Corona Virus has gripped the world and countries are issuing laws and taking measures to keep it contained. During this time you need to find ways to boost your immune system while maintaining laws of social distance.
The immune system is your protection against infections. It is not a single entity rather a network of cells, organs and tissues that work together. There are two types of immunity: Innate and Adaptive. You are born with innate immunity and you gain adaptive immunity when you are exposed to diseases and get vaccinated.
Although having a strong immunity alone does not protect you from coronavirus, it helps you build up your defences against it. One of the ways to strengthen your immune system is by eating well and maintaining a balanced diet.
Foods to strengthen your immune system
Spinach: Spinach contains nutrients and antioxidants. It also has vitamins like A, C, K1. It contains iron, calcium and minerals. It strengthens your bones, reduces oxidative stress and blood pressure levels. As it is high in Vitamin A, it helps repel viruses and bacteria. You can eat it raw in a salad, blend it into a soup, cook it or bake it.
Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes hold sweeter benefits than themselves. They are a bit healthier than regular potatoes. They are rich in fibre and vitamin B, C, D, Iron, Zinc and a host of other things. They can protect your cells from damage. They are also good for digestion. You can steam, boil, fry or bake them. You can add a personal twist while cooking these up.
Carrots: This crunchy orange goodness is a wealth of antioxidants. It is good for your heart and your eyes. Soluble fibres in carrots can cut blood sugar levels. They can also improve immune function and reduce the risk of illnesses. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A. You can add it to a salad or eat it raw. Cook it or whip it into a cake. Carrot halwa is also a popular sweet dish.
Broccoli: Broccoli looks like a miniature tree and is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It’s a good source of Vitamin C which provides a healthy immune response. It may also help reduce symptoms of the common cold. It keeps your bones healthy as it has calcium, phosphorous and vitamin K. Steamed broccoli retains most of its nutritional content. You can add it to salads or soups.
Mushrooms: There are many variants of mushrooms, however, Agaricus bisporus or white button mushroom is one of the edible variants. They are a natural source of Vitamin D. They help build stronger bones and boost the immune system. You can fry these little things or add them to salads, gravy, or curries.
Fruits: Fruits contain nutrients and vitamins that can protect you from infections. However, the sugar in fruits becomes a concerning factor for some. All fruits contain two types of sugar – fructose and glucose. Whole fruits are a better choice than packaged juices as these have added sugar that isn’t good for you. As it takes time to digest whole fruits, the fructose in them hits the liver slowly and it breaks down easily without causing any harm. Fruits also improve your fibre intake, reduce sugar consumption and give the needed boost to your immunity.
Apples: “An apple a day keeps a doctor away”. Apples contain many antioxidants. They are rich in fibre. They contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, K, C and E. Apples have anti-carcinogenic properties. Apples contain vitamin C which is essential in boosting the immune system. Whole fruit is better than the juice. Drink the juice in moderate quantities for hydration. Apple juice is low on fibre and high in sugar.
Papaya: Papayas, also known as pawpaws, are sweet fruits filled with nutrition. They are a great source of vitamin C, B, A, beta-carotene, K which helps keep your immunity stable. They are also good for your eyes and improve bone health. They are good for skin and hair care. Papayas are used in different recipes.
Mangoes: This sweet, pulpy fruit king is an all-time favourite. These are low on calories and high in antioxidants. Mangoes are rich in vitamin A, B, K and E which are essential for a healthy immune system. It’s versatile and prepared in many ways. They are cooling and perfect for the summer.
Bananas: Bananas are rich in nutrients. They contain a lot of vitamin B6 and a good amount of vitamin C. Manganese and potassium are also present. This helps to produce more red blood cells, improve metabolism and have a healthy immune system. It also protects you against cell and tissue damage. You can consume bananas as a whole, or in salads or smoothies.
Peaches: These soft, fuzzy fruits are great for your skin but they also have many health benefits. Along with nutrients, fibres and vitamins, peaches have antioxidants that protect your body from ageing and diseases. Peaches also prevent the release of histamines which trigger allergy symptoms. You can easily incorporate it into your daily diet.
Citrus fruits: Some citrus fruits are oranges, lemons, tangerines, clementine, limes, etc. Citrus fruits can help boost immunity as they contain vitamin C. Vitamin C helps produce more WBC’s which fight infections. They are juicy and good for hydration. Some of these also have antioxidants and are natural energy boosters. Lime is also known as a detoxifying agent.
Meats and Fish: Fish, like salmon, have Omega-3-fatty acids which help fight against heart-related conditions. Egg yolks are rich sources of protein which help fight against immune-related problems. Yoghurt has proteins and vitamins which gives your immunity a boost and is a great addition to your diet. Red meat provides nutrition if consumed in moderate amounts, over-consumption can cause harm. Chicken has high nutritional value, very high protein content and it helps boost immune cells. Chicken soup is good for the body.
Turmeric: This vibrant, yellow, flavour-filled spice has many uses and benefits. Curcumin, its main ingredient, can help reduce free radicals in the body. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help boost the immune system. It also helps keeps your skin healthy.
Ginger: Ginger has been known to aid digestion and treat upset stomach and nausea. It is anti-inflammatory and reduces swelling. It helps boost bone health and strengthen the immune system.
Garlic: Garlic has many benefits. It has Vitamin B6 and C. It improves bone health. It is used to fight against cold and flu infections.
Parsley: Parsley is a herb. It is used for skincare and as a condiment in food or for garnishing. Parsley can help support your immune system.
By consuming the right amount of food and maintaining a balanced diet you can build up your defence against coronavirus. Staying hydrated is essential and it’s also the easiest thing to do. Drink a glass of warm water in the morning and repeat that eight times through the day. Planning your meals is also important. You can de-stress by eating well, exercising, practising yoga and developing a good sleep routine.