As the number of people infected with novel coronavirus continues to increase, people continue to look for ways to protect themselves from being infected as a first step.
According to health experts around the world, the first step is more important than treating themselves. The most natural way to resist any kind of pathogens is to have a strong immune system. Among many methods of boosting immunity, intake of nutritious food is considered the most effective and the easiest.
To reinforce the significance of nutritious value of different natural foods to boast the immunity, Community recently spoke to a Doha-based food expert, yoga teacher and specialist in Ayurveda, traditional Indian system of medicine.
Sonam Singh is from Delhi, India. She has been practising yoga since her childhood days. A certified yoga instructor, she studied food and technology during her graduation. She also developed interest in Ayurveda –an ancient Indian health science originated more than 5,000 years ago. “I am a certified Ayurvedic lifestyle, health and wellness coach. Currently I am studying macrobiotic nutrition to find overall holistic and balanced approach towards health and wellness. Yoga, Ayurveda and nutrition are all part of my entire education and lifestyle.”
When asked how would he define the human immune system in a simple way for the readers, she said: “We can understand immune system in a human body as a collection of structured organs, cells, tissues, and proteins protecting us against diseases or other potentially damaging foreign bodies such as viruses, bacteria and parasites.
“The human immune system is essential for our survival in a world full of potentially dangerous microbes or even life-threatening infections. Our immune system is our body’s defense against infections and other harmful invaders. Without it we would constantly get sick from germs such as bacteria and viruses. A strong, robust and properly functioning immune system helps us to go about daily life as we may come into contact with germs and bugs from other people, and surrounding environment. Without a healthy and strong immune system, we could pick up infections and infectious diseases more easily and the effects could be serious – even fatal.
In response to a question on how food can help strengthen the immunity, the expert said: “The old saying – an apple a day can keep the doctor away – may have a truth behind it after all. Eating nourishing foods rich in certain vitamins can help our immune system fight off illness.
“Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters. In fact, lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. Food rich in vitamin C includes oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale and broccoli.
“Vitamin B6 is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system. Vitamin B 6 rich foods include chicken and cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna. Vitamin B6 is also found in green vegetables and in chickpeas which is the main ingredient in hummus. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body to fight off the infection. Food rich in vitamin E includes nuts, seeds and spinach.”
The food expert also mentioned different useful herbs that can help in strengthening the immunity. “Herbs are vital when it comes to our immune system and they are readily available to us. Using them in our cooking in dried and fresh forms will keep infections away. Some of the vital herbs are oregano, turmeric or curcumin, ginger, licorice roots. Herbal tea such as ginger tea, mint tea, peppermint tea or simply hot water can also be useful.
“There is an interesting Ayurvedic treatment called as Nasya. It is a traditional method that assists the nasal cavity’s natural cleaning and lubrication of its delicate tissues by dropping two to three drops of sesame oil into each nostril in the morning as a result nose and nasal cavity will be less reactive to dryness and air born irritants and infections.”
When asked what kind food she would advise for the people during the outbreak of coronavirus, Sonam said: “To support our immune system to function properly we need to add certain specific anti-viral items in our diet to protect us against flu and infectious diseases. Garlic can be eaten raw, mashed or can be added to soups. Mix chopped raw garlic with a tablespoon of unpasteurised and raw honey and consume a clove every day.
Star anise is super powerful as an anti-viral. Boil it in water and add it to your teas like green tea or black tea.
“Take mashed ginger and star anise. Make a concoction by adding little raw, unpasteurised honey and eat it. You can also cook food in pure cold pressed coconut oil or even have it raw. Further, food such as peanuts, pistachios, grapes, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, and cocoa powders are very effective in fighting infections.”
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