Three surprising foods that fuel your immune system

Three surprising foods that fuel your immune system

  • October 23, 2020






PHOTO | BRANDPOINT
Farmed salmon has nutrients can can protect the body’s immune system with vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.

Cold and flu season, combined with an ongoing pandemic, is motivating many Americans to do everything possible to support immune health. Fortunately, simple lifestyle habits, like a healthy diet, can make a big difference in strengthening the body’s defense system. But what foods are best – and why?

When it comes to immune-boosting foods, most people immediately turn to orange juice for a quick fix of vitamin C. “While it is true that citrus fruit helps support the immune system, there are many other foods that offer an impressive profile of nutrients believed to maintain strong immunity,” says registered dietitian Sheri Kasper. Here are three surprising, dietitian-recommended foods that can help ward off illness this cold and flu season.

1. Farmed salmon
Farmed salmon offers outstanding nutrition that can help protect against everything from heart disease to depression. Specifically, farmed salmon supports the immune system thanks to two key nutrients that are uncommon in many other foods: vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.

While vitamin D is often connected to bone health, emerging research out of Boston University suggests that it may also be vital to proper immune function. Few foods are naturally high in vitamin D, but a serving of farmed salmon offers nearly one-third of daily recommended needs. Omega-3 fatty acids, abundantly found in farmed salmon, are highly anti-inflammatory and support the immune system by reducing chronic inflammation. Kasper recommends choosing farmed salmon from Chile because it is sustainably raised, high in omega-3 fats and does not contain antibiotics or mercury.

2. Yogurt
Yogurt and other fermented foods contain healthy bacteria called probiotics. Probiotics are well-known for supporting digestive or “gut” health by preventing overgrowth of bad bacteria. But maintaining a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut is also believed to boost the immune system.

“Most people do not realize that about 70 percent of your body’s immune system is in your gut,” says Kasper. In addition to containing probiotics, yogurt is also one of the few foods that is almost always fortified with vitamin D, which offers additional immune support. Look for yogurt labeled as containing “Live and Active Cultures” and steer clear of yogurt that contains a lot of added sugar. Try plain yogurt and sweeten by adding fresh fruit and a small drizzle of honey.

3. Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers are rich in vitamins and antioxidants that support the immune system. One example is vitamin C, which encourages the production of the white blood cells that are responsible for defending the body against pathogens.

Red bell peppers contain almost three times more vitamin C than oranges. They are also loaded with vitamin A and the antioxidant beta-carotene, which can be converted to vitamin A in the body, when needed.

Vitamin A is important in maintaining the natural mucus barriers located in the eyes, gut and other parts of the body. These barriers are designed to trap bacteria and are essential to optimal immunity. Be sure to choose red peppers because they have significantly more vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene compared to green bell peppers.

While a healthy diet cannot prevent seasonal colds, the flu or other viral illnesses, a combination of the right foods, plenty of sleep, regular exercise and a balanced lifestyle will arm your body’s defenses and may help minimize the length and severity of illness. For more information about salmon and wellness, visit chileansalmon.org.

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Give your family and immune system boost with these foods

Give your family and immune system boost with these foods

  • October 21, 2020

Are you looking for simple ways to boost your family’s immune system? Take a walk to the fridge… Certain fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and a handful of herbs and spices are known for their immune-boosting powers. The good news is that these foods are easy to find and won’t cost you an arm or a leg! In fact, you probably already have a few of them in your fridge.

Here are a few food types you can add to meals to improve your family’s health:  

Citrus fruits

Many people turn to vitamin C after they caught a cold, or if they think they’re on the verge of catching one. This is because citrus helps to build your immune system. vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells and improve the health of tissues, which are key to fighting infections. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, and with such a variety to choose from, it is easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.

Popular citrus fruits include:

  • grapefruit
  • oranges
  • tangerines
  • lemons
  • limes

Because your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, you need to actively ensure that you get your daily dosage for continued health. The recommended daily amount for most adults is:

  • 75 mg for women
  • 90 mg for men

Kiwi

Kiwis are naturally full of multiple essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts the white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwis’ other nutrients assist with general body functions.

Red bell peppers

Red bell peppers contain almost 3 times more vitamin C (127mg) than most other fruit per gram. They are also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, Vitamin C may help you maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.

