During these days of the COVID-19, maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most effective ways to protect oneself from the virus. Here are the basics of how you can boost your immunity to make your meal a weapon against the coronavirus:
Vitamin A is associated with the development of the immune system and plays a regulatory role in cellular immune responses and humoral immune processes. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin A is 600 mcg of retinol. Carrot, pumpkin, dark green leafy vegetables, chicken breasts, liver, egg, mackerel fish, etc., are a few of the food items with high retinol content in them.
Vitamin C supports the various cellular functions of both innate and adaptive immune systems, which in turn develops a barrier that keeps viruses at bay. RDA for Vitamin C is 40mg/day. Amla, guava, capsicum, orange, raw mango, amaranth leaves, and lemon juice help us with Vitamin C levels.
Vitamin E, on the other hand, is important to elderly people since it is a potent antioxidant and has the ability to modulate host immune functions. RDA for Vitamin E is 7.5-10 mg alpha-tocopherol/day.
Sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, pistachio nuts, almonds, garden cress seeds, and flax seeds are rich in Vitamin E.
Selenium also plays a role in regulating oxidative stress in the body. The deficiency of Selenium may weaken the response to viral infections. RDA for Selenium is 40 mcg/day. Eggs, toor dal, channa dal, mackerel fish, whole wheat and chicken contain adequate selenium.
Zinc plays a crucial role in the normal development and futon of immune cells and its deficiency indicates immune dysfunctions. RDA for Zinc is 12mg/day. Dal, Pulses, Soybean, Black Til, nuts, chicken and eggs are a few types of food that are rich in Zinc.
Use Anti-virals which are easily available that may help improve immunity over a period of time. Ginger, Garlic, Turmeric, Tulsi, Neem and Lemongrass are few antiviral items that can help boost immunity.
B. Venkateshwar Rao, former president of the Indian Dietetic Association, AP & TS Chapter, and former dietician of Gandhi Medical College Hospital, shares his expertise on how to improve immunity and have a balanced diet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Add 5gm(1teaspoon) of sesame seeds (Safed Til) in your breakfast cereals
- Have 3-4 fruits daily
- 12-14 glasses of water, preferably lukewarm
- Have extra servings of green veggies and salad
- Wash vegetables with salt water to eliminate viruses
- Do Yoga and pranayama for 30 minutes twice in a day
- Include Vitamin D3, calcium, Vitamin B12 or multi-vitamin or mineral supplements if you have a deficiency
- Be active; Engage yourself in cooking healthy foods, kitchen gardening, and cleaning homes
- Avoid outside foods and junk food
- Cook non-vegetarian foods thoroughly
- Include probiotics in your daily diet
He adds, “Maintain social distance and hygiene, eat healthily, think positive, be cooperative and stay healthy.”