Right now, the whole world is panicking. All we are hearing about is COVID-19…
The pandemic known as COVID-19 is a virus that has been spreading through continents at a rapid pace. This new strain of coronavirus, previously not identified in humans, is the cause of an outbreak of a respiratory illness. As it attacks your body, your immune system will try to defend it, but if your immune system is compromised then you stand more of a chance of getting sick.
There is a lot of advice about “how to wash your hands”, “using hand sanitizer” and of course “the lockdown” but what we aren’t talking about is how food plays a vital role in times like these, especially as it helps reinforce your immune system.
Your immune system is essential for survival, it is a vast network of cells and tissues on the lookout for invaders such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and more and once these enemies are spotted, a complex attack is initiated. Providing your immune system with the correct nutrients through a balanced diet will assist in fighting off disease and keeping you healthy. So, besides this lockdown, sanitising and washing your hands, what you eat, and drink directly impacts how well your immune system functions and how well it protects you from foreign invasions.
Considering this, in addition to a balanced diet, here is quick essential food guide to boosting, strengthening, and fortifying your immune system:
Citrus Fruits: All citrus fruits, such as oranges and sweet limes, are rich in vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Vitamin C is essential for enhancing our immune system and helps keep infectious diseases at bay. Citrus fruits help detoxify all chemicals and toxins from the bloodstream as well as an antioxidant for necessary absorption of iron in the body.
Fresh Berries: Berries are tiny, tasty and tantalizing colourful and are amongst the healthiest foods you can eat. Not only are they delicious and nutritious but do provide several impressive health benefits. Berries are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and K, manganese and other micronutrients which make berries a super disease fighting fruit.
Kiwi: Kiwi is no ordinary fruit, both in the way it looks as well as its nutritional content. If you thought lemons and oranges were the highest sources of Vitamin C, think again. Compared to lemons and oranges, kiwis have twice as much vitamin C per 100 grams.
Guava: Guava is considered a traditional remedy for a range of health conditions, but it is drinking the guava leaf that has shown promise as an antiviral agent for flu treatment. Researchers have found that guava leaf tea inhibits the growth of viruses that causes the flu.
I have spoken about them before, and I cannot stress enough how important it is to include cruciferous vegetables in your daily diet. These types of vegetables are a diverse group, which grow in different colours, shape and sizes and share several nutritional benefits. These delicious vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and kale, are rich in folate, vitamin A, C and K, they are also believed to have plant-based compounds that may boost your immune system, help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer. These non-starchy, immune boosting vegetables can be eaten raw, steamed but blending or juicing is equally beneficial.
Almonds: Almonds are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamin E which can be found in almonds, plays a vital role in immune function. Just a small handful or a quarter cup can be a healthy snack that may be beneficial in boosting your immune defence.
Sunflower Seeds: Another excellent source in vitamin E are sunflower seeds. These seeds can make a tasty addition to salads and breakfast bowls.
Walnuts: Walnuts are known to be one of the most concentrated food sources of nutrient provided by nature. Rich in phosphorus and potassium, low in sodium, good sources of Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and particularly B6. Walnuts also contain iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, and manganese, all these components help with a stronger immune system.
Garlic: For centuries, garlic has been used both as a food ingredient and a medicine. When garlic is crushed, chewed, or sliced, it produces allicin – a compound which has shown to boost the disease fighting response when encountering viruses that cause the common cold and flu.
Ginger: Ginger is a well-known herb and spice. Adding ginger to your meals or used in a tea, will help the immune system perform optimally by boosting it when it is under-active or suppress it when it is overactive
A key component to a functioning immune system is drinking enough clean water daily. Water is essential for every metabolic function in the body, as it delivers nutrients to cells and helps remove toxins and waste. When there is a lack of water, the areas prone to bacteria and virus overgrowth, such as the throat, are vulnerable to colds and flus.
So, if you were wondering what more you could do to protect you and your family; besides hand washing and social distancing, these key nutrient tips mentioned above are basic ways to keep your immune system functioning optimally, which help keep you healthy and give you a sense of control during these uncertain times.
Beauty Warriors Tip: I know not many people are diligent when it comes to getting the flu vaccine before flu season starts, but during these times, it may be recommended just to give your immune system all the help it can get. No one wants to catch the flu during a pandemic. The flu vaccine is readily available through pharmacies and GPs – please call them ahead of time to confirm their COVID-19 protocols.
Stay home. Stay safe.