Broccoli

Broccoli is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fibre and many other antioxidants, it’s one of the healthiest vegetables you can add to your plate.

Garlic

Early civilizations recognised garlic’s value in fighting infections. Garlic may also contribute to slowing down atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, and some evidence suggests that it can assist in lowering blood pressure – this should however not replace any prescribed medications for hypertension. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.

Ginger

Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and inflammatory illnesses.

Spinach

Spinach is not only rich in Vitamin C, but it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, both of which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.

Almonds

Almonds contain a high amount of vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are fully packed with vitamin E and contain healthy fats. Adults only need about 15mg of vitamin E each day. A half-cup serving of almonds, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides close to 100 percent of the recommended daily amount.

Turmeric This bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. High concentrations of curcumin can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage and is an immune booster and an antiviral spice.

Green tea

Green tea is packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant, which has shown to enhance immune function. Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T cells, an essential part of your defence system.

Liquorice

Liquorice contains many beneficial substances, including glycyrrhizin, which may help protect against viral infections. It contains B vitamins, including B12 and B6 – which are all important for a healthy immune response. Many adults are deficient in these B vitamins, which may negatively affect immune health.

4 best quality dog foods to give wholesome nourishment to your canine companion

4 best quality dog foods to give wholesome nourishment to your canine companion – sex and relationships

  • October 17, 2020

Those who love their dogs go to great lengths to give them the best life possible and providing them with quality dog food plays an essential role in ensuring their well-being. A number of well-known brands have introduced a large variety of products that offer necessary nutrients to your canine companions.

It is vital to choose the right product that caters to the specific health requirements for your dog. While shopping for dog food, it is important to check if a product has what it takes to keep your pooch pet happy and healthy.

Here is a list you should keep in mind while shopping for dog food:

1.Complete and balanced nutrition

Containing many quality ingredients, this product from Pedigree provides your dog with a balanced nutritious meal. Formulated for adult dogs, it contains 20% crude protein, 5% crude fibre and 10% crude fat.

It provides your furry friend with stronger muscles, bones and teeth, and visibly healthier and shinier coat. Packed with calcium, iron and vitamin B12, it promotes your dog’s digestive health and boosts its immune system.

Developed by experts, this product is ideal for a number of breeds, including pugs, beagles, labradors, German shepherds and golden retrievers. Containing essential nutrients necessary for the healthy growth of your canine companion, this dog food is enriched with the goodness of cereals, chicken, meat and other beneficial ingredients that provide your dog with a healthy amount of proteins, fats and fibres.

2.Enhances physical performance

Meat Up offers this complete and balanced dog food containing essential ingredients such as chicken, eggs and vegetables. It also offers the required vitamins and minerals to your pet.

The product is highly palatable and suitable for all breeds. Formulated to enhance your pet’s physical performance and improve its health, the product delivers an energy-packed diet that caters to all the nutritional needs of your dog.

It contains probiotics to boost your pet’s digestive system, enhancing its overall health. The product is enriched with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for a healthier coat.

Antioxidants in the dog food improve your dog’s immune system while the glucosamine provides stronger bones and joints.

3. Packed with nutrients

Suitable for 15-month-old puppies, this product offered by Royal Canin is specially formulated to boost your pet’s immunity system during its growth period. Made to satisfy all its nutritional needs, the dog food contains a blend of antioxidants and vitamin E to support your puppy’s natural defenses.

Containing the highly digestible prebiotics and proteins, the product supports good digestive activity and helps in maintaining a healthy balance of intestinal flora. Also containing moderate energy content, the product keeps your canine companion as energetic as ever.

4. All breed formula

This dog food by Drools provides all the required nutritional value to your dog. Formulated with a balanced ratio of fats and proteins, the product is highly palatable and boosts your pet’s digestive health.

Containing real chicken, this dog food is suitable for all breeds. Consisting of a great blend of vitamins and minerals, the product makes your dog’s bones and joints stronger.

The required amount of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids helps in maintaining healthy skin and a beautiful coat. Also, the essential nutrients in this dog food help in preventing tartar build-up.

(At Hindustan Times, we help you stay up-to-date with latest trends and products. Hindustan Times has affiliate partnership, so we may get a part of the revenue when you make a purchase.)

