Pack these immune-boosting foods in your kid’s lunchbox, says Baton Rouge dietitian

Eating a diet that includes lots of healthy fruits and vegetables can help the body's immune...
Eating a diet that includes lots of healthy fruits and vegetables can help the body's immune response.(WAFB)
Updated: Aug. 4, 2020 at 3:42 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Many of us are being careful about our external health, like wearing masks and social distancing, but a Baton Rouge area dietitian says our internal health, what we put inside our bodies, can make a big difference in fighting off illness.

Kristin West with Baton Rouge General (BRG) suggests some immune-boosting foods that can give your family a better fighting chance against the virus, especially for your kids heading back to school.

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West says the foundation of that is to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your kid’s diet. Produce like tomatoes, bell peppers, oranges, and kiwi are high in vitamin C, which is great for supporting a strong immune system.

“We know, based on the research, that you’re going to get vitamins, minerals, antioxidants in certain foods that you’re not going to get anywhere else,” said the dietitian. “And the reality is you can’t out supplement a bad diet.”

West also recommends probiotic-rich foods like yogurt. She says that’s because over 70% of our immune system stems from good gut health. That means cutting back on the sugary foods and drinks to bring in more whole foods and water.

West says examine your food and recognize that your fruits and veggies have no random list of ingredients.

“Whereas with a lot of these processed foods that come in the packages, you’re getting 25 different things like artificial ingredients, sugars, and preservatives. Those things can really impair our immune system’s defense mechanisms,” she said.

West knows it can be tough to get kids on board with certain foods, so she says try to shake things up a bit, like blending spinach, yogurt, and fruit in a smoothie, or cut up veggies and add a dipping sauce.

Plus, don’t be too concerned about breaking the bank. West says a quick Google search to see what produce is in season can save you a few bucks.

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