Eat your way to good health
In today's times when mankind is living amidst pollution and infections of all kinds, the need to develop resistance and improve immunity is paramount....
In today's times when mankind is living amidst pollution and infections of all kinds, the need to develop resistance and improve immunity is paramount. And the intake, food we eat and liquids we consume, contributes majorly not just as a source of energy but to make our body strong and develop immunity, says nutritionist Naini Setalwad
I need not emphasize on how having a poor immune system can lead to making one feel low thus becoming prone to all kinds of viruses that are in the air! Whenever anyone comes to me for any kind of diet plan the first thing I do is add foods that will boost their immunity. Whenever you go shopping please keep in mind to choose the right foods, which boost your immunity.
Let me reveal the ways by which this can be done daily and very easily. As soon as you start making these small changes and include immunity-boosting food in your daily diet, you will see a massive positive change in your overall health. It will give you an inner strength as well as a feeling of joy and peace within you.
Allow me to give you a break-down of all the foods that will aid you to ward off any infection -
This is the MOST important food in the process of boosting your immunity. I always say drink a lot of water and fluids through the day to keep your throat moist. You can also add on hot fluids like soups, rasam, herbal teas or warm water. These will keep you hydrated, help mucous to flow and flush out any and all toxins from your body.
I insist that everyone must have as much lemon in a day as they can. It is one of the best sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C strengthens white blood cells which are essential for fighting any infection. It is very easy to incorporate lemon into your daily food. Simply squeeze lemon on all your food before eating it. You can also add lemon to your water or squeeze lemon juice and take a lemon shot.
The humble coriander contains excellent antioxidants. All you have to do is sprinkle some coriander on top of any dish and you can reap the benefits that it has to offer. Additionally, you can add coriander chutney to your meals as a way to feature it in your diet as well as a way to add more flavors. In Ayurveda, the neem translates to 'healer and illness reliever' as sipping on its juice boosts immunity. The holy lead tulsi is used in a lot of traditional Indian medicines as it is a very powerful antioxidant.
I strongly believe that fruits are your natural source of instant energy and fibre. They contain very little sugar and help your body to flush out any toxins or possible infections that might be present. Just add a fruit at breakfast or as an evening snack and watch how it uplifts your energy levels daily. Fruits are your top notch warriors that fight free radical damage, the main cause of low immunity. Keep in mind to stick to seasonal and local fruits as those are the ones packed with the most benefits.
When you sit down to eat, you should ensure that at least half of your plate is filled with vegetables. Don't just stick only to the greens! ALL vegetables have phytochemicals which are your immunity boosters. Vegetables are packed with natural chemicals that fight free radical damage, which prevents oxidization of cells. I say that the more different colours of vegetables, the more antioxidants. I like to tell people more the vegetables the merrier you will be. In India we are spoilt for choice!
Please don't mistake it for GST. However, as essential as GST is for the economy to work so is Garlic, Ginger and Turmeric (or GGT) for the body. They prevent, retard and reverse all kinds of inflammations, viruses and diseases. They are your most powerful little soldiers that fight diseases and boost your immunity. Unlike our western counterparts who have suddenly woken up to these benefits we have always had this knowledge and all our foods can easily include them daily.
Garlic helps stimulate the system and inhibits the growth of bad bacteria. Ginger is antipyretic in nature combating any inflammation. Turmeric is the most powerful blood purifier there is. Simply toss these into your food daily!
Herbs and Spices
I like to think of spices as the magic ingredients that make the art of cooking enjoyable and the culinary creations full of favour while protecting from viruses us with their medicinal properties. You can have cumin, which is a brilliant digestive aid, as well as Mustard Seeds to combat flues. Cinnamon helps to ward any water borne infections. Pepper clears your nasal congestion and bronchial tubes. Don't forget to cook spices in fats and chose cow's ghee fat aids you to absorb the bioavailability of spices. India has a variety of spices to offer, try to avail benefits from all!
Nuts, Seeds and coconut
These are good quality fats and proteins. They help to strengthen your immune system and the fat from them help to absorb essential vitamins A, D, E, and K. Nuts added at breakfast or as a snack during the day is great fun. Not only does it add a crunch to your salad, but it also packed with proteins, unsaturated fats and fibre. Toss a trail mix at home with different nuts and spices for a healthy snacking option.
Ghee is a natural balm for your throat please chose desi cows ghee if possible. It eases throat pain so make sure to add it to all your food. We don't need bullet proof coffees to add ghee to our diet. We can just switch to cooking in cow's ghee and toss it in our curries and chutneys. The high melting point makes it a great free radical damage fighter thus ideal for Indian cooking.
All your grains contain a lot of lignin precursors and are rich in B vitamins which give you fibre and energy. Make sure that you always include grains in your diet because they give you energy, fibre and satiate you. Be it Jowar, Bajra, Barley, Nachni, Brown Rice or Whole Wheat grains; remember to put cow's ghee on any grain to ease digestion.
The smallest change a person can include in their life which will have the biggest effect on their immunity is to eat real food. Real food means organic food as it is without chemicals pesticides colors growth hormones etc. which is grown in the local area, depends on the season it grows and the food should be eaten fresh. Just following this simple step for your fruits, vegetables and grains will really turn your life around as they are rich in essential mineral and antioxidants.
To summarize, simply sip on enough water through the day. Ensure that 50% of your plate is vegetables at all meals. Consume these vegetables with whole grains and good quality fats such as cow's ghee. Cook your vegetables with herbs and spices. Curb sugar cravings by munching on fruits instead of reaching out to refined white sugar filled foods. Garnish your food with grated coconut, coriander or with chutneys and podis. Squeezing lemon on your foods will help boost your immunity too. For snacking, opt for a mix of nuts and seeds.