Hyderabad: With COVID – 19, spreading its tentacles at an alarming rate and with no antidote till date to combat it, self-isolation and quarantining seems to be the only hope to prevent the virus from spreading further. With the aged and those with pre-existing medical conditions at far greater risk of contracting the virus owing to their lower immunity levels, the time is now, to look inward for foods within the home to help you fight the onset of the infection.
Time and again research has proven that foods with ingredients like Vitamin C & E and certain types of herbs are great at boosting immunity. Having said this, we give you a sneak-peak of a few “daily” foods which are excellent immunity builders, especially in times such as these. The magic lies in the “ingredients” that are present in these foods which are highly effective in building immunity.
1. Fruits and vegetables which are rich in beta-carotene, Vitamin C, E and even Zinc. These changes in the diet of the elderly can surely help build greater immunity. Foods with dark leafy greens such as spinach, carrots, apricots, peas, broccoli, red and yellow peppers have good amounts of beta-carotene and are surely great food options.
2. Staying hydrated: Ask anybody and without batting an eyelid they would say “drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day”. The same principle applies here too. One could also include green tea, coconut water and even some homemade fruit juices which will go a long way in boosting immunity.
3. Foods rich in Vitamin C: Various researches have proven that vitamin C is an important aspect of improving immunity, be it kids, adults or even elderly! Fruits like oranges, papaya, kiwi, and guava are rich in vitamin C and should be included in their diet. Also, veggies like eggplant, bell peppers, beetroot, spinach, and cauliflower are known to be quite rich in vitamin C and are good for immunity.
4. Herbs: Naturally occurring substances in our very own humble herbs like turmeric, ginger, garlic, Tulsi and black cumin are proven to have medicinal and curative properties which have been embraced globally. Curcumin, for instance, an ingredient found in in the ubiquitous turmeric is a widely recognised ingredient for its anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties. Some research also points to having Tulsi with black pepper and honey provides strength to the body to fight diseases and infections. Being rich in Vitamins C, B1 and B6; minerals (phosphorous and iron), Garlic is not only a great flavour-adding agent to the food but also a rich source of immune booster owing to its nutritive, antifungal and antiseptic properties. Key ingredients present in Garlic – sulfur compound allicin
5. Foods rich in Vitamin E: Some researches have proven that vitamin E is vital for maintaining the overall health of elderly people, including their immunity. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can protect you from various infections, bacteria and viruses. Include soaked almonds, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and even hazelnuts to get the daily dose of vitamin E.
In times such as these when even stepping out for a few minutes exposes you to a significant risk of contracting the infection, staying at home, locked-down can be stressful too on the mind, body and soul. Use this time to build a great immune system with these foods and some easy-to-do home exercises, to help you stay fit.
By Dr. Anju Majeed, Director and Sr. Scientist, Sami – Sabinsa Group