As COVID-19 continues to ravage the world, people across the globe are seeking alternative way to combat this deadly disease. There have been some precautions towards virus prevention such as avoiding sick people and frequent washing of hands. In addition, however, evidence has shown that nutrition and other lifestyle measures influence immune strength and susceptibility to infectious diseases. Since our immune system is our body defense system against infectious diseases, feeding the body with certain foods will help strengthening our immunity.
When it comes to a diet that supports good immune health, it is good to focus on more plants and plant-based foods. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, found in foods such as fatty fish, nuts and olive oil is considered to have necessary nutrients and other antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and fight infection. In addition to incorporating immune boosters in our diets, It is advisable we get enough rest as our immunity gets affected when we are stressed.
Below are foods or supplements to include in your diet in order to have good immune response to various diseases.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years in folk and alternative medicines. A test-tube study found that fresh ginger has antiviral effects against human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), which causes respiratory infections, and helps boost immune response against HRSV. Other studies have shown that ginger extract reduces inflammation in those with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory gut disease, asthma and certain cancers.
A serving size (100g) of ginger contains; 80 calories, 18.0g of carbohydrate including 1.7g of sugar, 1.8g of protein, 415mg of potassium, 16.0mg of calcium, 340mcg of zinc, 600mcg of iron, 0.7mcg of selenium, 120mg of Omega-6 fatty acids, 34mg Omege-3 fatty acids, 34mcg of riboflavin, 28.8mg of choline and 160mcg of vitamin B6.
Watermelon is made up of 92% water and 6% sugar. It has essential nutrients, which include vitamins, minerals and many antioxidants. Its 92% water content can help you avoid constipation by speeding up bowel movements. The citrulline, and the glutathione in the red pulpy flesh near the rind, have many important functions, including making DNA, the building blocks of proteins and cells and supporting immune function. Watermelon is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, which have some important benefits to the skin.
A cup of watermelon contains; 46.2 calories, 11.6g of carbohydrate including 9.6g of sugar, 0.6g of fibre, 12.4mg of vitamin C, 43.1mcg of vitamin A, 15.4g of magnesium, 172mg of potassium, 6.3mg of choline, 467mcg of beta carotene, 6989mcg of lycopene and 4.6mcg of folate.
Carrot is a root vegetable which is crunchy, tasty and highly nutritious. Carrots contain beta-carotene, an important member of carotenoids, which may help slow the ageing process, reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, improve lung function, and reduce complications associated with diabetes. The fibre and potassium in carrots may help manage blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues. The Lutein and zeaxanthin work to protect eyes from free radical damage.
A medium-sized raw carrot contains; 25 calories, 5.8g of carbohydrate including 2.9g of sugar, 1.7g of fibre, 195mg of potassium, 3.6mg of vitamin C, 509mcg of vitamin A, 5050mcg of Beta carotene, 2120 of Alpha carotene, 152mcg of Lutein & zeaxanthin, 11.6mcg of folate, 20.1mg of calcium and 21.4mg of phosphorous.
Pawpaw is a fruit crop with enormous nutritional values. A single papaya contains more than 200% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, making it great for your immunity. The vitamin and mineral contents aid digestion, protect against arthritis and prevent signs of ageing. Its antioxidants, phytonutrients and flavonoids prevent your cells from undergoing free radical damage.
A medium-sized papaya contains approximately; 120 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrate – including 5 grams of fibre and 18 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein. They are also rich in folate, alpha and beta-carotene, vitamin A, C & E, magnesium, copper, potassium and pantothenic acid.
Mushrooms provide almost similar nutritional benefits as vegetables with the same attributes commonly found in meat, beans and grains. They contain vitamins as well as powerful antioxidant called selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues. Mushrooms also contain beta-glucans which, according to some human studies, can provide protection against some types of cancer – including breast, skin, stomach and lung cancer.
1 cup (96g) of mushrooms contains; 21 calories, 3.0g of Protein, 3.1g of carbohydrate including 1.9g of sugar, 2.9mg of Calcium, 0.5mg of iron, 82.6mg of phosphorus, 305mg of potassium, 305 mcg of copper, 8.9mcg of selenium, 2.0mg of vitamin C, 0.2mg of vitamin D, 16.6mcg of choline, 3.5mg of Niacin and 16.3mcg of folate.
Sweet potatoes are nutritious and delicious root vegetables. They contain nutrients that can help in healthy weight gain, regulation of digestion, attenuate the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis, and control diabetes. The presence of powerful antioxidants and vitamins makes potatoes an excellent immune system boosters. Beta-carotene, vitamin C and magnesium in them also aid reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation, while potassium and magnesium are involved in blood pressure support.
A medium-size sweet potato contains; 26g of carbohydrates, 2g of protein, 4g of fiber, 5g of sugar, 438mg of potassium, 32mg of magnesium, 39mg of calcium, 0.8mg of iron, 61mg of phosphorus, 3mg of vitamin C, 0.3mg of vitamin B6, 18,443 IU vitamin A, 9470mcg of Beta-carotene and 7.44mcg of folate.
The very well-known citrus fruits include orange, lime, grape, tangerine and lemon. Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient that strengthens the immune system and keeps your skin smooth and elastic. Citrus fruits can raise the levels of citrate in your urine, lowering the risk of kidney stones. The soluble fiber and flavonoids in citrus fruits may improve cholesterol levels by raising “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Citrus fruits have different nutritional values depending on the variety. The overall nutrients in each of them include; energy, fibre, ascorbic acid, folate, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin and a variety of phytochemicals. In addition, citrus contains no fat or sodium and, being a plant food, no cholesterol.