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COVID-19 Diet: Food to Build Immunity

Covid-19 has taken the world by a storm and disrupted life as we know it. Right when people started taking in the new normal, the second wave of the virus is hitting hard. Many theories have surfaced to not contract the virus or to cope up with it, once you contract it. The common emphasis on both cases is the food intake to build immunity. A lot of emphasis has been put on a healthy diet, more so when the second wave is proving to be more virulent than the first. Strengthening our immune system by the intake of foods that build immunity seems to be the only way to help combat the virus. While no food or supplements can prevent the onset of teh virus, maintaining a healthy diet is crucial to keep your immune system battle-ready!

Food to build immunity

With the virus now affecting more people than it used to, those recovering from Covid need to switch to foods that rebuild theirs.  immunity and make them strong. Post virus care and food intake are as important as the medication prescribed to overcome the virus. What you eat and drink plays a huge role in how quickly you bounce back and rebuild your immune system. Though our Indian diet is balanced in itself, there are a few specific foods that help build your immunity faster and speeds up your recovery time.

Covid patients may suffer from loss of smell and taste and hence may have little or no appetite for food. In addition, the medication may also cause food aversion. Hence it is all the more essential to consume nutrition-rich food that taps into every food group and builds your body back into shape. It is essential for patients infected with Covid to take in a good dose of proteins, zinc, iron, vitamin-D, and vitamin-B-rich foods. To know more about what immunity building foods can be taken to fight the virus, read further:

  • Your day depends on how you kickstart and set the pace for the rest of the day. The first thing to be taken in should boost your immunity and be rich in antioxidants. Start your day with soaked almonds and raisins or prunes
  • Breakfast can be rich in protein – can be poha (flattened rice) with peanuts/oat bran cereal/almond milk/ or eggs for the egg lovers
  • It is important to keep oneself hydrated irrespective of any virus, more so if you are ill. Mid-morning can be supplemented with lemon or coconut water, preferably with chia seeds for a cooling effect
  • Lunch is pretty much where we venture into all groups of immunity-building foods. Lunch has to be a well-balanced meal of the day – carbohydrates to get your energy levels in the form of wheat/millets/rice/potatoes/sweet potatoes and protein in the form of pulses/dal/lean meat/fish. Add a generous portion of vegetables, along with leafy vegetables, which are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • A seasonal fruit as a filler between lunch and dinner
  • Our Indian diet is naturally rich in herbs and spices that kill germs and boost immunity. India is the land of immunity-building foods and we have to use it to our advantage. Herbal drinks like turmeric milk or ginger tea are a good way to get back to normal sooner than anticipated and a huge relief for the sore throat and cough, you might catch
  • Soups and a protein diet is best for dinner along with Indian vegetables, along with meat/fish. Dal khichdi is also a good source of protein and carbohydrates in the right quantities
  • Apart from the above-mentioned foods, you can choose from a healthy mix of:
  1. Protein – Proteins act directly on your immune system and these foods are really important to build immunity. Dals, soya, nuts, milk products, curds, eggs, chicken, fish – can all be consumed in the right proportions
  2. Healthy fats – Avoid trans fats in your diet and prefer steaming, grilling or sautéing. Healthy sources of unsaturated fats lie fish and nuts are a good option
  3. Fruits and vegetables – Add at least 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables in different colours
  4. Probiotics – Healthy bacteria found in yogurts, kimchi and pickles can be consumed to balance your digestion and boost immunity
  5. Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a immunity boosting food and stimulates the formation of antibodies. Citrus fruits, tangerines, bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, tomatoes, guava, brocolli, kiwi are all rich in this super fighter food
  6. Zinc rich foods – Zinc helps healing and is crucial for the immune system. Lean meat, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, pumpkin seeds, nuts are all zinc rich foods.

Moreover, a diet regime specifically for each day of quarantine is also followed by a few to balance the intake of vitamins and minerals and fight the virus better. Though the diet, vegetables and meat varies from person to person, having a balanced diet is very important with focus on the foods that help build immunity. If a person has underlying conditions or is on other treatments or medication, it is best to consult your physician for a diet chart or do’s and don’ts.

To support the nutrient absorption and quick healing, it is better to avoid processed, packaged, bakery, and deep fried foods. And as we all know but fail to follow, a good regime of 8 hours sleep, stress-free environment and regular hydration can beat the blues out of any illness and aid in quick recuperation. Let us all fight this together and help one another in whatever small way we can.

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