Immunity and nutrition
Expert session Question & Answers

How is low immunity related to allergy in sense organs like eyes or ears?

Low immunity can allow pathogens (bad viruses, bacteria etc) to grow in eyes, ears and then cause symptoms that mimic an allergy.

My 14 year old has recurring eczema. Please suggest what should be done.

He/ She could be deficient in immunity boosting nutrients like zinc, B-12, Vit C and could also be eating foods that trigger eczema and make it worse. I would recommend you to eliminate dairy and wheat completely from his diet.

My son is 5 years old and has a sweet tooth. No matter what, he needs a good amount of sugar in the form of chocolate or Indian sweets or else he behaves like crazy. What should be done?

That’s because his brain is addicted to the dopamine rush that sugar triggers. Wean him from sugar and jaggery first. Offer natural sources of sugar like dates, fruits and honey (in limited quantities).

Can jaggery also trigger the dopamine rush?

Yes, absolutely.

Does eating dried fruits everyday boost immunity?

No, not really.

Can you kindly tell us the basic things that we can make children eat or drink in summers so that they stop getting cold and cough very often.

Lots of berries and fruits as these have natural antioxidants. I would recommend Lemon Balm (it’s a herb like pudina) tea, it helps boost immunity. Also echinacea, but if they are low in zinc, they can get recurrent infections.

My 3 year old is chocolate crazy, and a very fussy eater, she doesn't eat roti or vegetables, most of the time it is just khichdi or boiled rice with chicken, she doesn't even like gravy. How do I introduce her to other foods and what food items should I give her so that her immunity increases, as she often falls ill with cough, cold.

The food she is eating is making her bodily function worse. You can introduce vegetable soups etc in small quantities and fruit smoothies so that she gets the nutrition she needs.

Is khapli wheat better than the other GMO varieties?


What age is the right age to introduce solid food, vegetables and fruits for babies?

When teeth start developing. That is an indication from the body that it is ready to chew food.

I have read that sugar reduces immunity. Does jaggery do the same?


What are your takes on consumption of curd and citrus food when the child is suffering from cold and cough?

Dairy feeds pathogens- bad bacteria and viruses and makes infections worse. Please avoid it. Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, an essential nutrient to boost immunity.

My daughter is 8 years old and is very low in immunity. Whenever she eats citrus fruits she catches cold immediately or sometimes after eating chips also. What can I do to avoid this?

Citrus fruits don’t trigger cough and cold. I know this might sound against all the advice you’ve been given. The root cause is most likely other wrong food or a deficiency.

Is it true that giving too many medicines lowers their immunity?

Yes, it’s true. Most infections are viral in nature and the body is capable of fighting it provided it has the right resources. Antibiotics are unnecessary most of the time.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, a daily dose of sunlight for 10-15 mins also helps boost immunity depending on the weather.

Sunlight is good but we still need more Vitamin D what we get in 10-15 mins of exposure. Most of us need a Vitamin D supplement.

My granddaughter has a cough and cold very frequently. Please advise what should be done for this. (Girl, 3.5 years)

Please get her blood tests done to see if deficiencies are lowering her immunity.

Can I give my 15 months old baby the packaged berries we get?

No. They are spray dried with oil during processing. Have either fresh or frozen (thawed to room temperature) berries. @⁨+91 77966 92504⁩  can help with the vendor who supplies these.

My son has been diagnosed with general epilepsy. Is there anything that we should add to his diet for his good health?

We work with kids who have these issues, but it will need a longer discussion for this.

What about A2 milk? Is it required, as you said dairy products are not required for the human body.

Not advisable. Is there any other animal on this planet that drinks another mammal’s milk? We don’t need dairy in our diet at all. A2 milk is good for A2 calves. Not for human babies. 

Are organic chemical free veggies, fruits and meats trusted sources? How to clean non organic products before use?

SLS store, Adrish Aundh, Mera Farmer is a trusted source. Activated Charcoal can be used to clean.

If dairy isn't important, how would you recommend a child to start his day? A glass of milk is what is followed before going to school in the morning. So what should be the substitute for that?

Fruit plus a complex carbohydrate like steel cuts, oats, porridge or millets or idli or dosa.

My daughter (7years) vomits if anything given to eat / drink before morning school. Any good substitute?

She might be having acid reflux. This needs deeper looking into root causes. It is not normal to vomit after food in the morning.

Can you clear us up on the status of jaggery and honey? Should we be giving them or not?

Jaggery and Sugar should not be given. Honey is a Yes.

Please tell us a few food items which boosts our kids immunity.

All fruits, vegetables are immunity boosting food. The less processed they are, the better it is.

