Covid-19 Heal Trending

Do these foods feature in UR grocery list?

Gayatri Chona

MSc Nutrition U.K., Specialises in nutrition for kids, teens, pregnant women & corporate diet plans

6 min read

Immunity is the new buzz word and rightly so! We’re currently in the middle of a global pandemic and staying healthy is on everyone’s mind. Our body is constantly exposed to multiple pathogens and viruses on a daily basis and our body’s immunity fights them and eliminates them from our body. That is why it is essential to keep our immunity high at all times and not just during COVID. If our immunity is high over the years and not just a few days or weeks, our body is better equipped to fight.

There’s no one particular food that builds immunity. It is not something that is built overnight. We need to acquire it over time. The kinds of foods we consume on a regular basis help us to stay strong and develop good immunity. Just popping some fancy colorful pills and drinking kadha overnight is not going to make you strong or build UR immunity instantly – it has to develop over a period of time. This involves good amount of sleep, stress management, physical activity and most importantly – the food you eat.

A vital fact about immunity is that 70% of our body’s immunity is in our gut. Gut health is of paramount importance. Everything is related to the gut. It’s come to the forefront only now due to the link between COVID and mental health. But how we feel, how we handle stress, how our body uses its immunity, all starts from the gut level. There’s a reason for saying ‘gut feeling’ because that’s where it all starts!

Our gut is host to trillions of bacteria – good and bad. Whenever there’s an imbalance in our gut bacteria we are more prone to catch even the smallest infection. An imbalance in the good and the bad bacteria causes a drop in immunity and our body’s ability to fight off infections. Both, the good and bad bacteria combined makes up our gut microbiome.

What you eat is very important and what you need to stay away from and the habits to be wary of is equally important – they both work hand in hand. Each body’s genetic makeup is different. It has been observed that every individual body responds differently to the coronavirus. What works for you will not necessarily work for me or someone else.

Consuming a balanced diet is essential. Ensure you don’t give up entire food groups altogether from your diet. A lot of people have taken up fitness challenges in COVID times and have gone on crazy diets. This is not recommended right now. Your immunity can be affected. In your endeavor to lose weight, you may cut out certain foods from your diet. But it should be known that doing this affects your immunity. Though weight loss is important, it has to be approached in the right way.

U should be including legumes, pulses and eggs in UR diet.

Every individual is different and a weight loss diet cannot be generalized. It has to be a customized diet. Multiple things have to be looked into. You have to look at gut health, other underlying factors like what is stopping UR weight loss and what is causing UR weight gain! When we talk about a balanced diet – it doesn’t necessarily mean carbohydrates are bad. Carbs have been made villains in today’s diet world. But if you have the right quality carbs which are right in zinc, B vitamins, in fibre and in folate – they will not just improve UR immunity but nourish you as well. You’ll also lose the desired amount of weight.

Besides eating the right foods there are some necessary vitamins and nutrients that are needed for patients to recover post COVID. Eating fresh produce and foods sourced from local farms is ideal. You don’t really need to opt for additional supplements. Indian cooking is naturally rich in nutrients and immunity boosters. Right from ginger-garlic, to cinnamon to turmeric, all Indian preparations are full of these herbs and spices. This is where we get our natural immunity from. But having said that, in times such as these there are certain vitamins that are extra important! These vitamins are vital to fight COVID-19.

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Recent studies have shown a strong link between a deficiency in vitamin D and the high risk of Covid-19. This vitamin gives power to our soldier cells also known as white blood cells (WBCs). We get this vitamin naturally through sunlight but with the lockdown and the way things are right now, not many of us are able to go out and get natural sunlight.

An important factor to consider here is the absorption of the vitamins. When we go on low calorie diets and low fat diets – the first things that don’t get absorbed by the body is fat soluble vitamins. Vitamin D is one of these. You may take all the best and most expensive vitamins, but if your gut is unable to absorb them it will be of no use. It will just exit from UR body without providing any nutritional value. Though vitamin D is essential, it should only be taken if you have a deficiency. Since it’s a fat soluble vitamin, it gets stored in the body and an excess of this vitamin is harmful. Take a blood test to find out if you need to take this vitamin.

The next important vitamin is zinc. It’s like the gatekeeper vitamin for our body – it protects our immunity. It helps us from getting respiratory tract infections. Zinc is found in complex carbs. The food that you eat powers it. This brings us back to the relation between foods like carbohydrates and immunity. Whenever you eliminate food groups (by going on crash diets and so on) remember, the first thing that takes a beating is UR immunity.

Ensure UR body is getting enough zinc. If you can’t get it from UR food, it’s a good idea to take a supplement and have it along with vitamin C for better absorption. Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant. The reason vitamin C supplements are extensively recommended is because it is very easily destroyed. This vitamin is found in all citrus fruits and vegetables like kiwi, broccoli, bell peppers etc. But when we chop, wash or cook these foods, we destroy the vitamins.

It’s a known fact that food plays a vital role in recovery. When recovering from COVID, having a well-balanced diet which is nutritionally sound is crucial. Not just to help in recovery but to help you get UR bounce back! It will also help you get back onto your feet quickly. Having a nutrient dense diet and calorie-rich meals (this doesn’t mean chocolate and comfort foods) is essential. When recovering from COVID it’s not that you can’t touch the so called comfort foods – indulgence is fine as long as you know where to draw the line. Maintaining a balance is vital.

Proteins are equally very important because they are the building blocks of our body. You need it for UR muscles and UR bones to recover. You should be including legumes, pulses, and eggs in UR diet. Fruits and vegetables as well provide a host of vitamins and minerals essential for healing. But when it comes to diets, you need to check what works best for you, as each body is different.