Food to boost immunity, tips by Dr Priti Nanda Sibal

By Dr Priti Nanda

In the age of the coronavirus pandemic, apart from following the basic protective measures like washing hands , social distancing etc.,   it is vital that you select healthy balanced  diet  that would build your immunity against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and other diseases.

Dr. Priti Nanda Sibal

Under the current conditions, rating a diet that’s high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is important so as your immune system stay strong and healthy.

A healthy diet that contains important vitamins and minerals plays an important role in staying healthy and strong.

As researchers and scientists work to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, here are some tips to plan your meals by including    essential nutrients to strengthen the immune system:

  • YOGURT

Yogurt has been consumed by humans for thousands of years. Its creation might be disputed but its health benefits are not.

Yogurt is probably the best-known dietary source of probiotics for thousands of years. Regular intake of plain yogurt strengthens your micro biome, decrease gut permeability and strengthen your immune system and reduce your likelihood of contracting an illness.

Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that are naturally present in the digestive system. Yogurt is defined as a coagulated milk product which results from bacterial fermentation of milk that can give your immune system a boost.

With few exceptions, milk and yogurt have similar vitamin and mineral compositions, but it’s also high in protein. You’ll also get a bit of vitamin A and zinc.

Yogurt eaters get a dose of animal protein plus several other nutrients found in dairy foods, like calcium, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium.

Yogurt already contains some natural sugar in the form of lactose (milk sugar) and thus consuming yogurt with minimal added sugar and Live strains of good bacteria is an easy way to support immune health. Plain unsweetened yogurt typically contains around 10–15 grams of carbs per cup (250 grams), but flavored or sweetened yogurts can easily contain more than 30-40 grams per serving.

Typically, the healthiest choice is plain, low fat or non-fat unflavored yogurt. But if you don’t like plain yogurt, then best option is to sweeten it yourself with your favorite fresh fruit, nuts, berries, and just a little honey to sweeten.

Yogurt provides almost every nutrient especially calcium, Vitamin B, Minerals that are necessary for human body.

Choose the low-fat or fat-free kind to reap the benefits without extra saturated fat.

  • MUSHROOMS

Mushrooms to enhance superpowers? You bet. With antioxidants, vitamins and fiber, mushrooms are being touted for their role in boosting immunity by reducing inflammation and stimulating the release of protective compounds. Mushrooms contain powerful immune enhancing packs of antioxidants vitamins like riboflavin and niacin and protective properties   essential for strong immune system function.

Mushrooms have a savoury quality that can enhance the flavour of many dishes. Culinary mushrooms may be used in dishes such as soups, stews, stir-fries, pasta, and omelettes. Tea is also commonly made from whole fresh or dried mushrooms. “Eating mushrooms Disease-Fighting Stars” will actually help your body’s ability to produce antibodies, which is vital for fighting diseases.  Mushrooms, can actually not just shore up your immunity, but actually enhance it, boost it and take it to the next level.

For those who don’t like eating mushrooms, there’s a mushroom extract that can be added to water.

  • CITRUS FRUITS

Fruits are the gateway to better immunity as they are a powerhouse of fibre and nutrients such as vitamin C. Regular intake of citrus fruits like strawberries Grapefruit, Oranges, Amla, Lemons, Limes have a bunch of health benefits from boosting immunity to preventing seasonal diseases like cold, the flu or common monsoon diseases. You need to include these immune boosters in your diet on a regular basis for more energy and vitamins,    avoid illness and  keep your skin smooth and elastic.

These citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C which contributes to the production of white blood cells, which play a vital role in fighting all those germs and microbes that enter your bloodstreams and cause diseases and infections. They’re nutritious and contain plant compounds that can protect against a variety of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, brain dysfunction and kidney stones.Overall, citrus fruits are potent antioxidant which has positive effects on skin health and immune function.

  • GINGER

Ginger, the humble versatile spice widely used as home remedy for health ailments like blood sugar, indigestion, nausea, stomach pain, and respiratory symptoms such as cold and the flu. The super spice   not only adds flavour to your dishes but also serves up numerous health benefits. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which helps to boost immunity, it strengths and prevents seasonal disease. Research also suggests that fresh ginger contains the high substance of gingerol, a chemical compound found in fresh ginger, that has anti- inflammatory and antioxidant properties which boost immunity and ward off illness. In fact, starting your morning with a glass of ginger tea or ginger kashayam   (water decoction or water extract) could keep away many diseases and strengthen the immune system. Ginger kashayam may help treat flu accompanied by a dry cough.

To make your own ginger tea at home:  Immerse ginger pieces in boiling water for at least 10 minute. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and honey to make it more tasty and refreshing and you can have it daily in the morning as empty stomach to boost your immunity and treat various seasonal ailments.

Kadha or herbal tea:

The traditional way of consuming ginger is in herbal tea /kadha. Add a few basil leaves and boil some ginger in water and mix it with a spoon of honey. Regular intake of this kadha will help in curing several ailments such as cold, cough and sore throat.

You can also prepare   ginger-garlic tea for health and immunity. Take a pot of 5-6 cup water. Now, add a small chunk of fresh ginger roots. Then add 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic, half a teaspoon of black pepper and let it boil for few minutes. Remove from heat, strain in cup, add half a teaspoon of honey for taste and enjoy!

In fact, raw ginger has around 79% water, 18% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and 1% fat. In fact, the best way to use ginger is by adding raw ginger to your foods and drinks.

About the author

Dr Priti Nanda Sibal is India’s leading nutrition and functional medicine expert

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