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Your child's immunity is best built with natural foods

Your child’s immunity is best built with natural foods

  • October 17, 2020

No amount of supplements and vitamins can replace good nutrition, with milk being a vital component of a child’s diet.

During this pandemic, it’s only natural for parents to be concerned about their child’s immunity.

A recent nationwide survey titled #ImmunityMatters, conducted by Mead Johnson Nutrition’s Enfagrow A+ Malaysia, revealed that 96% of parents have concerns about their child’s health in the light of Covid-19 and 94% believe that nutrition is vital in building immunity.

The survey, which involved more than 500 parents with children above the age of one, was carried out across Malaysia to gain a deeper insight into parental behaviour during the current pandemic.

Results showed that a high percentage of parents (82%) believe a child’s immune health can be nurtured and built over time, with 95% of parents being familiar with immunity-boosting foods.

Amongst these numbers, more than 42% made conscious decisions to change their family’s food choices, with family shopping lists shifting to show parental priority in choosing immunity-building foods and nutrients (84%) to build up the family’s natural defences.

The top five food choices parents rated to build a stronger immune system were: vegetables (88%), fruits (80%), meat (55%), milk (54%) and grains (43%).

According to the Malaysian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents 2013, children are encouraged to consume two to three servings of milk or dairy products a day.

In this study, 63% of parents gave their children milk at least three times a day.

“It is important to lay the building blocks for a good immune system in the first five years of a child’s life because this is the time of rapid physical and mental growth. You are what you eat.

“If you miss that timeframe, all is not lost as immunity can still be built over time.

“I strongly believe a child’s diet should follow the BMV (balance, moderation and variety) concept.

“Then they will have enough energy and their defences will be working optimally,” says clinical dietitian Rozanna Rosly.

During the movement control order (MCO), she found that children were not being adequately hydrated and sleeping later, which can make them more susceptible to illness.

Fewer sick days mean they can eat better, and are more vibrant and energetic.

She says: “A lot of parents send their kids to nannies and babysitters.

“They don’t know if the child is eating properly or if the meals are balanced.

“If your child doesn’t want to eat and you continue to give him junk or unhealthy foods, it doesn’t help his immune system.

“Like adults who have cheat days, junk or fast food is okay sometimes, but for the rest of the time, the meal has to be healthy.

“With this pandemic, we want the children to have good, natural defences.”

‘Milk-ing’ your immunity

Over 70% to 80% of immune cells are found in our gut.

A diet with the right nutrients can help modulate immune function, reduce the risk of infection and amplify the inflammatory response when attacked by bacteria or viruses.

Says Rozanna: “Clinical research has shown the positive effects of milk fat globule membrane (MFGM), which is a nutrient-rich component that is found in our brain.

“Consumption of milk fortified with MFGM has a protective effect against stomach infection and reduces the number of days with fever.

“Polyunsaturated fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is found in our brain and fatty fish such as salmon, also helps immunity and boosts brain development in children.

“They also need prebiotics and probiotics, which can be obtained from fruits and vegetables.

“These act as ‘fertilisers’ to balance the microorganisms that live in the digestive system.”

As for supplements and vitamins, she says children who are eating balanced meals do not need them.

“During this Covid-19 time, adults are buying vitamin C by the truckloads!

“Only children who don’t eat or don’t like drinking milk need supplements, but this has to be given according to age,” she says.

While there is no way to measure immunity, there are certain signs you can look out for.

“If your child falls sick every month, and now falls sick only every other month, then his immunity has improved.

“Usually, when a child falls ill, he won’t want to eat, and if it happens frequently, there is a disruption in growth.

“But he may ask for milk. In fact, even adults who are unwell like to drink milk.

“Milk is a nutrient-dense food, and the fortified ones are rich in calcium and have added vitamins and minerals to support linear growth and boost immunity,” she adds.

