By Dr Muhd Taufiq, DTAP Clinic
During a global event such as this pandemic where many of us around the world are locked in, it becomes more important than ever to keep our immunity up. Other than regular exercises, adequate sleep, and hydration, food becomes an essential component to provide us with the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients to support a healthy immune system.
Here are some of my suggestions:
1. Green tea
Tea is universally loved around the world. There are many varieties of tea, from breakfast tea, green tea, chrysanthemum tea, camomille tea, and so on.
Green tea especially, has been touted for its many health benefits. One of the key components of green tea is Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Another powerful component of green tea is the amino acid L-theanine, which helps to boost your T-cells to fight germs.
Remember Popeye, the comic superhero who chewed down tons of spinach and had Herculean strength? Spinach is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants like beta carotene. These antioxidants are helpful in fighting infections and boosting immunity. To get the best out of the nutrients from spinach, do light or minimal cooking.
Ginger is a common ingredient used in cooking, that many people use for different ailments like bloating and sore throats. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Ginger is a great ingredient you can use for cooking and for teas.
Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables, and very much a powerful dietary “cousin” to spinach. It is full of vitamins (A, C and E), minerals, antioxidants, dietary fiber, and for vegans, a good source of protein. Did you know that our bodies require a good dose of protein for immunity and muscle repair? Broccoli, just like spinach, should be lightly cooked. Just steaming it for a few minutes should do the trick. I usually add some salt and pepper for taste.
5. Citrus fruits
Many people take Vitamin C as a preventive supplement, or whenever they are down with common colds or flu. Vitamin C may also help increase the production of white blood cells. When taken orally, it does help boost immunity. You can go natural too, with tasty citrus treats such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes.
Yoghurt is a good source of good bacteria or probiotics. They contain live cultures that help to restore the good bacteria in your gut. It is very important to keep your gut healthy with these good bacteria, as 70% of your immune system are found in your gastrointestinal tract. Choose natural, unsweetened yoghurt. Try to avoid flavored yoghurt as they contain high amounts of sugars. Sweeten with some honey if you must.
Papaya is a popular local fruit. Did you know that is is full of Vitamin C? A single papaya contains 224 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. It also contains potassium, B vitamins, and folate, which are good for your health. If you have tried making meat stew, you may also know that the reason why papaya is used to tenderize meats is due to the presence of a digestive enzyme known as papain, that also possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
On top of that, keep it holistic
There is no magic pill or food that boosts your immunity. You will need to have a holistic approach to boosting your immunity. Just remember to eat in moderation and continue to practice a healthy lifestyle as much as possible. Stay home and stay safe!