Foods to fire up your immunityMonday, April 12, 2021
IF there was ever a time that you needed to ensure your body's natural defence systems are performing optimally, it is now. Even as we await our vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, we must ensure that our bodies are in tip-top shape to fight off the virus if we contract it, or any other illness that may come our way as we go about our daily lives.
Janique Watts, assistant dietician at Nestle Jamaica, says along with regular physical activity, we can boost our immunity to viruses and other illnesses by consuming certain foods. She recommends stocking up on the following to help boost your immunity, naturally.
This super root has been receiving even more attention since the pandemic, as doctors at Kingston Public Hospital, among others, have turned to the herb for help in treating patients who have the virus. “Turmeric has strong antioxidant properties,” Watts explained. “So it protects cells against cancer-causing free radicals. It's also anti-inflammatory, and has proven to help prevent brain damage (prevalent in COVID patients) and arthritis.”
Vitamin D is not only important in keeping the bones, teeth and muscles healthy, but it is also crucial in fighting off diseases and maintaining good mental health. Watts pointed out that depression and other mental illnesses are especially prevalent now, due to the effects of the pandemic, so it is important to keep vitamin D levels high. “Vitamin D is produced naturally in the body through interaction with sunlight, and by eating foods such as sardine, salmon, and egg yolks,” she advises.
You probably don't need a nutritionist to tell you that vitamin C can boost your immunity, as it is continually being touted as an immune booster. “In addition to being an antioxidant, this vitamin also aids with absorption of major minerals needed for immune support, such as iron,” Watts adds. “Sources of vitamin C include pineapples, cantaloupe, and citrus fruits like oranges, just to name a few now in season.”
Watts notes that this mineral contains antioxidant properties, and promotes wound healing, growth and immune support. “You can ramp up your zinc intake by consuming beans, nuts and wholegrains, and including more seafood in your diet,” she prescribes.
Vitamin E has always been known to be an excellent cell protector, but the novel coronavirus pandemic has underscored its importance in strengthening the immune system. “Vitamin E is also an antioxidant, as well as an anti-inflammatory agent. It promotes longer cell life,” Watts says. She adds that nuts, mangoes, fish and pumpkin are great sources of this vitamin.
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