New Delhi: As the COVID-19 caused by the deadly SARS-CoV-2 spreads across the world, we have been hearing about how to avoid and reduce the risk of contracting the illness by practicing good personal hygiene such as frequent handwashing and cough etiquette. Besides this, what else can you do to help improve your health or avoid a viral infection? Perhaps, a well-functioning immune system may help you fight off diseases and stay healthy.
It has been shown that a healthy immune system can defeat disease-causing pathogens. So, keeping your immune system pumped up is one of the easiest ways to stay away from diseases, including a common cold and the flu. This doesn’t mean that you will not fall sick, it means that even if you do catch the infection r a virus, you may be able to fight off illness faster than an individual who has a compromised immune system. So, with coronavirus continuing to spread, it’s important than ever to eat a balanced diet, stay well-hydrated and adopt other healthy habits that can help strengthen your immune system.
Foods that boost your immune system
If you’re looking for ways to help boost your immunity in preparation for diseases, including the COVID-19, making a few tweaks to your diet and feeding your body with certain foods may help. Including these six 6 immunity-booster foods suggested by Delnaaz T Chanduwadia, chief dietician, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, in your daily meals may protect you from getting sick.
- Colourful veggies: A rainbow-coloured plate is a key to a happy immune system. Colourful fruits and veggies contain many pigments – such as chlorophyll, astaxanthin, beta carotene – all these have antioxidant properties and work at building the immune system. Bell peppers (red, green, yellow), red cabbage, broccoli, berries, are powerful immune system boosters.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an important vitamin in the gamete of immunonutrition. It has a plethora of functions and may help prevent or even cure basic infections. Apart from having vitamin functions, vitamin C also has an antioxidant function. This prevents cellular damage and free radical formation. Ensure that you get your daily dose of vitamin C from lemons, oranges, guava, amla, peppers, etc.
- Turmeric: This magic spice has been used since time immemorial. Curcumin in turmeric is considered a potent immune booster. It works as an anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, etc. It can also work well for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Haldi Doodh or turmeric milk is the go-to food that can help keep cold and flu at bay.
- Ginger: Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant food. Gingerol, the active compound in ginger, has been shown to reduce inflammation, chronic pain, sore throats. It has also been shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties.
- Berries: Berries are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, which help to amp up the immune system. Consume seasonal fruits and vegetables to get the best of all fruits and veggies.
- Prebiotics and probiotics: Over-the-counter (OTC) antibiotics can destroy the internal gut flora. A well-balanced gut flora is a key to a rock-solid immune system. Getting a good daily dose of prebiotic and probiotic foods helps to balance gut flora and maintain a healthy immune system. While prebiotics are present in fiber-rich foods like fruits, veggies and wholegrains, probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, soy products, etc.
Additionally, stress can have a huge impact on your immune system. Too much stress can interfere with your immune response to bacteria, viruses and germs. So, eat well, de-stress, get enough sleep to boost your immunity and reduce your risk of getting sick.