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FOODNOTES - IMMUNITY BOOSTING DIET

Winter is coming, this is the season of a cough and flu, fever, mostly for our child and old people. Here are some tips to combat the situation by boosting your immunity power. The role your diet plays in keeping it in top shape to protect you from toxins and infections. Sadly, too many of us don’t eat enough of the fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods we need to keep ourselves healthy year around.

There are some important points for your daily diet which enrich your immunity throughout the year.
  • Eat lean protein at every meal:   Protein is vital to build and repair body tissue and fight viral and bacterial infections. Immune system powerhouses such as antibodies and immune system cells rely on protein. Too little protein in the diet may lead to symptoms of weakness, fatigue, apathy, and poor immunity. Choose lean sources of protein such as skinless chicken, lean beef and turkey, beans, and soy.
  • Shoot for 5 cups of fruits and veggies a day
  • Take a 10-minute walk a few times a day.  
  • Get your vitamin D levels checked.  
  • Reduce your stress levels.  
  • Limit your drinks
  • Confirm that your vitamin and mineral intake is satisfactory according to your requirement.

With some exceptions, it’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from your food rather than in pill form. Here are some tips for getting the top vitamins and minerals your immune system needs to perform.
  • Amla, Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, sprouts channa, guava, orange strawberries, and papaya are also excellent sources of vitamin C.
  • Like vitamin C, vitamin E can be a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection. Almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds are all high in vitamin E
  • For vitamin A, go for colorful. Foods that are high in colorful compounds called Carotenoids — carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, egg yolk, — are all great options.
  • As mentioned above, it’s best to get most of your vitamins from food, but vitamin D may be the exception to that rule. You can increase your intake through foods such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines) and fortified foods such as milk, orange juice, and cereals.
  • To get more folate, add more beans and peas to your plate on a regular basis, as well as leafy green vegetables.
  • Selenium seems to have a powerful effect on the immune system, including the potential to slow the bodies overactive responses to certain aggressive forms of cancer. You can find it in garlic, broccoli, sardines, tuna, and barley, among other foods.

Now, plan your meals to include these powerful immune system boosters;
  • Citrus fruits - Popular citrus fruits include: Grapefruit, Amla, Oranges, Tangerines, Lemons, Limes
  • Red bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Spinach
  • Yogurt
  • Almonds
  • Turmeric
  • Green tea
  • Papaya
  • Poultry
  • Shellfish

Some Immune-Boosting recipe Get You through Cold & Flu Season
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Ginger Tea
  • Chicken soup
  • Vegetable soup
  • Rayta
  • Amla with rock-salt

A short note on Dark Chocolate
Believe it or not, dark chocolate can be extremely helpful in fighting off of a cold. Dark chocolate contains a heavy concentration of Theobromine, an antioxidant that has been proven to alleviate coughing. A study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that Theobromine is helpful in suppressing cough symptoms for people with bronchitis, but notes that more research needs to be done to fully confirm their findings.
Let’s find your immune boosting food as per your choice and make yourself strong to fight from cold. Happy winter.

Author - Diti Bhattacharjee Paul, Consultant Nutritionist/Dietitian