Putting health first

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Putting health first

Friday, 22 May 2020 | PNS

Putting health first

Eating healthy is the first step towards building a strong immune system. If you’re looking at ways to safeguard yourself from any infection, your first stop should be your local grocery store rather than the chemist. Plan your meals to include these powerful immune system boosters

Citrus fruits

Upping Vitamin C intake after catching a cold is essential because it helps build up your immune system.Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections.Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. But do keep in mind that while vitamin C might help you recover from a cold quicker, there’s no evidence yet that it’s effective against Coronavirus.

Garlic

While adding taste to your food, garlic also gives a boost to your health. It also slows down hardening of the arteries, and there’s evidence that it helps lower blood pressure. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.

Ginger 

Ginger helps in decreasing inflammation, which can help to reduce a sore throat and inflammatory illnesses. It packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. Ginger may also decrease chronic pain and might even possess cholesterol-lowering properties

Spinach

Spinach is rich in vitamin C, numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. It is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking makes it easier to absorb the vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid, an antinutrient. 

Yogurt

The live and active cultures in yogurt stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. Yogurt is a natural probiotic and aids in the formation of good bacteria in our body. However, if you have sore throat regardless of the cause, yogurt might worsen it. Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D which helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.

Almonds

When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, this powerful antioxidant is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats.

Sunflower seeds

These are full of nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamins B-6 and E.Vitamin E is important in regulating and maintaining immune system function. Sunflower seeds are also incredibly high in selenium.

Turmeric

There is ancient wisdom packed in that turmeric laced milk that our grandmothers forced us to drink when we were ill. This golden spice is known for its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin, the compound present in turmeric is a very potent agent and aids in healing of wounds and infections. This bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Research shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage. Curcumin has promise as an immune booster (based on findings from animal studies) and an antiviral.

Papaya

It is loaded with vitamin C. You can find the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single medium fruit. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects. The fruit has potassium, magnesium, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.

Tea

A good old cup of some black tea can actually help build your immunity. Regardless of colour, black or green, tea packs a big punch of polyphenols, flavoniods, and antioxidants that destroy free radicals that can damage healthy cells and even cause premature aging. It’s also a good means of hydrating your body. Just don’t mix it with milk, as the proteins in milk bind with the polyphenols, thereby reducing their benefits.

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