Boost Your Immune System To Fight COVID-19

I guess the new announcement on the Lockdown imposed by the government came with no surprise right? Numbers of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia has been rising rapidly and with the new variants that is deemed more dangerous than before, we can’t help but worry.

However, we can’t possibly live as hermits. Somehow, we just need to embrace the ‘new norm’ and ‘soldier on’!  Aside from keeping a safe distance from others, avoiding big crowds, wearing your masks and sanitising your hands frequently, we should also aim to boost our immune system because let’s face it, there is no cure as yet to fight the COVID-19 disease except to improve your overall health and boost your immunity!

There’s no sure fire way of saying “If you eat this, you won’t get coronavirus” because no supplement or food group will prevent or cure the disease, but choosing certain foods can definitely boost your immune system and make you less susceptible to illness.

The building blocks of your immunity are helped by the micronutrients in your food, such as antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, and nothing delivers those better than fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts and seeds. The flip side is also true, that studies show a diet high in red meat and processed foods can cause inflammation, and in the case of COVID-19, inflammation is the enemy. Patients who do the worst when confronted with this virus are those who are overweight, have chronic inflammation, high blood pressure or are otherwise immune-compromised.

According to some research, a diet high in plant-based foods is the answer and to avoid foods like meat, processed food and dairy which can cause inflammation, especially to those in the higher risk groups.

So if you’re looking for ways to prevent colds, the flu, and other infections, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store. Plan your meals to include these powerful immune system boosters. Hey, prevention is better than cure don’t you agree?

1. Add More Citrus

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Most people turn straight to vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. That’s because it helps build up your immune system.

Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections. If you’re not a fan of supplements, just add citrus fruits in your diet!

Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.

Popular citrus fruits includes grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons and limes.

But what’s the amount needed as our daily vitamin C intake? It’s 75g for women and 90 mg for men. However, bear in mind that there is no evidence yet as to how effective it is against the new variants of coronavirus.

2. Red Peppers! Twice The Amount Of Vitamin C!

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Say what??! Peppers are also a great source of beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A (retinol). Vitamin A is important for healthy skin, your mucous membranes and your immune system. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy, as well. One cooked pepper has 19 percent of your daily recommended amount of beta carotene.

How much beta carotene do you need a day? You should try to get 75 to 180 micrograms a day which is the equivalent of one medium bell pepper a day. But a red pepper has more than two and a half times your RDA for vitamin C. Wow!

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This marvelous green vegetable is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and many antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate and easy to prepare too!

The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all. However, if the idea of eating it raw sends shrivels down your spine, steaming is the best best as it keeps more nutrients in the food.

Try our Stir Fry beef and broccoli recipe here!

4. Garlic

Garlic is not just a great flavor-enhancer, it’s essential for your health. Ancient humans valued garlic as an infection fighter, which is why so much of our traditional diets uses garlic as one of the main ingredients in dishes. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties are tied to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. Allicin is thought to improve your immune cells’ ability to fight off colds and flu, and viruses of all kinds.

Garlic also has anti-microbial and anti-viral properties thought to fight off infections.How much should you eat in a day: The optimal amount of garlic to eat is around two to three cloves a day. Too much I know..or you could opt to take garlic supplements instead as an alternative.

5. Ginger, Good For Digestion & Immune System

Ginger is another ingredient that has super properties when it comes to fighting off illness. It has been shown to decrease inflammation, which can help if you get swollen glands or a sore throat or any inflammatory ailment.

Gingerol, the main bioactive compound in ginger, is a relative of capsaicin, can be used in sweet or spicy dishes. It has been found to alleviate pain and fight nausea. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

How much ginger should you consume? Most recommendations land on 3–4 grams of ginger extract a day, or up to four cups of ginger tea, but no more than 1 gram a day if you are pregnant. Some studies have linked high dosages to an increased risk of miscarriage.

6. Spinach, Kale and Any Dark Leafy Greens

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Spinach is not only packed with vitamin C but also antioxidants and beta carotene, both of which give your immune system the healthy boost it needs to fight off invaders.

Don’t overcook your spinach, since the more it’s cooked the less active the antioxidants will be. If you eat it raw or lightly steamed you’ll keep more of the nutrients intact.

How much should you eat a day: Aim for 1 cup fresh spinach or 1/2 cup cooked per day, but this is the right moment to try the raw or slightly wilted approach. Order warm or wilted spinach salad when you go out, or make it yourself with olive oil, pine nuts, and vegan parm. Red spinach is a great option too!

7.  Almonds For Snacking

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Vitamin E in almonds will help ward off colds and flu and is key to your immune system. Therefore, nuts are the perfect package for you to get your dosage of vitamin E into your system.

8. Turmeric Rich With Anti-Inflammatory Properties

If you ever feel healthier for eating curry, it is probably because of the Tumeric, which is an ingredient that gives it its burnt orange color. But this highly pigmented spice is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. The ingredient curcumin has been found to decrease muscle soreness after a hard workout. How it helps immunity? Turmeric decreases exercise-induced muscle damage.

Tumeric bolsters the immune system by stimulating antibody formation and people with auto-immune diseases are told by their doctors to take 500 mg of curcumin daily to reduce inflammation and stave off soreness.

9. Green Tea by the Gallon

Whether you prefer green tea or black tea, you will benefit from the compounds called flavonoids, powerful antioxidants. Green tea has high levels of EGCG, (epigallocatechin gallate) another hard-working antioxidant.

EGCG is known to boost immune function, and originally all tea leaves contain this anti-oxidant, but when black tea is fermented it deactivates most of the EGCG. Green tea is steamed so the EGCG is still active when you drink it.

Green tea also contains L-theanine, an anti-oxidant which appears to help in the production of T-cells in your body. This may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.

The optimal amount is three to five cups in a day, but people rarely drink that much. However, swapping your usual coffee or black tea with green tea is better than nothing and can improve your health.

10. Papaya, The Tropical Healer

Papaya delivers over twice your recommended daily amount of vitamin C in one fruit — though you’re likely to eat a few slices on a salad or in a smoothie. It also contains an enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects — and inflammation is one factor in most illnesses, so avoiding it can help your body fight off bacterial infections like sinusitis.

Papayas contains potassium, vitamin B, and folate, which is a powerful cell rebuilder. Exactly how folic acid works to build immunity is linked to its role in protein synthesis, and researchers think that any mechanism in which cells proliferate can be affected (which is why it’s critical for pregnant women). People who are folate-deficient have compromised immune systems.How much folate should you eat a day: Whether you are pregnant or not, folate (vitamin B9) is a great vitamin to keep your cells healthy and strong. The recommendation is 400 micrograms a day, or get it from legumes, spinach, papayas, and avocados.

11. Kiwis, a Vitamin Powerhouse

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When you think of anti-oxidants, you should think of fruits that grow in the sun, since their vitamin pack comes from having to fight off the oxidation of the strong rays that beat down on them in the tropics. Kiwis are a great example. They are full of folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium.

These vitamins in combination work in the body to build healthy cells, fight infection and keep your immune system humming along. Vitamin K deficiency is rare but when people don’t have enough they suffer from weak bones and compromised immune systems. The inflammation system in the body is also dependent on vitamin K, especially your killer T cells that mobilize and fight cancer and other diseases.

How much should you eat in a day: Vitamin K is one of the unsung heroes of the body. Women should get 90 micrograms a day, and men should have 120 micrograms.

So there! Add these fruits and vegetables into your diet and boost your immune system so that if coronavirus hits you, your body is able to counter back! Get what you need to give your immune system a boost at today and live a healthier life!