Can you elaborate more on what are important immunity boosters for kids with constant cold?

If cold is a constant thing, then I am sure there is a Zinc, B-12, Vitamin D deficiency. Please get it checked. 

Once my 13 year old has sweets, his hunger is quenched. He doesn't want to eat veggies and healthy food. What should be done?

We need to work on his patterns. This takes time and effort and doesn’t happen overnight. But the current habit is definitely going to worsen his health over time.

Can you suggest good food sources for Zinc, B12 and Vitamin D?

B-12 and Vitamin D needs supplementation. Zinc sources @⁨+91 77966 92503⁩ will answer.

How do you cope with regular cold and cough that every child is affected with easily these days as I hate to give medicines.

They shouldn’t be getting affected. It is not normal to fall prey to infections this easily. That’s why finding out the root causes for the same is important.

Can chia seeds be given to a 2 year old? I mix it with other watermelon and pumpkin seeds (Powdered).

Yes, you can.

Mostly after eating grapes or oranges or lemon, my daughter experiences pain in the throat and then she catches cold. What precautions should be taken then?

I need a longer conversation for this. But these foods should not be triggering a cold. The only reason I can think of is that maybe they are not organic and the chemicals and toxins on them is what she is reacting to.

My kid is 2.5 years old. She gets cold and cough almost every month. Is it because of low immune system? What do you suggest to increase immunity? And during cough and cold, should we avoid giving oranges and grapes?

Please get his B-12, Vitamin D, Zinc etc status checked. Make sure there’s enough protein in his daily diet. And no, there’s no need to avoid oranges and grapes.

My daughter is 9 years old. She is fussy eater, she eats only a few vegetables as bhaji with roti and sometimes plain rice or curd rice. She doesn't eat much junk food and is not even fond of chocolate or cakes. Very often she tends to get cold and cough. She is thin in personality. What should I give to increase her immunity and appetite to eat food? Are there any medicines or multivitamins syrup or any home remedies? I had consulted doctors, they say it is dust allergy. If I switch the fan on at night, my daughter feels cold. I don't switch on the a/c. Whenever I consult a doctor after 2 courses of medicine, the doctor tells me to give her mild steroids. I think that is not a solution for this. I have not given her medicine . She is an active girl.

No. Steroids are not the answer. Just cut off dairy and see if there’s an improvement. If not, please ping us and we will be able to help for sure. 

We have worked with Autistic kids whose immunity has been restored. They are the fussiest eaters, if they can start eating healthy, anyone can.

My son is 3 years old. He is addicted to milk. What can be done?

Oatmilk, almond milk are good alternatives.

Please also advise on height gain. My 14 year old son is not gaining height the way other children of his class have gained.

Are you and his father tall? He may be genetically primed for height.

A 4 months old breastfed baby feels very gassy. Please suggest the solution. We make sure that the baby doesn’t suck too much air while breastfeeding.

You will need to change your diet a bit. Also, a probiotic will help. It also depends if he was a C-section baby.

Do you suggest a complete no no for cheese and butter as well? And what about ghee?

Yes. Ghee is too saturated, it causes an overload to the liver. If the liver is overloaded, the body cannot detox and then immunity gets compromised.

Can you please summarize your advice at the end based? It is very generic. Can you tell the sources of nutrition for macronutrients, dairy - No milk needed from what age group? Go organic - For better immunity.

Carbohydrates- Millets, Brown/ Red Rice, Oats

Protein- Dals, pulses, legumes, 

Fat- whole food- seeds, nuts, avocados, some amount of coconut- there’s no need for oil/ ghee. 

Fruits and Veggies for micronutrients

Supplements for deficiencies of specific nutrients like B-12, VitD, Zinc, Magnesium etc (if needed). The only milk humans need, is the milk humans produce- aka breast milk. Once the child weans of it, there is no need for any other milk. Yes, go organic to minimize toxin exposure.

The Root causes of low immunity are as follows:

  1. Deficiencies
  2. Overload of pathogens (bad viruses and bacteria), eating the wrong kind of food can help these grow. 
  3. Too many toxins from the environment.
  4. Stress

And our kids are way more stressed than we ever were.

Chicken breast - where do you source good quality organic? Yoghurt - Home made but what milk is best to set it with?

I don’t recommend animal products because they are loaded with hormones, antibiotics and other toxins. Milk- please refer to my earlier answers.

If a child has low immunity would you recommend supplements? If yes, which ones?

It is better to do blood tests so that we know which ones to recommend as we don’t do generic supplementation unless there’s a need.

So do you recommend vegan diet only?

Whole food plant based until health is stabilized, then adding animal products can be considered if necessary.

Can almond milk be used to set curd?

