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.
1. Lemons and Other citrus Fruit
If you’re wondering how you could include them in your diet to battle the cold, here are a few ideas to boost up your immunity:
As A Smoothie
We’ve all tried traditional flavoured smoothies such as chocolate, strawberry and butterscotch. How about a citrus smoothie such as orange? Just mix orange juice with a little bit of milk and vanilla ice cream and your power-packed smoothie is good to go.
In A Salad
As if a salad wasn’t already healthy enough, add a citrus punch to it too! An idea could be adding freshly cut citrus fruits to your diet. Even the dressing could get a citrus boost with generous amounts of lemon or lime juice added to the salad.
Water is something so essential – imagine if it had additional nutrients too! Simply add some chopped lime or a whole chopped orange to your regular water bottle. You may take some time to get used to of its taste, but switching to vitamin-packed water would mean your nutrition would never be the same.
Add It To Hot Tea
It is during the freezing cold winter days when we just can’t get enough of hot drinks – be it tea, or coffee, or even soup! What if we could give the humble tea an added citrus flavour? Honey and lemon tea is one of the best ways to make sure you get your Vitamin C and beat the cold naturally.
Make your tea healthier with the power of citrus.
As Fresh Juice Or As A Snack
If nothing else, there’s always the option of including citrus fruits in your diet through the means of juice. Freshly-squeezed orange juice is something you just can’t get enough of. Oranges are a great option for snacking too, and they can be a much healthier replacement for packaged chips or biscuits.
Not only are eggs a source of protein and iron, they also contain Vitamin A- a fat soluble vitamin which is important for the immune system. Liver, dairy products and oily fish are other sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin A has important antioxidant properties and helps keep the cells which fight bacteris and viruses working at their best.
Easy Ways to include eggs in your diet
- Have eggs for breakfast. Try poached eggs on toast with a few slices of smoked salmon and spinach to set. You up for the weekend!
- An omelette makes a delicious, quick and healthy dinner. Make with eggs, onions, mushrooms, courgettes and spinach. Serve with salad and boiled potatoes.
- Add boiled eggs to your lunch to your-to bring back the egg sandwich or salad. And in you need to go outside to eat it, all the better for that dose of sunshine!
3. Lean red meat
Red meat is well known as an incredible source of mineral, iron. The iron in red meat is called Haem Iron, which is a form that can be easily absorb by the body. For those who include meat in their diets, 2 or 3 red meat meals a week is ideal. Remember, go for lean variety of meat, trim any fat off, and avoid adding too much extra fat when cooking.
An adequate amount of iron is important to keep your body healthy and working at its best. Iron also helps to keep the immune system working at it best. There are limits, however. More isn’t always better as too much iron can actually suppress the immune system. So stick to iron-rich foods rather than reaching for supplements. Iron supplements should only be taken under the advice of GP.
Easy Ways to include red meat in your diet
- Try making meat balls with lean mince, onion and garlic in a tomato -based sauce. Serve with spaghetti and heaps of green veggies. Take any left over meat balls for the next day’s lunch with salad and pita bread.
- Revive the Sunday ‘roast night’- roast lean cut of beef or lamb. Extra meat will be useful for week lunches in a salad or sandwich.
- Grill lean rump steak and leave to rest for 2-3 minutes. Slice on the diagonal and serve over mixed salad greens, sliced cucumber and capsicum with a garlic and Thai chilli-style dressing.
TIPS: if you don’t eat meat, be sure to eat plenty of nuts, beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables and cereals with added iron.
4. Oats and other old grains
Oats and other whole grain cereals like wheat, rye, barley and brown rice provide important B vitamins such as VitaminB6, Pantothenoic acid and folic acid. These vitamins support the immune system. Including wholegrains everyday can help supply the body with the B vitamins it need as well as providing a valuable source of fibre and other nutrients needed for good health.
B vitamins cannot only help the body fight off bacteria and viruses, but they can also help your immune system fight back when you are unwell. B vitamins are water soluble and can’t be stored in the body. For this reason, aim to include whole grains everyday.
Easy Ways to include grains in your diet
- Start your day with oats. Make porridge with trim milk and top with berries and chopped nuts.
- Serve your stir-fries on brown rice- it has a fabulous nutty flavour and makes great healthy change to standard long-grain white rice.
- Try a new grain such as bulgar wheat or pearl barley. These can be used to make fantastic salads and are a great addition to soups and casseroles.
Shellfish, including oysters, mussels and scallops, are great source of zinc. Squid, prawns, and other fish including salmon also have some zinc. (lean red meat is another fantastic source; low-fat dairy products, whole grains, beans and nuts are other sources.)
The mineral zinc has a vital role when it comes to immunity. Zinc helps ensure the white blood cells which help the body to fight infection are able to work at their best. Getting enough zinc through the diet can keep the body working at its best, but as with iron, too much can suppressed the immune system- so food is the best way to get the zinc you need.
Easy Ways to include seafood in your diet
- Oyster are in season- enjoy them raw with a squeeze of lemon and some grainy bread.
- Mussels are cheap and tasty. Steam in a large pot with wine and garlic until they open, remove from shells and toss with pasta, tomatoes, parsley and olive oil.
- Have sea food meals twice a week. Add prawns, squid or salmon to your stir-fry instead of your usual chicken.
Nuts not only have immune-boosting power from zinc, iron and B vitamins, but also have the added value of being sources of other vitamins and mineral which support the immune system. All nuts are good and they have different benefits: Brazil nuts are rich in selenium; almonds and peanuts are good sources of vitamin E, to get the best from nuts, choose a variety.
The nutritional goodness in nuts helps support the immune system as a whole- they are a good addition to everyday eating.
Easy Ways to include nut in your diet
- Add a tablespoon of chopped Brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds to your breakfast cereal or porridge.
- Make nuts your snack- but remember, nuts are high in kilo joules, so if you are watching your weight, stick to a quarter of a cup or less.
Last few words
‘Superfoods can help reduce contamination’
Though there’s no foolproof way to avoid the infection, strengthening our body’s immune system with super foods and other ingredients can help reduce the risk of contamination. It is essential to have a diverse range of foods that can provide all the essential vitamins and minerals.
B-complex Vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin D are extremely important for strong immunity.
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