Try These Mood-boosting Foods | TAPinto

Try These Mood-boosting Foods | TAPinto

  • October 16, 2020

As we head into fall, the days are becoming shorter and the weather is turning cooler. When seasons change, our moods can swing with them—bringing feelings of fatigue, sadness and even depression. While we can’t control how long the sun hangs in the sky, we can determine which foods to eat that can give us a great source of energy. Stock up on these foods to give your mood a boost:

  • Dark Chocolate: Not only is this sweet treat packed with antioxidants, but it can improve the brain’s cognitive function. When consumed in moderation, chocolate made of 70 percent cocoa or more releases flavonoids that can help us relax.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Packed with protein, healthy oils and fiber, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and peanuts all have zinc and magnesium that can boost the immune system.
  • Dark Leafy Greens: From kale and Swiss chard to spinach and collards, leafy greens are rich in iron and magnesium that can increase serotonin levels, decrease anxiety and increase energy
  • Fatty Fish: Salmon is rich with omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful to brain and nervous system function. Albacore tuna, sardines, trout and anchovies are great alternatives that provide the same nutrients.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Rich in Vitamin B6, sweet potatoes help the production of serotonin, the “feel good” chemical in our brains. An antioxidant known as carotenoid can also help keep depression

    at bay.
  • Green Tea: Not only is green tea full of antioxidants that can improve brain function and metabolism, but it can (unlike coffee) increase the amount of dopamine sent to your brain—giving a happy, less jittery feeling.

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

Hackensack Meridian Health News Hub

 

3 Surprising Foods That Fuel Your Immune System – Pasadena Weekendr

3 Surprising Foods That Fuel Your Immune System – Pasadena Weekendr

  • October 13, 2020

Cold and flu season, combined with an ongoing pandemic, is motivating many Americans to do everything possible to support immune health. Fortunately, simple lifestyle habits, like a healthy diet, can make a big difference in strengthening the body’s defense system. But what foods are best — and why?

When it comes to immune-boosting foods, most people immediately turn to orange juice for a quick fix of vitamin C. “While it is true that citrus fruit helps support the immune system, there are many other foods that offer an impressive profile of nutrients believed to maintain strong immunity,” says registered dietitian Sheri Kasper. Here are three surprising, dietitian-recommended foods that can help ward off illness this cold and flu season.

1. Farmed salmon

Farmed salmon offers outstanding nutrition that can help protect against everything from heart disease to depression. Specifically, farmed salmon supports the immune system thanks to two key nutrients that are uncommon in many other foods: vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. While vitamin D is often connected to bone health, emerging research out of Boston University suggests that it may also be vital to proper immune function. Few foods are naturally high in vitamin D, but a serving of farmed salmon offers nearly one-third of daily recommended needs. Omega-3 fatty acids, abundantly found in farmed salmon, are highly anti-inflammatory and support the immune system by reducing chronic inflammation. Kasper recommends choosing farmed salmon from Chile because it is sustainably raised, high in omega-3 fats and does not contain antibiotics or mercury.

2. Yogurt

Yogurt and other fermented foods contain healthy bacteria called probiotics. Probiotics are well-known for supporting digestive or “gut” health by preventing overgrowth of bad bacteria. But maintaining a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut is also believed to boost the immune system. “Most people do not realize that about 70 percent of your body’s immune system is in your gut,” says Kasper. In addition to containing probiotics, yogurt is also one of the few foods that is almost always fortified with vitamin D, which offers additional immune support. Look for yogurt labeled as containing “Live and Active Cultures” and steer clear of yogurt that contains a lot of added sugar. Try plain yogurt and sweeten by adding fresh fruit and a small drizzle of honey.

3. Red bell peppers

Red bell peppers are rich in vitamins and antioxidants that support the immune system. One example is vitamin C, which encourages the production of the white blood cells that are responsible for defending the body against pathogens. Red bell peppers contain almost three times more vitamin C than oranges. They are also loaded with vitamin A and the antioxidant beta-carotene, which can be converted to vitamin A in the body, when needed. Vitamin A is important in maintaining the natural mucus barriers located in the eyes, gut and other parts of the body. These barriers are designed to trap bacteria and are essential to optimal immunity. Be sure to choose red peppers because they have significantly more vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene compared to green bell peppers.

While a healthy diet cannot prevent seasonal colds, the flu or other viral illnesses, a combination of the right foods, plenty of sleep, regular exercise and a balanced lifestyle will arm your body’s defenses and may help minimize the length and severity of illness. For more information about salmon and wellness, visit chileansalmon.org.

 



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7 Everyday Immunity-Boosting Foods That Can Help Fight Diseases

7 Everyday Immunity-Boosting Foods That Can Help Fight Diseases

  • October 12, 2020

If you love oysters, then you love it, even more, when you realize it’s immune benefits. Oysters are rich in energy, iron, vitamin C, zinc, vitamin A, and selenium. The minerals and vitamins found in oysters are critical for immune function.

