Nutrition plays a major role in helping to strengthen the body’s natural defence system and helps us to fight infections. It is estimated that younger children can have as many as 8 to 10 colds per year. Younger children usually suffer from more colds than older children and adults, because as their immune system develops, they haven’t built up a sufficient immune defence to the more than 100 various cold viruses that we are commonly exposed to (1).
Many parents complain that their kids can be fussy eaters and worry about inadequate intakes of fresh fruit and vegetables. When wanting to fill nutritional gaps in a child’s diet, sometimes additional nutrition sources such as specialised wholefood supplements can provide some extra support for immune system health. This is especially true if the formula is rich in ingredients that have evidence-based benefits to the immune system.
Here are some unique foods found in nature that have been studied for their immune superpowers:
Goji berry: Goji berries have been used to increase longevity since ancient times and are particularly praised for their immune enhancing potential. This is mainly because scientists have shown they are extremely rich sources of many beneficial polysaccharides, phytochemicals such as carotenoids and powerful antioxidants. It is advised to include antioxidant rich foods regularly as they help to prevent free radicals from damaging the DNA in our cells.
Goji berries are also rich in iron, copper, selenium and vitamins A and C, all micronutrients that are important to keep our immune system active and alert and help defend ourselves from seasonal viruses (2).
Acerola berry: This cherry-like fruit is found on shrub like plants native to South America and the Caribbean. Acerola is most well-known for being extremely rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. In fact, these berries contain around 50-100 times more vitamin C than oranges or lemons. Because of this, it’s often used as a natural way to help with preventing colds or flu. Acerola berries also contain many micronutrients such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium as well as vitamins B1, B2 and B3.
Research has also reported that the form of vitamin C found in acerola is better absorbed by the human body than ascorbic acid, the commonly ingested synthetic form of Vitamin C found in many supplements (3).
Aloe vera leaf: The leaf of the aloe vera plant also contains a gel-like mucilaginous substance that is rich in nutrients and very beneficial for digestive health.
Aloe vera contains some superhero compounds such as acemannan that give it immunostimulant and antineoplastic (potential anti-cancer) powers. This compound helps the immune systems white blood cells to produce additional substances that enhance the way the immune system functions. Studies have reported that aloe vera when used therapeutically can play a vital role in improving immune health as it contains substances that give it anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties (4, 5, 6).
Guava: This tropical fruit is rich in vitamins A and C, iron, phosphorus, calcium, and an abundance of antioxidants. Low levels of vitamin C are linked to an increased risk of infections and illness so adding guava into the diet is a great way to boost intakes of this nutrient, as they’re particularly rich in vitamin C.
In fact, just one guava provides almost double the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C (13).
Lemon: Lemons are another great food source of vitamin C. One lemon provides about 31 mg of vitamin C, which is just over half of the recommended daily intake. They are also a good source of potassium and vitamin B6. Lemons also contains important compounds such as d-limonene which has been researched for enhancing immunity because it can help to modulate specific immune cells. In addition, lemons also contain essential antioxidants that are important for immune health.
Studies have recently shown that lemons can help to prevent iron deficiency anaemia because it contains both vitamin C and citric acid, which helps the body absorb non-heme iron from plants.
Product Highlight: Grow Up for Kids!
Grow Up for Kids is a nutritious superfood blend that tastes like a treat!
It is a superfood blend that is specifically formulated for little ones, containing goji and acerola berries, aloe vera, guava, lemon fruit and many more certified organic ingredients.
The nutrient-rich wholefoods deliver plant-derived vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants alongside enzymes, prebiotic fibres, and probiotics in one big, delicious dose to support the nutritional needs of growing brains and bodies.
1. Colds in children, (2005). Paediatrics & child health, 10(8), 493–495.
2. Zheng FM et al, (2019). Goji Berries as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Their Molecular Mechanisms of Action, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.
3. Assis SAD, Fernandes FP, Martins ABG & Oliveira OMMDF, (2008). Acerola: importance, culture conditions, production, and biochemical aspects. Fruits;63(2):93–101.
4. Ndhlala AR et al, (2009). Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and mutagenic investigation of the South African tree aloe (Aloe barberae), J Ethnopharmacol ;124:404–8.
5. Rahmani, Arshad H et al, (2015). Aloe vera: Potential candidate in health management via modulation of biological activities.” Pharmacognosy reviews;918.
6. Lee JK et al, (2001). Acemannan purified from Aloe vera induces phenotypic and functional maturation of immature dendritic cells. Int Immunopharmacol; 1(7):1275-84.
7. Lappas CM & Lappas NT, (2012). D-Limonene modulates T lymphocyte activity and viability. Cell Immunol;279(1):30-41.