Yes, you can.

For probiotics, can we give kefir probiotics? Is this good or yakult which we get in the market. Any medicine to improve immunity or natural fruits which you suggest? My daughter takes only one cup of milk in the morning while going to school.

Kefir is made with milk. Yakult has more sugar than chocolate. Plus it is made with dairy. For probiotics either you make fermented foods like sauerkraut etc or take an occasional supplement to restore gut flora. If a child eats enough fiber, a good gut flora naturally establishes itself.

Is soya good for health?

I don’t currently recommend it as it is heavily genetically modified. But we are researching soy.

My son is a fussy eater. He prefers few foods. How to overcome that. As soon as he sees dal etc., he runs away from food.

How long will he run away? Humans are not designed to starve themselves. Parents are the ones who panic. If there are no other options, he will eat what is available. Fussy eaters are usually the ones who have learned this behaviour.

If you want to go cost efficient then what are other options of almond milk?

You can make it at home. 100 gm of almonds gives you 1 liter of milk.

My daughter is 15, is appearing for board exams. Can you suggest broad guidelines to keep her immunity levels good. She has to leave for exams at 8.00 and she doesn't eat breakfast before 9.30. Please advise.

Whole grains and millets, dals, fruits and vegetables. Please make sure she at least eats a fruit before she leaves. Our brains need glucose to function optimally.

What is the best way to cook sprouts to ensure maximum nutrients?

Steaming them is enough if raw is too hard to digest.

Can you please help with some food items for building immunity for 3.5 year olds?

The guidelines are the same. But if you need specific help, then we need to look for what’s really going on inside the body.

Can you suggest the name for an occasional supplement to restore gut flora?

Enterogermina/ delponorm are good.

Eggs a good source of protein right?

Are Eggs good for you?

The egg industry’s marketing capabilities are second only to the dairy industry. In other words, they are phenomenally good in convincing most people that eggs are good for human health.  

Well, here’s some evidence backed data for you to read and we’ll let you decide if eggs are good for you. 

  1. Dioxins are present in eggs (even free-range and organic eggs). Dioxins are highly toxic compounds that accumulate in fatty tissues of animals. So every egg you eat, you are loading your body with disease causing toxins.


  1. Within about an hour of eating two hard-boiled eggs, there is a bump in TMAO (Trimethylamine N-oxide) levels in the blood. The more TMAO people had in their blood, the greater the odds they have heart disease and the worse their heart disease was.


  1. Eggs are high in fat and dietary fat is the root cause of insulin resistance which leads to diabetes and eventually other cardiometabolic dysfunctions 


  1. Eggs present a huge risk for human health due their microbiological status, they are the biggest carriers of Salmonella. Secondly they feed the Epstein Barr Virus (a common herpesvirus with high infection rate that’s at the root cause of many modern day diseases from Cancer to Rheumatoid Arthritis)


  1. Eggs have residues of veterinary drugs, because laying hens treated with pharmaceutical products which lead to contaminated eggs


  1. Besides which the level of cruelty that occurs in the poultry industry is appalling!

If you want to increase your child’s immunity, the best thing to do is get their blood tests done, look for all root causes, make sure everything is at optimal levels. If internal health is 100/100 then externally there will be no symptoms of sickness.

So do you recommend vegan diet only?

Whole food plant based until health is stabilized, then adding animal products can be considered if necessary.

So do you recommend vegan diet only?

Whole food plant based until health is stabilized, then adding animal products can be considered if necessary.

So do you recommend vegan diet only?

Whole food plant based until health is stabilized, then adding animal products can be considered if necessary.

Any supplements you would suggest to increase the immunity if children are fussy eaters?

Supplement recommendations we do only after blood tests.

If a child doesn't get sick very often and only catches mild cold then is that child's immunity strong?

If they recover on their own without medicines then yes.

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Mugdha Pradhan –  Immunity and nutrition

Mugdha Pradhan – Immunity and nutrition

Mugdha Pradhan is a Functional Nutritionist and Founder, The Thrive Life. Mugdha has a Master’s degree in Nutrition and has spent close to two decades in the arena of health and wellness. She  discovered Functional Medicine when her own health took a nosedive. Using modern principles of functional medicine along with ancient wisdom about food and basing it on a sound foundation of spirituality she recovered from a multitude of chronic illnesses- not only did she lose 37 kgs, but she also reversed an autoimmune thyroid dysfunction (Hashimotos), diabetes and depression. She founded Thrive in 2017 to help others heal from chronic illnesses with her simple systems and methods. She has successfully healed over 200 unique cases so far. She now has a vision of healing 1 Million people through Thrive.

You can watch her Tedx Talk here: