" We may have to rely on our own immune system to recover from Covid-19."
Due to new coronavirus variant known as Omicron, many countries have reinstalled restrictions on social gathering and travel. 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 strong immune system is crucially important during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Coronavirus can be extremely dangerous for people with a weak immune system, particularly elderly and those with diabetes, hypertension, cancer, heart and lung disease. The efficacy of the existing Covid-19 vaccines against Omicron is yet to be seen. If we catch Covid-19, we may have to rely on our own immune system to recover from it. To boost our immunity against coronavirus and improve our mood, eat plenty of these 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 an increased anxiety level or 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 fruit salad for breakfast. 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 the anxiety level. Guava contains 228.3mg of ascorbic acid per 100g. Ascorbic acid (L-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 coronavirus infection (covid-19).
Our body can produce vitamin D when we expose our skin to the sun. Spending time outdoor during the day will help strengthen immune system and improve our mood.
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Since the beginning of covid-19 outbreak, I have been eating raw garlic everyday to boost immune system. Every morning, I chop 2 to 3 cloves of garlic into tiny pieces and mix them with foods. For therapeutic purposes, it is best to eat garlic raw as cooking will destroy Allicin, the main therapeutic component in garlic.
Garlic can help reduce acute stress, anxiety and depression. Although eating garlic may 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. Covid-19 death rate is significantly higher among people with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease as per table below:
Chronic respiratory disease
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Ginger is very good for those who suffer from respiratory diseases. 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. This study also suggests that ginger needs to be taken fresh (raw) in order to ease respiratory problems.
Turmeric contains curcumin, an orange substance with many therapeutic benefits. Curcumin helps boost immune system and reduces inflammation in our 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, a multi-award-winning vitamin C pre-serum to revitalise and protect the skin from free radicals, pollution and premature signs of ageing.
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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.
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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