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What foods to eat to boost your immunity this flu and winter season? – Dr Charu Dutt Arora

Covid 19 pandemic has been a global concern since last three years. Some of the variants surge is still causing issues in many parts of the world. And as we all are struggling with imminent dangers that this virus poses to mankind, there are few key measures that individuals can take to fight this disease.

While it is crucial to mention inevitable practices such as social distancing and maintaining good hand hygiene, there are also certain ways to improve your immunity which is paramount at this time.

Individuals in certain pre-existing illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, cardio vascular disease, and respiratory issues are at a higher risk of having Covid 19 complications, it also aggravates with age as the general immunity reduces as you get older.

Balanced Diet

The food you eat plays a key aspect in determining your overall health and immunity.

-Eat low carbohydrate diets, as this will help control high blood sugar and pressure.

-Focus on a protein-rich diet to keep you in fit shape.

– Consume vegetables and fruits rich in Beta carotene, Ascorbic acid & other essential vitamins. Certain foods like mushrooms, papaya, tomato, bell pepper and green vegetables like broccoli, spinach are also good options to build resilience in the body against infections.

-Supplements rich in omega 3 & 6 fatty acids can also be added for your daily dose, if stepping out to buy groceries is not an option during social distancing.

-Ginger, gooseberries (amla) and turmeric are some natural immunity bossters. Some of these superfoods are common ingredients in Indian cuisine. There are several herbs that help in boosting immunity like garlic, Basel leaves and Black cumin. Certain seeds and nuts like sunflower seeds, Flax seed, pumpkin seeds and melon seeds are excellent sources of protein and vitamin E.

-Probiotics like Yoghurt and fermented food are also excellent sources to rejuvenate the composition of gut bacteria, which is important for nutrient absorption by the body. These are good options for the older generation too.

-Avoid outside food: with the current season of preventable monsoon illnesses such as Typhoid and Gastroenteritis, it is advisable not to eat from outside places.

Sleep

A good night sleep time of 7-8 hours is the best way to build your immunity. Lack of sleep impairs the brain activity and leaves you tired.

Water intake: Keep yourself hydrated. Drink around 10-14 glasses of water per day that will help in flushing the toxins from your body.

Exercise: Although we are not allowed to access fitness centers and gyms during the lockdown, a light exercise of 30 minutes such as walking, yoga, stretching and cardio builds your stamina and help you remain energised throughout the day.

Mindfullness: practice meditation which releases your stress and checks the Cortisol levels in your body.

Avoid Smoking, alcohol and other addictive substances: Certain habits like smoking, hookah, alcohol consumption and substance abuse have a direct correlation between weakened body defences and respiratory illnesses. Engaging in smoking is proven to weaken your lung capacity and destroy the cells lining your respiratory tracts, these cells are crucial to fight viruses that enter through your nasal orifices. There is new research claiming that individuals who engage in heavy alcohol consumption tend to suffer from ARDS (Acute Respiratory distress syndrome) which is one of the conditions caused by viral infection.

While the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic is fought by our frontliners, there is an increase in flu , dengue and gastrointestinal diseases, we can do our bit by limiting our exposure to the virus by staying indoors, social distancing, eating healthy, hydrating and following basic hygiene protocol.

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