Categories: General Health

Food that heals…Natural Immunity for Better Health

Food is of utmost importance in the cure of disease. The primary cause of a disease is a weakened organism or lowered resistance of the body.

Sir Robert McCarrison, a well-known nutritionist, aptly remarks, ‘The right kind of food is the most important single factor in the promotion of health, and the wrong kind of food is the most important single factor in the promotion of disease.’

This is an intimation to the people that there’s no magic food or pill that is guaranteed to boost your immune system and protect you against Coronavirus. Because the immune system is not one thing.

There is an elaborate healing mechanism within the body but it can perform its function only if it is abundantly supplied with all the essential nutritional factors.

There are ways to keep your immune system functioning optimally, which can help to keep you healthy and give you a sense of control in an uncertain time.

Now, let’s talk about the things that heal and regenerate natural immunity for better health.

First of all, PROTEIN is the most important nutrient needed by the body, it helps to repair and rebuild cells, thus restoring health and prolonging life. It plays a vital role in the maintenance of good health. Protein is a key building block for immune cells and antibodies and plays a crucial role in helping our immune system to do its job.

Protein comes from both animal and plant-based sources and includes fish, poultry, milk, yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese, as well as nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils.

Next is VITAMINS also possesses antioxidant properties that reduce oxidation and counter the damaging effects of free radicals in the body and prevent the oxidation process. These vitamins are as follows:

Vitamin A:

It is the first fat-soluble vitamin and an essential nutrient for growth and survival. It builds up resistance to the respiratory tract and other infections. It increases its contribution to better tissue oxygenation.

Foods rich in vitamin A include those of origins such as sheep liver, egg yolk, whole milk, butter, and ghee.

Vegetables such as colocasia, turnip greens, drumsticks, beet, carrots, and spinach contain a lot of carotenes. Fruits like mangoes, apricots, gooseberries, raspberries, and oranges are rich in carotene.

Vitamin C:

It provides protection against harmful effects. The deficiency of vitamin C lowered resistance to all infections.

The richest source of vitamin C is citrus fruits like lime, lemon, and orange. The cheapest source of vitamin C is Indian gooseberries, germinated cereals, grain and pulses, drumstick leaves & coriander leaves.

Vitamin E:

It helps to protect the functioning of cells and the intracellular process. It oxygenates the tissue and reduces the need for oxygen intake markedly.

The deficiency of vitamin E leads to degenerative changes in the blood capillaries which lead to heart and lung disease.

The richest source of vitamin E is crude vegetable oils, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, safflower & soya bean. Eggs, butter, or sprouted seed & grains especially whole wheat are moderately good sources. Meat, fruits & green leafy vegetable are important sources of vitamin E.

Vitamin D:

It regulates the production of a protein that “selectively kills infectious agents, including bacteria and viruses,” explained by Dr. Michael Holick, an expert on vitamin D research from Boston University.

Vitamin D also alters the activity and number of white blood cells, known as T 2 killer lymphocytes, which can reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses.

Good food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, including canned fish like salmon and sardines; eggs, fortified milk and plant milk products; cheese, mushrooms, fortified juice, and tofu.

Now, let’s talk about some minerals like:

Zinc:

It plays a vital role in guarding against disease & infection. Almost all the enzymes in the body require zinc. Cereals, nuts, oilseed are important sources of zinc.

Selenium:

It acts with vitamin E as a non-specific antioxidant to protect cell membranes and tissues. It aids to maintain elasticity in the tissues. Wholegrain cereals like wheat germ, barley, and wholewheat bread are the best sources of selenium.

Probiotics and prebiotics:

It helps boost the health of the microbiome, which in turn supports our immune system.

Sources of probiotics include fermented dairy foods such as yogurt and kefir, and aged cheese, as well as fermented foods.

Sources of prebiotics include whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, beans, asparagus, and artichokes.

Last but not least…Stay hydrated

Women should aim to consume 3 liters of fluids daily, and men, 4 liters in an amount that includes all fluids and water-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and soups.

I earnestly hope that this knowledge will greatly benefit readers. By putting it into practice, they can maintain good health, ward off disease, and prolong their life span.

Thank you.

Ms. Priya Dwivedi, Clinical Dietitian, Brahmananda Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jamshedpur

Narayana Health

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