Foods To Boost Immune System and Improve Mood


" There is no drug that can prevent or cure the coronavirus infection. At this moment, we have to rely on our own immune system to recover from Covid-19."


Due to coronavirus outbreak, almost every country has imposed a certain degree of restrictions on gathering in groups and leaving home. Social distancing and staying at home can be challenging for many of us. With less physical and social activities, we need to make sure that we stay physically and mentally healthy.

Having a healthy immune system is extremely important during the current coronavirus pandemic. There is no drug or food that can prevent or cure coronavirus infection. If we catch Covid-19, we have to rely on our own immune system to recover from the disease. Coronavirus can be extremely dangerous for people with a weak immune system particularly elderly people and people with diabetes, hypertension, cancer, heart and lung disease

To boost immune system and improve our mood during stay-at-home period, eat these following foods regularly:

1. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, the essential mineral that plays a role in immune function. Zinc deficiency can lead to increased anxiety or even depression. The recommended daily intake of zinc is 11mg for men, 8mg for women, 11mg for pregnant women and 12mg for breastfeeding women.

30g of pumpkin seeds contain around 2.2mg of zinc. I usually add pumpkin seeds to my salad for breakfast or lunch. Other foods that are high in zinc include oysters (cooked, 25mg per 30g), hulled hemp seeds (3mg per 30g), beef (cooked, 2.3mg per 30g), cashew nuts (1.8mg per 30g) and chia seeds (1.4mg per 30g).


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2. Guava (Raw)

Guava is one of the richest sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps boost immune system by supporting cellular functions. It may also help lower anxiety levels. Guava contains 228.3mg of ascorbic acid per 100g. Ascorbic acid is the most potent form of vitamin C. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 90mg for men, 70mg for women, 85mg for pregnant women and 120mg for breastfeeding women.   

Guava is also rich in lycopene (5,204µg per 100g), vitamin A (624 IU per 100g) and beta carotene (374µg per 100g). Like vitamin C; lycopene, vitamin A and beta carotene are good for our immune system. The other fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C include bell peppers (raw), kale (raw), kiwi, orange, cantaloupe melon, mango and papaya.

3. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, herring, sardines and tuna are the great sources of vitamin D and omega 3 essential fatty acids. Smoked salmon contains 17.1µg of vitamin D per 100g. Both vitamin D and omega 3 essential fatty acids help strengthen immune system and reduce anxiety. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased autoimmunity and susceptibility to infection including infection by cold and flu viruses.

Your body can produce vitamin D when you expose your skin to the sun. Spending time outdoor, be it in the garden or balcony or doing our one-hour daily exercise allowance will help strengthen immune system and improve mood during this lockdown or stay-at-home period.


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4. Garlic

Since the beginning of this coronavirus outbreak, I have been eating raw garlic everyday to boost immune system. Twice a day, I chop 3 to 4 cloves of garlic into tiny pieces and mix them with foods. Be well informed that cooking will destroy Allicin, the main therapeutic component of garlic.

Garlic can help reduce acute stress, anxiety and depression. Although eating garlic can not prevent coronavirus infection, it may help us recover from Covid-19 faster. Numerous studies showed that garlic helps reduce high blood pressure, insulin resistance and bad cholesterol levels while also boosts immune system. The death rate from Covid-19 is significantly higher among people with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease as per table below:



Death Rate

from Covid-19

Cardiovascular disease




Chronic respiratory disease







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5. Ginger

Ginger is very good for those who suffer from respiratory disease. As Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, eating ginger may be good for those who are infected by the coronavirus. Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory effects, hence, it helps strengthen immune system. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed that fresh ginger has antiviral properties against human respiratory syncytial virus. Please note that this study also suggest that ginger needs to be taken fresh (raw) in order to ease respiratory problems. 

6. Turmeric

Turmeric contains curcumin, an orange substance with therapeutic benefits. Curcumin helps boost immune system and reduce inflammation in the body. According to a study published in the Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology, curcumin reduces the severity of pneumonia caused by flu virus. The antiviral properties of Curcumin is effective against Influenza A virus. Eating turmeric everyday may help reduce the severity of Covid-19 pneumonia. Studies also showed that turmeric helps ease anxiety, stress and depression.

Turmeric is not only good for our physical and mental health, it is also good for our skin. It is one of the key ingredients of Antioxidant Youthful Essence. This multi-award-winning anti-pollution booster helps protect our skin from free radicals and pollution. It also contains allantoin and ginkgo extract to soothe, hydrate and revive tired-looking skin.


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Henry Tianus is a multi-award-winning Anti-Ageing Scientist based in London, UK. Henry Tianus has been listed as The Recognised Institute Practitioner at The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy (ITHMA), London (UK) since 2005. Henry Tianus's articles have been read by people in more than 100 countries with USA and UK at the top of the list. Join Henry Tianus eNewsletter to receive the latest health and wellbeing tips. 

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Scientific sources: Zinc, The Vegan Society; Zinc, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Office of Dietary Supplements; Guava, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Vitamin D and Immune System, Journal of investigative medicine : the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research, 2011 Aug, 59(6): 881-886; Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects, Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 2014 Jan-Feb: 4(1): 1–14; Medical News Today, Garlic: Proven benefits, 18 August 2017; Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey, Advances in Therapy, 2001 Jul-Aug: 18(4): 189-93; Allium vegetables and risk of prostate cancer: a population-based study, Journal of the National Cancer Institute (China), 2002 Nov 6: 94(21):1648-51; Age, Sex, Existing Conditions of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths, Worldometers, February 29, 2020; Curcumin ameliorates severe influenza pneumonia via attenuating lung injury and regulating macrophage cytokines production, Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology, 2018 Jan, 45(1): 84-93; Fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale) has anti-viral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus in human respiratory tract cell lines, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2013 Jan 9;145(1):146-51; Aged garlic extract supplement helps relieve acute stress, Journal of the Chinese Medical Association: September 2019 - Volume 82 - Issue 9 - p 677-678 (doi: 10.1097/JCMA.0000000000000142)

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