For many of us winter means chilly nights, and cold and flu season. Young children are especially vulnerable as their immunity is just in the formative stage and it's not always ready to resist many of the germs and harsher weather that adult immune systems can.
Children's immune systems are far less tolerant than adults during winter. Image credit: CÚcile Graat/sxc.hu
It's up to parents to take extra care at this time to ensure regular replenishment of vitamins in their child's growing body, to maintain the health of the child. Choosing the right diet of winter fruits and vegetables may help them with this.
To determine the diet and select appropriate foods, it's important to remember that water soluble vitamins B and C are removed from the body fairly quickly. Whereas fat soluble vitamins are accumulated, and in some cases it may have a negative effect on your child's metabolism.
Adults and children alike should eat vegetables and fruits throughout the winter to maintain immunity in the proper form and to increase the protective ability of the immune system.
Experts typically agree that optimal daily allowance of vegetable and fruit dishes for adults is about 400 grams, for a child it's about 150-200 grams.
It's also important to diversify food to get the best variety of vitamins and minerals. Winter diets should should contain cabbage and tomatoes, apples and zucchini, squash and pumpkin.
Winter diets should contain plenty of season vegetables like squashes and pumpkin. Image credit: Hannah Chapman/sxc.hu
In some cases, different vitamins reinforce each other's action. While forming the autumn diet, consider the following vitamins:
Vitamin A is found in large quantities in the roots, especially in carrots. It has an anti-inflammatory effect, prevents the development of cancer processes, and improves skin condition.
Carrots are great in winter and offer your child a wealth of nutrients. They're also easy to include in school lunches. Image credit: NV Sheridan/sxc.hu
Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant. Vegetable oils and nuts contain it in large amounts.
Vitamin B complex has a positive effect on immune status, especially during winter and contribute to blood formation. It's found in potatoes, legumes, cabbage.
Vitamin D is also very important for health, but it is not contained in food. Our body synthesises it from sunlight, so while sunny days in winter can be tough to come by, when they do appear, do not sit at home - go for a walk with your child or head to the park as often as possible.
Vitamin D levels deplete in winter so make sure when a sunny day happens, you get outside and enjoy it with your child. Image credit:Ivalics/sxc.hu
While diet is absolutely important, don't forget that in addition it's equally as import to keep your child active during winter.
Make sure a healthy diet is always balanced with walking, sports and an active lifestyle - this all will help to meet colder winter months fully prepared.