Zinc, for example, is important for the wound healing process following an injury. Zinc also helps in the development of white blood cells. It plays an essential role in their activation during the immune response.

You often see people preparing garlic concoctions for the flu and colds.

One of the primary uses of garlic is to boost immune function. Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which is useful in fighting viruses and bacteria. When crushed, alliin turns to a compound called allicin, which contains sulphur. Alliin also contains other beneficial properties that help garlic in fighting viruses.

Garlic has immune modulation properties. It is involved in cytokine secretion, macrophage activation, immunoglobulin production, and phagocytosis. Through these mechanisms, garlic stimulates cells such as natural killer (NK) cells, macrophages, eosinophils, lymphocytes, and dendritic cells.

7 Foods To Support Your Immune System During Cold and Flu Season

7 Foods To Support Your Immune System During Cold and Flu Season

  • October 10, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • Including certain foods into your diet may help support your immune system during cold and flu system.
  • While no one food will guarantee that you will stay healthy and flu-free, focusing on certain nutrients like vitamin D and zinc may keep your body in fighting shape.

When October comes along and the weather begins to cool, many people think about pumpkin spice lattes and cozy sweater weather. But this month also means the start of cold and flu season—and a PSL’s nutrition profile won’t exactly help fend off infection.

Since many of us have been wearing masks, social distancing, working from home, and practicing other strategies to minimize the spread of COVID-19, we may see less transmission of other respiratory infectious diseases, like the flu, according to a recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But these practices are not a magic bullet to perfect health. Frequently, poor nutrient status is associated with inflammation and oxidative stress, which in turn can negatively impact the immune system. 

Certain dietary choices may help support a healthy immune system to keep your body in fighting shape in case it does get infected by a common cold, the flu, or other illnesses. Along with proper hand washing, quality sleep, and other positive lifestyle choices, including these foods in your diet may help support your immune system during cold and flu season.

Legumes

Legumes include chickpeas, dried peas, and lentils. Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD, registered dietitian and of Owner Sound Bites Nutrition in Cincinnati, Ohio, advises adding legumes or lentils to a diet for an immune system boost. She explains that these foods contain prebiotic fibers that help support live probiotics, specifically lactobacillus, to prevent infection and reduce inflammation.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods contain live probiotics, and include kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir. Probiotics are live bacteria that offer a health benefit to the host – and in this case, the host is you!

Lindsey Pine, MS, RDN, a California-based registered dietitian and founder of Tasty Balance Nutrition recommends consuming fermented foods “because approximately 70% of our immune system resides in the gut. By keeping the gut healthy and including probiotic-containing foods, you’re helping to protect the immune system.”

Turmeric


“Turmeric contains curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and protects your body from harmful compounds,”
Alena Kharlamenko, MS,RS, a New York City-based registered dietitian, tells Verywell. 

If you’re using turmeric, make sure to eat it with black pepper—it helps your body absorb it better. 

Oysters 


Kharlamenko also recommends that people who want to support a healthy immune system add oysters into their diet. “Oysters and other shellfish like shrimp and lobster can also do wonders for your immune health,” she says. “They are packed with zinc, which helps protect your body from viruses and bacteria.”

Salmon


Salmon provides your body with important immune-supporting nutrients like vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, along with a health boost of protein, which is crucial for optimal antibody production. Specifically, choosing Chilean-farmed salmon gives you more omega-3s compared to other types of fish, with no mercury or antibiotics. 

100% Orange Juice With Added Vitamin D


Orange juice is chock-full of immune-supporting nutrients, including vitamin C. Choosing orange juice fortified with vitamin D gives some extra immune support, as adequate intake of this nutrient has been linked to reduced risk of respiratory tract infections, including the flu.

Garlic


Adding crushed garlic to pasta sauces or including chopped garlic to salad dressings may help ward off illness during cold and flu season in a natural way. When garlic is crushed or chopped, a compound called allicin is produced. This compound has been shown to
reduce inflammation and offer immune health benefits. A single trial suggested that garlic may prevent occurrences of the common cold, but more studies are needed to validate this finding.

What This Means For You

Including any of these foods in your diet during cold and flu season may help support a healthy immune system in a natural way.

