Monsoons are playing hide and seek and with it there’s a constant change in the temperature.
Temperature changes make us highly susceptible to cold, flu, sore throat and various other minor and major illnesses. It therefore becomes very important to eat healthy, nutritious and a balanced diet to be healthy and to fight these constant onslaughts of diseases.
I’m giving a list of six foods which, when included regularly in the diet, will help to build your immunity and fend off infections.
1. Vitamin C: Research shows that vitamin C is needed by cells to perform their function well especially white blood cells. A deficiency of vitamin C can increase your susceptibility to illnesses. In cases of common cold adequate consumption of foods rich in vitamin C help to reduce the duration of the illness.
Food Sources: All citrus fruits like amla, oranges, sweet lime, lemons, guava, bell
peppers, broccoli, strawberries etc.
2. Probiotics: Often the gut flora – the natural bacteria present in the gut, gets
compromised during illness and thorough prolonged use of antibiotics. Research shows a link between good gut health and immunity. “Good bacteria” lower the chances of the “Bad bacteria” entering into the blood stream. This can help reduce infections and boost immune health.
Food Sources: Curd, fermented foods like dosa, idli, sauerkraut, kimchi, kanji and
3. Oats & Whole grains: Different kinds of whole grains especially oats contain a good mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber as well as a range of B complex vitamins. Fiber also helps provide the right kind of environment in the gut to encourage the growth ofbody’s natural gut flora and B vitamins help to support the immune function.
Food Sources: Oats, barley, wheat germ, whole wheat, brown rice, red rice, millets.
4. Vitamin E: It is a very powerful antioxidant and provides a potent boost to the body’s immunity. Research shows that vitamin E is a very important nutrient for maintaining the immune function. Most food sources which contain vitamin E also contain zinc, which is another important nutrient to maintain immunity and fight infections. Zinc also helps in wound healing and growth of white blood cells.
Food Sources: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, melon seeds etc.
5. Garlic: A compound called Allicin is present in garlic which gives it, its immunity boosting properties. It helps the body fight against infections and bacteria.
Food Sources: Garlic, onion, spring onions etc.
6. Turmeric: Turmeric contains a compound called as curcumin which provides excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin boosts the body’s immunity. It helps in muscle recovery post exercise and also helps detoxify the body.
Food Sources: Turmeric powder, raw turmeric. Apart from the foods listed above, there are a host of other foods and nutrient groups which help to strengthen the immune system and aid in health and growth. For e.g.: omega -3 fatty acids in fish, oysters and other seafood, anti – oxidants in green tea and dark tea, water etc.
Try to include these foods as often as you can for a healthy immune system. Regular intake of these foods will not only help you, when you are ill but will also help you by their preventive actions, thereby making you less susceptible to illnesses.
Think of it as, “A stitch in time, saves nine!”
We at My Powai are now taking our reader’s queries related to Diet & Nutrition, which Ms. Nisha Singh will reply to in our forthcoming issues.
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(The writer is a gold medalist in Food & Nutrition with more than 12 years experience. She manages various ailments through lifestyle and dietary modifications and specializes in weight loss & management. Visit her @ Anoushka Polyclinic, 102, Crystal Center, Raheja Vihar, Powai or Smile Craft, 23, Annapurna Industrial estate, Opp. CCD, Ghatkopar East. For appointments: 022 2857 6537 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)