New Delhi: The stark rise in the cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the world and now in India has raised numerous doubts among people. Questions like whether or not a nutritious diet can prevent an individual from contracting the infectious disease are doing the rounds. Adding fuel to the fire are WhatsApp forwards and unverified information on the internet listing out the foods to have and have to prevent oneself from the pandemic COVID-19. There is no denying that having an optimally functioning immune system to safeguard against the disease is more important than ever. But how to strengthen your immunity naturally? To put a rest to all the apprehensions and get tips on boosting immunity, NDTV speaks to Clinical Nutritionist Lovneet Batra.
Before we list out the food items to inculcate in a diet, let remember the basic rule – eat freshly prepared hot food. Don’t eat raw food. Also, get enough sleep, minimum seven hours of sleep as it regulates immune function, said Ms Batra.
Befriend Vitamin C And D
Vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. To boost immunity and the levels of Vitamin C, one should take citrus fruits and vegetables like Amla, Lemon, Orange and others. Ms Batra suggests drinking fresh amla juice (30ml), every day.
People who have been infected with the COVID-19 are given Vitamin C through IV (Intravenous therapy) – that delivers fluids directly into a vein, said Ms Batra.
Vitamin D deficiency which is prevalent among women is a big no. While the best and most abundant source of Vitamin D is sunlight, in case of deficiency, one should take supplements. Egg yolks and mushrooms can also be made part of the diet to increase the levels of Vitamin D in a human body.
Yogurt, A Natural Probiotic
In the time of coronavirus, hand hygiene which involves regular cleaning and washing of hands with soap and water or alcohol based rub is recommended. Hand sanitisers which are being used regularly to kick away the germs and viruses, kills the good bacteria essential to build immunity. Yogurt is a natural probiotic and aids in the formation of good bacteria in our body. – the relation doesn’t make sense
Yogurt has to be freshly made. If you have sore throat regardless of the cause, yogurt might worsen it but for better immunity you need probiotics so you can resort to supplements, said Ms Batra.
Zinc is another nutrient that helps your immune system and metabolism function. An individual can either take Zinc supplements or inculcate in their diet through cashews, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, among others.
Turmeric, The Golden Spice
Turmeric is known for its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin, the compound present in turmeric is a very potent agent that aids in clearing toxins and protecting the lungs.
Most people have it (turmeric) in the wrong way. If you are having haldi (turmeric), don’t have it in water, instead, boil it in the milk and have the popular turmeric milk. You can also take it with coconut oil and black pepper, said Ms Batra.
Natural Anti-virus Foods
The holy plant Tulsi (Basil) holds detox properties. For boosting immunity and flushing out toxins, Ms Batra suggested a Tulsi drink which can simply be made by boiling three to four leaves in water.
You can also take three to four pieces of star anise (it’s a spice), give it two to three boils and have it warm, said Ms Batra.
Garlic, which has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of illness and disease, has anti-inflammatory effect and results in a stronger immune system. It’s known to combat sickness, cold and cough.
Take one garlic clove, mash it, and expose it to air for five minutes so that its compound called allicin which has potent medicinal properties gets activated and then have it, explained Ms Batra.