3 traditional Indian foods that promote healing when you're sick or injured

3 traditional Indian foods that promote healing when you’re sick or injured

  • October 9, 2020

The traditional Indian diet—power-packed with spices and herbs, most with medicinal properties—has always been about “eating clean”. And now, more than ever, in this COVID-19 era, it’s crucial for us to go back to our roots and reach out to foods that not only protect against chronic diseases but also have the natural ability to help heal post an illness.

The foods to add to your diet for healing

1. Herbs and spices

“Looking at the current situation, health and diet has become a priority for our well-being. Turmeric (or curcumin), an important component in Indian food helps improve heart problems and brain health. Liquorice, a sweet root and stem, is beneficial for any kind of infection and inflammation, eventually improving the overall digestive system,” says Mumbai-based Neeraj Gogia, Ayurvedic doctor and advisor, Food Veda, Zee Zest.

Add piperine (a compound found in black pepper) to healing concoctions with curcumin, suggests Naturopath Dr Meghna Thacker, as it helps increase its bioavailability by 2,000 per cent. “Yes, you heard right! Somehow, our ancestors already knew about this fact since there are so many home remedies using turmeric (haldi doodh, to name a popular one) that have been passed down,” says Dr Thacker, who runs her naturopathy clinic, Feel Your Best Self, in Arizona.

In India, we use holy basil leaves (tulsi) in our food as well, which have both antibacterial as well as antioxidant properties. “According to Ayurvedic philosophy, basil is spiritually and medicinally very beneficial, it is believed to create purity and lightness in the body and helps clear out the toxins from the body,” says Dr Gogia.

2. Immune-boosting grain-based meals

Bajre (pearl millet) ki raab has been a natural go-to when she is on the mend. “This warm, soothing soup—made of bajra flour, dry ginger powder, jaggery, ajwain and ghee—not only enhances our immunity but also cures loss of appetite that follows an illness in addition to boosting low energy levels,” she says, “Instead of jaggery, one can also use raw honey as a sweetener. Raw honey, in its purest form, is soothing, relieves inflammation and has antimicrobial properties. Thus, it works very well for cough, sore throat and upper respiratory tract infections.”

Another famous Indian dish for someone recovering from an illness due to its easy digestibility is moong dal khichdi. “It is a perfect blend of protein and carbohydrates, and when cooked in ghee (which provides healthy fats), it becomes a complete and balanced meal. Not just that, moong dal contains excess fibre, Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. When one is sick, I suggest cooking it with garlic to boost the function of the immune system,” she says, further explaining, “When garlic is crushed, it releases a compound called allicin. These sulphur compounds from garlic enter from the digestive tract and travel all over the body, where it exerts its potent biological effects. These biological effects help fight the infection in the mouth and throat, also reaching the lungs.”

“One can also opt for kacchi haldi ka halwa as it includes raw turmeric and jaggery, both ingredients containing healing properties and best served as a comfort sweet-dish,” says Gogia. “This keep the nutrients intact and alive,” says Kunal Kapoor, chef and host, Food Veda, Zee Zest. “Heat ghee and roast wheat flour till it turns golden brown. Remove the pan and keep it aside for cooling. Heat grated turmeric (with ghee) on a medium flame till its raw flavour evaporates and then mix roasted wheat flour into the roasted turmeric. To make jaggery syrup, mix two cups of jaggery and water and bring it to boil. Strain the boiled jaggery syrup and add it into the mixer and stir it well. Add dry fruits for garnishing.”

3. Soothing drinks

For lactating and postpartum mothers, Thacker suggests you include her favourite morning beverage—badam (almond) delight—when she was on maternity leave. “This combination of almonds (great source of protein, fats and essential minerals), ghee (full of Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for brain and heart health), milk, cardamom (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) and honey not only gave me energy during those difficult days but also helped my body produce a good amount of milk for my very hungry baby,” she says.

If you are looking to sip on a warm drink for comfort, Dr Gogia recommends kashayam—a healing Ayurveda blend that helps boost immunity and fight indigestion. “In a pan lightly roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, fennel seeds, cloves and green cardamom. Transfer all the lightly roasted masalas into a pestle and grind it. Once it comes to a slight boil add the kashayam powder along with dry ginger powder and turmeric powder. Boil it for another two-three minutes, strain it and then mix in jaggery,” says Kapoor. 

