respiratory tract due to cold. Warm steam helps to break up the mucus making it easier to cough up and get rid of it. Use steam inhalation to relieve the symptoms of chest congestion. You can also add eucalyptus oils that have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and that boost the power of steam to help relieve chest congestion.
Easy Method of Steam Inhalation for baby & kids:
Little kids dont sit in one place for a steam inhalation. A lot of moms have conveyed this special & effective method for babies. Turn on the geyser till the water turns really hot.
Take your little one to the bathroom, turn on the shower and let very hot water fall into an empty bucket. You sit a little away from the shower so the hot water does not fall on you or the baby. The bathroom quickly fills up with steam from the shower.
Just sit there with your baby for 10 mins. The warm humid air will melt away the congestion. Do this 2-3 times a day and watch the symptoms vanish!
3) Activate acupressure points
Accupressure is a very ancient healing system originating in India & China. It's simple & super effective. Recommended to be done only on kids older than 2 yrs as their energy system is still developing. New York's best selling author Holly Tse on Chinese reflexology has some great articles on how to treat a persistent cough, cold etc.. I have personally followed her book for my 3 yr old son, husband & myself and found a lot of relief without having to take medicines. However, when it comes to health & its supercritical - please follow the advice of your doctor.
Additionary Measures to be taken
Along with consuming foods that build immunity, it is essential to practice these small habits. It is important to have an appropriate monsoon protection wear. Gumboots and open sandals are ideal for kids. Teach kids to use an umbrella to protect themselves.
Additionally, having adequate mosquito protection is a must. Invest in a good mosquito net for a good night's sleep instead of using a coil or a cream. Burning lemongrass oil & citronella oil can also be effective in keeping these pests away.
Overall, kids are very observant by nature and they tend to pick up things really fast. We have to be very careful about how we talk/act/work/behave around them. The best way to ensure that your child follows these healthy habits is that you practice them yourself.