By Luke Coutinho
Coronavirus outbreak: Amidst the pandemic and a plethora of theories, studies, researches, there stands one thing common. That is IMMUNITY. Immunity is going to be your saviour during this entire span of fighting with the virus globally. Immunity, aka the defence system of our body is what's going to help prevent the virus from attacking you, as well as recover from the infection if you ever contract it.
And it's no surprise that Immunity-is a word you will see everywhere, in every health article, blog, videos, etc. The rate at which the problem is only peaking right now, it's even more important that our focus, attention and effort should be towards building immunity. Not by going into panic mode, but by knowing the right kind of actions to take that will benefit your immune system. It is going to be your first and last line of defence.
So here are some foods to explore in your endeavour to boost immunity, because no matter how many masks you change in a day or how well you wash your hands, a weak immunity is a gateway for every kind of infection.
Coronavirus outbreak: What builds immunity?
Immunity is not just about popping in vitamin and mineral supplements and superfoods. Its dependent on nutrition, but also on your sleep, physical activity and most importantly, emotional health. Lifestyle, in short. Supplements like Vitamin C and other superfoods are being wiped off from the market shelves almost overnight, and while it might be in their honest attempt to safeguard themselves, it's also important to understand that boosting immunity doesn't always need extreme measures. You can do it at home and with the basics that you might already have lying in your kitchen cabinet.
COVID-19: Foods that boost immunity
Here are foods that can help boost your immunity:
Spices: Ginger, Garlic, Turmeric, black pepper, cumin, bishops weed, fennel, star anise, fenugreek seeds, clove, fennel seeds, cardamom, cinnamon
Fun fact: Star anise contains shikimic acid, the active ingredient in Tamiflu, a medicine used to treat influenza virus. While the COVID- 19 is a mutated virus, star anise helps in boosting immunity.
Herbs: tulsi, lemongrass, oregano, thyme
Coconut oil-cold pressed / wet milled
Raw and unpasteurised honey
Quality sources of protein-lentils, pulses, legumes, beans
Nuts and seeds (specifically, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts)
Fruits and vegetables: Lemons, oranges, pomegranate, amla, sweet potato, pumpkin, moringa
Probiotics: Rice kanji, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, good quality yogurt, beet kvass
Prebiotic: Garlic, leek, apple, apple cider vinegar, banana
Crucial vitamins and minerals: Zinc and Selenium
Good quality loose black tea / white tea leaves
An immunity boosting tea recipe:
Take two cups of water, boil one whole star anise in it along with:
3 black peppercorns
1 cracked elaichi (Cardamom)
A dash of Sri Lankan Cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
Half tsp turmeric powder
1-inch mashed ginger
1-2 cloves garlic-mashed or minced
Boil all of this into half (till water reduce to 1 cup), simmer for 2 mins and consume warm.
COVID-19: Vitamin D3 gives what our immunity needs at cellular level
A vitamin most of us are deficient in, is also crucial for immunity and not just bones and hormones. As per the British Medical Journal, the immune system uses Vitamin D to make antimicrobial weapons to puncture holes in bacteria and viruses. Vitamin D will give what our immunity needs at the cellular level.
Foods that cripples your immunity:
Sugar-is the no.1 enemy for our immunity. It can be well understood by that fact that a can of coke can suppress immunity to almost 50% for the next few hours, but reducing the ability of white blood cells to kill germs.
Smoking-Smoking depletes every single vitamin level from your body, primarily Vitamin C. So, if you have been loading up on amla, lemons, etc, make sure you also work on your smoking habit for food to work.
Alcohol-Alcohol dehydrates and acts as a diuretic that can flush out a number of vitamins and minerals from your body. It also intoxicates and burdens your liver, a main detoxification organ.
Refined oils-Refined and cheap quality oil is again an immunity turn off. They also create a lot of inflammation in the body, derange lipids and create an acidic environment.
Along with all of the above immunity boosters, also prioritise on your sleep, emotional health and physical activity. This along with the immunity boosting foods listed above will create a perfect environment internally for your immunity and body's intelligence to catch up and protect you.
The columnist is a renowned holistic lifestyle coach – Integrative Medicine. Views expressed are the author's own.