In today’s Covid-19 world, one major realisation for all has been the importance of a strong immune system. The immune system is our body’s natural gatekeeper.
It helps to keep away germs, viruses, parasites and other foreign invaders. It protects the body from infections and diseases caused by these. It is therefore important to give our body immune boosting foods starting as early as possible. Good nutrition is fundamental to improving immunity. An optimum immune system can reduce the risk of viral infections.
Immunity starts in the gut. Almost 70% of all the immune cells are present in our gut. More antibodies are made in the gut (Gastrointestinal tract) than anywhere else in the body. So, a significant part of the immune system interacts with what we eat. Eating a variety of healthy foods in the right proportion not only helps provide fuel for the body to grow, develop, function and repair efficiently, it is crucial for boosting immunity. A strong immune system protects the body from allergies, infections, inflammations, stress and diseases.
The immune system is not fully developed at birth, but matures over the first few years of life. The development and maintenance of tolerance to infections, diseases and illnesses are lifelong processes which start very early in life. Early life is therefore a key phase for training one’s immune system. Since food habits learnt in childhood can last a lifetime, Early Nutrition Education is extremely beneficial to build lifelong health and immunity. It lays the foundation for healthy eating habits and behaviours. Children learn about the nutrients in food and its importance to the body. They learn the skills to make good food choices.
Nutrition Education is effective in bringing about a positive change in the nutritional behavior in students. It makes the students aware about the importance of eating a variety of whole foods, fruits and vegetables, eating foods in the right proportion, drinking sufficient water and staying physically active. As they grow they become equipped and empowered with the knowledge they need to make informed food choices and inculcate healthy habits which they can carry into their adult lives. Early childhood period offers a critical window of opportunity to shape life-long health while improving and boosting the immune system.
Incorporating Nutrition Education in schools from a very early age cannot be overlooked. Poor eating habits are major reasons why the onset of a poor immune system and health concerns occur. It is the duty of every adult who cares for the child to be aware of the importance of nutrition education and role model healthy eating habits and good food choices for the children in their care. It ensures a healthier society, community, nation and thereby a healthier world even during adversities and the most challenging and trying times like these.