Immunity building is one of the primary steps in staying safe in the pandemic. As we brave another Covid wave with the fast-spreading Omicron variant, doctors and experts suggest changing the diet so as to boost health.
Vijay Thakkar, a fitness entrepreneur and functional medicine coach, and also the founder of 48 Fitness, says “good health means your immune system is free to fight infections with all its might”.
“Obesity and diabetes engage the system in a tussle. Thus, your body has a weak immune response to a new infection like Covid or even flu. The idea behind fighting Omicron with food is to give your immune system the freedom to fight the infection. A good, balanced diet, rich in first-grade protein combined with pulses and seeds, which provide the nine essential amino acids, is key to rebuilding and maintaining good immunity,” he says.
He lists items to include and exclude from your diet to fight against Omicron; read on.
Green leafy vegetables have always been the major source of nutrition. Vegetables like broccoli, peas, capsicum, spinach and other seasonal variants are a great source of vitamin C, healthy fats, fibres and iron. If you are already recovering from the infection, having broth and soup would make recovery easier for you.
Fruits offer you a dose of healthy glucose, dietary fibre, vitamin C and many antiviral nutrients. Also, citrus fruits like oranges, grapes, help hydrate the body. Staying hydrated is very important if you are hoping to avoid this infection or fight the symptoms. Including fruits in your daily snacks helps to keep your hunger pangs at bay and provide you with immunity-boosting nutrients.
Seeds and nuts are rich sources of selenium, zinc, protein and vitamin E, B6. etc. Nuts like almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, etc., are also good sources for protein if you are a vegetarian. Pumpkin, flax and chia seeds provide you with phytochemicals like antioxidants.
Antioxidants are important for keeping your body fit and the unhealthy fat in check. Snacking on seeds and nuts can make you feel full for longer. Also, avoid fried foods made from refined, white flour and trans fats. Consuming seeds and nuts can help keep your weight in check.
Dairy products like milk, yoghurt, butter, ghee, etc., also add to your nutrition needs. The butyric acid found in clarified butter (ghee) is a short-chain fatty acid known to provide instant energy to the body without raising blood sugar levels. and is also known to feed good bacteria in the gut that supports the immune system by killing pathogens and neutralising toxins in the digestive tract, not allowing them to enter the circulation to cause damage in the body. Dairy products are also good sources of calcium and vitamin D. If you are fighting Omicron already, yoghurt will be the most nutritious option for you.
It is a probiotic. Meaning, it improves your digestion and aids the generation of healthy gut bacteria.
You should also include other power-packed foods like mushrooms, fish, eggs in your diet. These foods offer unique rare minerals important for a healthy immune system.