The key to your child’s health is the strong immune system. It is virtually impossible to totally insulate your child from the exposure to viruses, bacteria, and environmental pollutants. But it is possible to build a strong immune system that can defend your child against diseases and infections.

The link between immunity, gut health, and gut flora

The gut health and flora are vital for building immunity. 80 percent of immune cells are located within the gut. The gut act as a barrier to the exposure of pathogens. If the gut is compromised, illness would naturally become the order of the day.

The gut health and diversity of gut flora are intricately linked. Good and diverse gut bacteria promote health whereas bad gut flora causes inflammation and illness. A diverse gut flora boosts the natural defense mechanism of the immune system by preventing the absorption of pathogens in the intestinal walls. Therefore, to develop strong immunity of your child you need to work on having diverse gut flora.    

What is gut flora?

The gut microbiome or flora is a collection of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in your digestive system. There are 100 trillion bacteria residing in and on your body. Among them, the gut microbiome is of prime importance.  The gut health becomes even more crucial in developing children whose immune systems are not yet fully developed and hence are more sensitive to what the outside world is constantly throwing at them.

The quality and diversity of your child’s gut flora are determined by the food she eats.  Children with different food habits have different gut flora. Fermentable, fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts increase the number of beneficial gut flora. On the other hand, a diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, red meat and processed foods cause an abundance of gut flora that is responsible for increasing inflammation in the body. A disturbance in gut flora is associated with various diseases such as diarrhea, obesity, colitis, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune diseases and even autism.

Ways To Building Child’s Immunity – Improve The Gut Health 

Eat right during pregnancy

Your diet during pregnancy has a lasting effect on your child’s health. Since a fetus takes on the flavors of the mother ‘s food, you can give her a head start by introducing healthy foods in the womb itself. A natural birth further adds to the immunity building of your child.  Infants born through the birth canal get a coating of friendly microbes from their mother at birth.


Breastfeeding your child as long as it is possible helps in building diverse gut flora as these microbiomes get passed on to the child via breast milk. Breast milk has important nutrients including essential fatty acids necessary to protect your baby against infections.

Serve loads of vegetables and fruits and remove junk food, refined carbs, and sugar

A balanced diet is very important for building child’s immunity. Your child needs to know right away just how important it is to enjoy healthy foods. Introduce healthy food items from the time of weaning. A balanced diet containing all essential nutrients go a long way in developing immunity. As mentioned before, fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts increase the number of beneficial gut flora. Processed foods, on the other hand, cause the growth of bad or harmful gut bacteria. 

Don’t overdo hygiene

It is important to inculcate the habits of cleanliness in your child but don’t overdo on hygiene. If you totally insulate your child from the outside world, her immune system would not get a chance to develop. In the absence of any pathogens to deal with, in some cases, the immune system may start attacking body tissues. No wonder in all Montessori schools you find sand pits for children to play in.

Avoid unnecessary antibiotics

The antibiotic should be prescribed only when its prescription is absolutely necessary. Viral infections do not require antibiotics. Antibiotics as the name suggest attenuate and kill gut bacteria- both good and bad ones. Overuse of antibiotics can dwindle your child’s gut flora thereby reducing her immunity. If it becomes absolutely necessary to give antibiotics then make sure you introduce prebiotics and probiotic so that the gut bacteria can be speedily revived after the completion of the course of antibiotics.

Include prebiotic and probiotic in your child’s diet

Probiotics are live good bacteria. If you take foods like homemade curd, pickles, and fermented vegetables you introduce good bacteria to your child’s gut. These probiotics under right conditions start multiplying in your child’s gut and create a healthy gut environment.

Prebiotics are plant fiber. When they enter the digestive tract, particularly the large intestine they act like a fertilizer to the colonies of good bacteria present in the colon. Good sources of prebiotics are raw or cooked vegetables and fruits eg onions, garlic, apples, bananas, and beans.

Introduce good fats

Good fats are rich in omega 3 fatty acids help to enhance the immune and nervous system. Include healthy fats such as flax seeds, avocado, olive oil, ghee, butter, cheese, and coconut oil. At the same time exclude vegetable oils,  hydrogenated oils, and trans fats as they are rich in omega 6 fatty acids that increase inflammation in the body. You can use cod liver oil as a supplement. 

Try to keep the body ph alkaline

Maintenance of pH balance between 7 and 8 is ideal for your child’s body. An alkaline diet can help neutralize the hydrogen ions that are produced during the process of digestion.  Most of the herbs, spices, fresh vegetables and fruits are alkaline in nature. Avocados and coconuts are very alkaline, as are sprouted beans, kale, cucumber, and broccoli. All citrus fruits like oranges are acidic before ingestion but they have an alkaline effect on the body after digestion.

Include plenty of water

Keep your child hydrated. Water helps to flush out the toxins from your child’s body.

Pay attention to vitamins and trace nutrients 

Vitamins A, C, E and trace elements like manganese, selenium, zinc, copper, iron, sulfur, magnesium and germanium are important for gut health. Generally, organic vegetables and fruits are rich in these nutrients.    

Overall, your child should have a healthy gut from the very start. Her gut health would depend on the food and lifestyle choices you make as a parent. Introduce healthy diet for strong gut health and immunity of your child.