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Healthy Eating Can Help Boost Our Immunity to Fight Off COVID-19

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The whole world is suffering from a life-threatening disease that is caused by a severe acute respiratory syndrome. COVID-19 is deadly and until now there is no available vaccine to control it. The  precautionary measures like washing hands and maintaining social distancing are followed to control this disease. There are common mild symptoms like dry cough and fever, but this can be fatal.

People who are elderly, have weak immune system and those suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart problems are more vulnerable to the disease. The current health condition requires to boost up immune system by healthy eating practices. 

Here are the healthy eating practices that can help strengthen our immune system:

  • Drink warm water instead of high-sugary drinks
  • Include sources of vitamin C on our diet, like citrus fruits (oranges, lemons), rose hips (a small, sweet, tangy fruit from the rose plant), chille peppers, guavas, mustard spinach, kiwis, broccoli, papaya, litchis, and strawberries. 
  • Eat variety of vegetables, the antioxidants flavonoids found in vegetables and fruits are helpful to reduce the risk of infections in the lungs, throat, and nose by 33% on average
  • Add garlic on your food, it is a very common spice contains some antimicrobial compounds that is helpful to fight respiratory system infection. It can stimulate immune system due to sulphur containing compound allicin.
  • Use ginger, it is a multipurpose spice used to reduce inflammation, sore throat, and inflammatory illness.It is pack with properties of gingerol, sometimes helps to reduce pain. 
  • Drink green tea, it is a remedy if you have flu. Hot green tea acts as a decongestant, helping clear the sinuses of mucus. It also contains polyphenols, which helps to boost up our immune system and packed with epigallocatechin gallata (EGCG) and L-thianine that aid for the production of germ fighting compounds in your T cell. 
  • Use honey, it has potential to stimulate our immune system. It treats the sore throat problem due to its antimicrobial properties. 
  • Add chili pepper, it contains capsaicin, which releases cough from our lungs cavity. When cough does not stay in our lungs, then there is no chance for virus to live there. 
  • Eat oatmeal, it contains beta glucans, a type of fiber that helps reduce inflammation on the gut and stimulates immunity. Avoid buying flavored oatmeal, it has more added sugar. 
  • Include pomegranate, it has strong antiviral and antibacterial effects that inhibit bacteria and viruses prone diseases. Add some pomegranate on oatmeal for more added benefits.
  • Eat spinach, it is a good source of vitamin C, it is packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which help to increase infection fighting ability of our immune system. 
  • Add almond, it is packed with vitamin E and this powerful nut is a key to a healthy immune system. A half cup serving of it is recommended for adults.
  • Use turmeric, it is the key ingredient to cure induced muscle damage. It has an immune booster based on high concentration of curcumin, which also gives its yellow color. 
  • Eat more green leafy vegetables, they are rich in vitamins that help you maintain a good balance diet and support a healthy immune system. 
  • Get more dosage of vitamin D from exposure to the sunlight and eating egg yolk.

Four Ayurvedic medicines that can help control the respiratory problems:

  • Giloy  (Tinospora Cordifolia): This is also named as ayurvedic root of immortality. It is a herb that has incredible benefits from treating chronic fever to immunity booster. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants which has free radical, remove toxins, purify blood and fight bacteria that causes disease. It is popularly known for that anti inflammatory benefits and helps reduce respiratory problems like frequent cough, cold, and fever. 
  • Mulethi (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Chewing Mulethi sticks is an age old remedy for a sore throat. It is due to its expectorant and bronchodilator properties that can cure conditions like cough and bronchitis and reduces the effects of chronic asthma. Regular use of Mulethi is known to boost immunity, the enzymes present in root plant helps the body to produce lymphocytes and macrophages that protect the body from microbes, pollutants, allergens, and cells that cause autoimmune disease, it also keeps you away from infections and allergies and in turn boosting your immunity. 
  • Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum): Tulsi also known as basil leaves, is a fairly common plant in Indian households. It has very potent germicidal, fungicidal, anti-bacterial and antibiotic properties that can cure fevers caused by common infections and malaria. Ayurveda with decoction made of Tulsi leaves is a cure for a person suffering from fever. Another great property of this leaf is that it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that help to beat the infection causing the respiratory problem. 
  • Ashwagandha (Withenia somnifera ): Studies in humans have found that it increases the activity of natural killer cells, which are immune cells that fight infection and help you stay healthy. It is a safe supplement for most people, although its long-term effects are unknown. However,pregnant and breastfeeding women are not advised take it and those who have autoimmune diseases and conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and type 1 diabetes, unless authorized by a healthcare provider.

It is important to know that consuming the prescribed amount of ingredients is essential to receive the needed nutrients. 

Shatakshi Singh is a M.sc. scholar at Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana, India. 

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