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Optimise your immunity with the right foods - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
All Woman

Optimise your immunity with the right foods

 

COVID-19 is in the 'air', and it's very important to have a strong immune system to fight it. Your diet will play a very important role in this, as certain foods help to build immunity.

What should you be eating more of to ensure that you have the tools to fight this and other viruses?

Chicken

Chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine which is very important in removing mucus from the lungs and reducing coughing and nose stuffiness.

Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots

These are rich in vitamin A, which is known to be an immune system-boosting nutrient which helps the body to produce white blood cells and also helps to keep the mucus membranes healthy.

Yoghurt

Yoghurt has probiotics which help to reduce the inflammatory response of the body. Probiotics are good bacteria that are similar to the bacteria that already exist in our bodies. Specifically, in its natural form, yoghurt has lactobacillus, which may be the most common probiotic. Different strains can help with diarrhoea and may help with people who can't digest lactose, the sugar in milk.

Fruits and vegetables

Foods with vitamin C, like fruits and vegetables, are also very important in boosting the immune system. Drinking lemon/lime water with honey will help to heal your sore throat as well as reduce coughing. Lime/lemons are rich in vitamin C.

Increasing your intake of green vegetables and vegetable juices will improve your iron levels. Deeper colours usually mean that fruits and vegetables are richer in phytonutrients, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Phytonutrients have been shown to help fight chronic illness, prevent cancer and strengthen the immune system.

Green and black teas

Drinking green and black teas will also provide antioxidants which will also boost the immune system.

Onion, garlic

Garlic cloves are said to help treat the common cold and also have immunity-boosting powers. One clove contains calcium, potassium and sulphuric compounds that are powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection. Raw garlic is most beneficial for health, and in clinical trials it seems to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and kill parasites in the body.

Onions are excellent sources of vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals or phytonutrients are naturally occurring compounds in fruits and vegetables that are able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions.

Sweet potatoes

The deep orange-yellow colour of sweet potatoes tells you that they're high in the antioxidant beta carotene. Food sources of beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in your body, may help slow the ageing process and reduce the risk of some cancers. In addition to being an excellent source of vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes are a good source of fibre, vitamin B-6 and potassium.

Turmeric

Many scientists have described turmeric as the queen of spices, the most effective nutritional supplement in existence, outranking a combination of several medications to provide superlative medical benefits for the brain, body, and skin. Turmeric has been in use for thousands of years, mostly as an Asian spice. The research on turmeric has been extensive; its effectiveness in curing everything from the common cold to cancer has been hotly debated.

Moringa

The moringa plant is of African origin and has been touted as the miracle plant. It has been in Jamaica since 1817 and is now found growing islandwide. Moringa has seven times more vitamin C than oranges, four times more vitamin A than carrots, four times more calcium than milk, and twice as much protein as milk. It has three times more iron than almond and three times more vitamin E than spinach. It is considered in many circles to be the number one treatment for high blood pressure and diabetes.

Fish

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and are especially high in fatty fish. Some good choices are salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and tuna. Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain a healthy heart.

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