Masks. Check. Sanitisers. Check. Hand wash regimen. Check. Social distancing. Check. Working on immunity. What? While we are busy taking all possible precautions to fight the pandemic that’s making the world lose its sleep, most of us are probably not spending enough time to strengthen our own immune system — perhaps the only way to fight coronavirus, if not prevent it completely. Here are a few simple ingredients that you can stock up on (no panic buying). Keep these handy to boost your immunity in order to help yourself and in turn, the world at large. Remember, worrying won’t help, improving your gut and immunity will
FOODS RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
Superfoods like berries, onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, and even pumpkins are high on antioxidants. Include one of these in your diet at least once a day. They are extremely essential for building our immune system, which in turn fights off the virus. These foods also contain abundant amounts of Vitamin C, B, and E, which help get rid of infections.
GET YOUR DOSE OF VITAMIN C
Our body relies on these nutrients to launch an effective immune response. So, stock up on lots of citrus fruits like guavas, oranges, amla, berries, lime, etc. Add vegetables of different colors to your plate and include moringa, basil leaves, spirulina, neem, and green tea in your diet.
GOOD OL’ TURMERIC
Turmeric, rich in anti-inflammatory properties, has an active compound called curcumin, which is known to have multiple benefits. Add turmeric and black pepper to your diet. It’s an age-old, tried and tested recipe for boosting your immune system. Have it in the form of tea along with water and spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, saffron, etc or have a glass of haldi doodh.
One of the major compounds within star anise is shikimic acid, which is the primary ingredient used for the past 15-plus years to synthesize antiviral drugs. It has many potent ingredients and of which it has amazing healing properties. You can make delicious Thai-style soups and curries and add it to that or else just boil some water with two pieces of star anise, let it seep in for at least 15 minutes, and have it warm.
Start your day with 1-2 tsp of organic coconut oil. It helps in reducing inflammation and digesting fat-soluble vitamins. Coconut oil has antiviral properties that can attack a variety of bacteria and viruses.
Just a spoonful of fermented foods encourages the growth of good bacteria in your gut. With high levels of good bacteria comes strong immunity. Sauerkraut, miso, kefir, yogurt, kimchi, homemade pickles, and kanji water are some great options for fermented foods.
Known as mulethi in Hindi,it has many antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is known to be very effective in many viral illnesses. So, brew yourself a warm cup of licorice tea if you feel like you have a cold coming up.
PREBIOTIC FOODS FOR GUT
Prebiotic foods — including flax seeds, chia seeds, apples, oats, barley, potato, bananas, garlic, and kiwi — promote the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut and help with digestive problems. It even helps build a strong immune system.
IT’S TIME FOR A LIFESTYLE CHECK
Besides eating right, certain lifestyle modifications can also prepare your body to fight the virus head-on. Here are a few:
Keep stress away: Stress produces hormones that affect our immune system deeply. So, one of the most important ways to increase our immunity is to reduce stress.
Sleep well: With an increased workload, we often indulge in caffeinated beverages without realizing how tired our body actually is. This disturbs our sleep, which in turn causes stress that again hampers our immune system.
Exercise regularly: Mild exercise often releases stress and boosts our immune system. If you are tired, rest and sleep well, but do include light workouts in your daily routine.
Give up smoking/vaping/e-cigarettes: Smokers, especially those with respiratory conditions, are more susceptible to coronavirus. Now is the time to quit.
Take more of Vitamin D: Since there are few sources for this, try absorbing it the natural way.
Stay positive: Half of the battle is won when you don’t let negative thoughts and anxiety affect yourself. Having a positive attitude can go a long way in coping with a crisis.