There’s been a lot of discussion about immunity and corona survival. As a result, COVID-19 dietary management should be thought of in terms of increasing immunity and harnessing the antiviral characteristics of a few nutrients. A vegetarian diet that is low in fat and plant-based may help to strengthen the immune system.
Due to higher consumption of vitamins and a lower intake of fat, vegans have been demonstrated in a few studies to have more effective white blood cells than non-vegetarians. There are a variety of traditional foods that can boost immunity while also having some antiviral qualities. Some foods that have been claimed to boost immunity and perhaps have antiviral effects and should be included in daily diets include:
- Citrus fruit is one of nature’s best and most easily available sources of vitamin C, a key nutrient in supporting our immune system. Citrus fruits are known to have other benefits like antioxidant, anti-tumor, cardioprotective, and neuroprotective effects. They have additional fiber content also. But what makes them significant is their immune-boosting potential.
- Vitamin C present in red capsicum is 3 times higher than the vitamin C present in an orange. It can be included in a salad every day before meals.
- Fruits such as papaya, guava, apple, grapes, mango, tangerines, lemons, sweet lime, and gooseberries, as well as all seasonal vegetables, including green leafy vegetables and spices, legumes, millets, meat meals, and fish, are high in nutrients. Even though practically all fruits are beneficial to human health and immunity, apple, pumpkin, and papaya have been shown to have antiviral properties against certain viruses. The antiviral and immune-boosting characteristics of the aforementioned fruits are well-established, even if extrapolation to the coronavirus is unscientific.
- Curd is high in nutrients and improves gut health by regulating gut bacteria, as well as aiding immune function, and reducing inflammation.
- Green tea, botanically known as Camellia sinensis, contains a class of flavonoids known as catechins. These chemicals appear to prevent viral infections by inhibiting enzymes involved in viral replication. Green tea has been shown to inhibit HIV, hepatitis B, and herpes viruses.
- Garlic has antioxidant, cardioprotective, and anti-tumor properties. Allicin (chemically-allyl 2-propenethiosulfinate) is the primary bioactive chemical found in garlic aqueous extract. This chemical can also be found in raw garlic homogenate. When garlic is chopped, the enzyme alliinase is activated, resulting in the production of allicin. Many studies have found that garlic extracts have anti-viral activity against HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, and flu viruses. The precise mechanism remains unknown.
- Turmeric is a herbaceous perennial plant in the ginger family (botanical name: Curcuma longa). The medicinal properties of turmeric, the source of the bioactive compound curcumin, have been known for centuries; however, the exact mechanism of action and the ability to determine the bioactive components are not completely understood. The compound has antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, cardioprotective, and immune-stimulant properties. The addition of black pepper increases the bioavailability of curcumin. This is significant in the aftermath of the Corona outbreak, where the cytokine surge is worsening patients rather than the virus replication.
- Ginger and its derivatives are used to boost the immune system’s performance. Ginger extracts have anti-inflammatory, digestive, and tumor-fighting properties. In a Human Respiratory Tract Cell Line investigation, fresh ginger, but not dried ginger, was found to have antiviral activity against Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus. As a result, extrapolating for flu and testing a nutrient as a supplement in our diet can be beneficial. Ginger extract has been shown to enhance the immune system’s generation of TNF-alpha expression. Researchers also looked at ginger in combination with other natural chemicals to see if they could prevent H1N1 influenza A virus replication.
Nuts and Seeds
- Vitamin E levels are high in several nuts and seeds, including almonds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and groundnuts. Vitamin E is a lipid-soluble antioxidant found in the membranes of all cells, including those of the immune system. This is believed to protect cells from stress-related harm. Three to four spoons of pumpkin seeds per day can give significant amounts of magnesium, zinc, and good fats, all of which are important for immunological function. Almonds have lately been suggested as a treatment for typical flu symptoms. It’s been suggested that almonds have antiviral properties. According to the current study, peanut skin possesses potent antiviral properties.
- Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have been shown to improve immune function. According to the researchers, sulforaphane, a chemical found in this vegetable, activates antioxidant genes and enzymes in specific immune cells. This effect fights free radicals in our bodies and keeps the disease from worsening. Broccoli also has anti-viral properties against influenza viruses.
- Beta-carotene is a potent antioxidant that increases leucocytes in the body, which reduces inflammation and improves immunological function. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables are all high in beta-carotene.
- Coconut water is high in vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, and folates, as well as antiviral and antibacterial qualities that can boost our immune system and help us fight viral infections like the flu.
- Organosulfur chemicals found in onions, such as quercetin and allicin, suppress viral infection. These bioactive chemicals can prevent viruses from attaching to the host cell. They can affect viral assembly by altering the viral genome’s transcription and translation inside the host cell. Inhibition of viral entrance into cells and inhibition of RNA polymerase have also been proposed as mechanisms for this vegetable’s antiviral effects.
- Antiviral qualities have been found in tamarind leaves, fruits, and seeds, which have a wide range of applications.
- Probiotics interact closely with the gut mucosa and mucosal immune system when consumed regularly. Probiotics interact with gut epithelial cells to alter immunological and inflammatory responses in the human gut. The curd is a basic probiotic nutrient supplement.
- Sesame is a simple nutrient item that contains enough zinc. Zinc’s antibacterial and antiviral effects have long been known. Zinc is also beneficial to the body’s defense processes. Plant and leaf extracts from the mint family have been demonstrated to have antiviral properties.