Recipes to strengthen your immune system

With the world relaxing lockdown measures, and people resuming general travel gradually now is a very crucial time to maintain a healthy diet to keep your immune system at its best. The coronavirus is known to affect people with low immune systems. 

With the pandemic tormenting the world for months, we are quite aware of how to avoid being infected by the coronavirus and add on to the ever-increasing number of positives cases across the globe. Despite expert advises people have still fallen victim to the raging disease called COVID-19 with or without having shown any symptoms.

Ever since the modern era pandora’s box opened and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide, we have all done our research to identify the foods which can help one better their immune system.

You may include consumption of raw turmeric, 2 raw cloves of garlic, 4-5 neem leaves, and soaking in the sunlight in your morning routine, but how long will you continue the routine? Barely a week, perhaps 10 days? To keep up the pace with our fast (or rather recently boring) lives and nurture our laziness, we skip several healthy practices thinking we’ll get back to them tomorrow, but that tomorrow never comes.

Besides consuming fruits and loads of water, here’s a little help on how to strengthen your immune system:

Neem Begun is a common Bengali household dish, consumed during spring and early summer days to prevent chickenpox. The dish rich in neem leaves is a natural detoxifier for its antimicrobial effects that are effective against several types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Beetroot in the form of curry, chips, stir-fried with peas and carrots, or juice, is a brilliant source of immunity boosters. Beetroot is rich in iron, zinc, potassium, sodium, and vitamins, which together build a strong immune system.

Taro roots or arbi are a powerhouse of nutrients for they are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, sodium and potassium. Other than controlling blood sugar, arbi improves blood circulation and digestion, therefore naturally boosting the immune system. Arbi can be prepared with recipes like kalo gathi kochu, arbi dum, arbi masala, gathi kochu (Bengali for taro root) chingri, kochu bata etc.

Tetor daal (Bitter daal) is prepared with bitter gourd (karela) and yellow moong, and sometimes bottle gourd (lauki). Karela is rich in Vitamin C and A, fibre, and zinc. It prevents allergies and indigestion, helps in maintaining blood sugar levels and reduces bad cholesterol — therefore is a star immunity booster. Lauki – rich in Vitamin C, antioxidants and fibre – cools the body and soothes the stomach; its alkalinity relieves the gut from symptoms acidity.

Karela can also be consumed in the form of juice or some common dishes like bharwa karela, deep-fried karela, karela kadhi, or simply boiled karela are equally good.

Lauki stew, lau chingri (a Bengali delicacy prepared with prawns and bottle gourd) are some bottle gourd dishes you might try to zing up your regular palate of healthy dishes. 

Shiuli leaves ( leaves of Night-flowering jasmine) stimulate the immune system and have been used in Ayurveda for ages as a natural laxative, and to treat arthritis and fevers. They can be deep-fried in a batter, or eaten in the form of fritters.

Sprouts salads or sprout curries can be very convenient twists to your daily diet. Sprouts are a powerful stimulant for the white blood cells which fight off infections and diseases, strengthening your immunity system. Furthermore, sprouts have anti-ageing properties, cheers to looking years younger than your actual age!

Spinach in the form of palak paneer, as stir-fried with other veggies, with pasta, or in a soup, is a rich source of iron, vitamins, and antioxidants. 

Garlic is rich in sulphur and selenium which have amazing immunity-boosting properties. There’s nothing better than having a couple of raw garlic cloves every morning. The use of garlic and ginger in your daily cuisine is highly recommended to strengthen your immune system.

Seeds and nuts are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Watermelon seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, walnuts, pistachio, cashew can be incorporated in your diet in the form of granola bars, or dessert accompaniments, or snacks.

Expert advice:

Nutritionist Kavita Devgan suggests one must soak in the sun daily in the morning for about 30 minutes for some vitamin D and E, or have supplements to suffice those, as prescribed by a doctor. “Drink a lot of water… even slight dehydration can shoot down our immunity. Drinking enough water is as important as having the right amount of food,” she says.

Kavita also suggests one to have enough protein in their diet as the body needs amino acids to build immunity on a sustainable basis. While some speculations of meats being a plausible cause of spreading the virus are making many avoid consumption, Kavita says there’s no truth in that, as long as you are source your meat right, and clean and cook it well. 

“Vegetarians should be more cautious in the combination of foods to get a good source of protein. We often miss out bitter foods, they are needed to cleanse out your body. We need that cleaning now to make sure our stomach is up to the mark to keep our immunity up. Try and eat bitter gourd at least twice a week,” recommends Kavita also stressing on the importance of dairy products in our diet.

Now that you know what all dishes you can prepare comment below on the dishes you already knew of and have been making lately to boost your immune system.

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