Also read:

6 ways to bolster your immune system against COVID-19 if you’re in your 60s and older

11 ingredients you should eat during monsoons, according to Ayurveda

5 herbal drinks that will help you sleep better, with ingredients you already have at home 

foods to eat for good digestion

foods to eat for good digestion

  • October 6, 2020

Delving into the intricacies of gut health might seem pedantic when you’re already living a balanced lifestyle, but the reality is our gut is responsible for more than just sorting the goodness (and the waste) from we consume.

One reason that a well fed gut is more important than you might think is because of how it impacts our immune system. It’s widely believed that over 70% of our antibody-producing cells are housed in the digestive tract, making gut health a vital aspect of the body’s defence against disease.

Gastrointestinal tract health depends on the balance of the trillions of microbiomes – commonly referred to as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria – that call it home. Plainly put, too much good bacteria leads to an immature immune system that can’t recognise or fight invasive pathogens and germs, while an excess of bad bacteria can weaken the gut wall. This impacts the guts ability to produce immune-boosting antibodies, allowing weak points for germs to enter the bloodstream and causing inflammatory responses.

So, how healthy is your gut? Dr Lisa Das, a gastroenterologist at OneWelbeck, says seemingly innocuous concerns such as “excessive wind, diarrhoea, bloating, stomach pains, nausea or heartburn”, can be inflammatory signals of compromised gastrointestinal health.

Adding to that, poor gut health can also present itself in less obvious ways. Dr Das explains, “there is constant signalling between the gut and the brain, these interactions are so dynamic it may not be immediately obvious that symptoms such as altered emotions, fatigue, brain fog or skin breakouts are due to gut dysfunction.”

Fatigue

“Symptoms such as altered emotions, fatigue, brain fog or skin breakouts are due to gut dysfunction.”

Nutritional therapist Eva Kalinik also says that, alongside poor diet and excessive use of antibiotics, common lifestyle choices such as “consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine” can also irritate the gut’s delicate flora.

She insists that the key to maintaining gastro-intestinal tract health is in consuming “dietary fibre which we find in all plant-based carbohydrates. This is essentially fuel for our gut microbes,” and “helps to promote a more diverse, healthier and stronger gut microbiome.”

Now you’re better acquainted with just how much of a good thing a healthy gut is, read on for some of the best foods you should be eating more of for better gastrointestinal health. 

Wholegrains

Eating a balanced diet that includes fibrous whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, chia seeds and oats, is essential for gut health. Fibre helps move things along in the digestive system, which is especially important because any blockages in the gut can upset the delicate balance of flora that keeps it healthy.

When it comes to fibre though, balance is the key word. Excess consumption of fibrous foods can lead to constipation and bloating.

Leafy greens

Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach aren’t just rich in immune-boosting vitamin C, they’re also believed to contain a sugar molecule that fuels the growth of good bacteria when consumed, giving you yet another reason to toss them into your salads, soups and smoothies.

Kefir

Kefir may currently be trending in the wellness world, but this yoghurt drink – made by fermenting milk with special grains – dates back centuries in many different parts of the world. The tart, curdy drink that results from the fermentation is teeming with live bacterial cultures that support the good bacteria in your gut. Although traditional kefir is usually made from cow or goat’s milk, vegans can opt for coconut-derived kefir options that boast similar benefits with none of the dairy.

Kale

“Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach are believed to contain a sugar molecule that fuels the growth of good bacteria when consumed.”

Legumes

Meat products aren’t easily broken down by our bodies and so can lead to slow movement in the gut. Legumes such as beans, lentils and chickpeas are comparably high in protein, and are fibrous enough to aid in keeping things regular.

In addition to that, they contain large amounts of prebiotics, which are micronutrients that reach the large intestine intact. These prebiotics are fermented by the good bacteria in the colon, resulting in the short-chain fatty acid, Butyrate, which is responsible for selectively supporting good bacteria, reducing inflammation in the colon, and boosting the health of the gut barrier.

Bananas

Fruit is an essential part of a balanced diet, because it provides us with the vitamins and minerals that fuel our cells. But, bananas are particularly special in relation to gut health. They contain micronutrients that support the function of the colon and are rich in the electrolyte potassium, which requires replenishing after gastrointestinal upsets like diarrhea.

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