You are what you eat.
The ongoing pandemic has brought the significance of a strong immune system to spotlight. If your body is not strong enough to fight a pathogen like coronavirus, no medicine can help you. Unlike most people think, immunity is not a tough goal. Your immune system will be strong enough if you workout regularly and follow a balanced diet.
However, the lockdown has made it difficult to stick to your usual diet. Unfortunately, you cannot take a walk to the market whenever you want. You must stock up your refrigerator with healthy foods and avoid going out as much as possible. Foods like red bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, and papaya are great for boosting immunity. But they will not last more than a few days.
You need to look for foods that will not perish fast. Here are some such, easily available foods.
Who doesn't love a glass of cold lemon juice in the summer? Starting your day with lemon juice is great for your immunity too. Luckily, you can stock up enough lemons for a month. Lemons will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks. You need to put whole lemons in plastic bags and freeze them. After the first two weeks, they will be mushy when thawed. But it will not make a difference when you make lemonade. Lemons contain a good amount of zinc and it will enhance the immune system to fight infections.
Your gut health plays an important role in your body. It influences your mood and immune system. If the gut bacteria are not healthy, the digestion and absorption of nutrients may also suffer. Yoghurt is one of the favourite foods of gut bacteria. It is rich in probiotics, vitamins, calcium, and protein. A beneficial bacteria present in yoghurt called lactobacillus helps in fighting pathogens and strengthen the immune system.
Once you open a yoghurt container, it typically lasts a little over a week. If you are careful to keep out moisture and keep it in an airtight container, it may last for two weeks. However, you can buy more than one container of yoghurt and store it in the freezer. An unopened container of yoghurt will last in the freezer for about two months.
Green tea is known for its antioxidants - polyphenols. Some studies even suggest that these antioxidants can kill influenza viruses. If you hate the bitterness of green tea, chamomile green tea also promotes the immune system by detoxing and de-stressing the body and mind. When it comes to storing, you do not have to worry at all. Green tea will easily last for six months and retain its freshness. If you put them in an airtight container to keep the mould out, it will remain safe for up to a year as well.
Ginger is a potent food with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant properties. And keeping inflammation in check is one of the key aspects of a strong immune system. Some studies have suggested that ginger consumption will enhance the response of the immune system. Ginger can have a shelf life of up to six weeks if stored properly. Be careful while buying ginger and choose the freshest ones in the lot. Put them in a plastic bag and keep them in the refrigerator. If the ginger is not as fresh as you would like, it may perish close to four weeks.
Garlic is a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine. The reason is not only its flavour but a compound called alliin. This compound is responsible for the medicinal properties of garlic. It can keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. It can also fight infections and cold. However, peeled and chopped garlic will not last more than a few days in the refrigerator. An unpeeled clove will perish after 10 days. The key is to store whole bulbs. They will have a shelf life close to six months.
Turmeric is one of the most commonly used spices in Indian cuisine. And you do not have to worry about storing it at all. Keep out the moisture to avoid mould, and ground turmeric will have a shelf life of 3-4 years. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidants, and medicinal properties. Other than adding it to the dishes, you can consume it as turmeric milk and turmeric tea as well. Research suggests that it will boost the immune system and enhance antibody responses.
Dry nuts are one of the easiest things to store. Almonds will naturally last for about two years. You need to store it in an airtight container to safeguard from ants. Almonds contain a high amount of vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin E, iron, and protein in these nuts will help the immune system to function well. The body has a better chance of fighting the common cold, viral infections, and flu if you are regularly eating 4-5 almonds in a day. The skin of almonds contains potent chemicals (bioactive polyphenols, phenolic compounds, and hydroxybenzoic acids) which boost the immune system's response to pathogens.
The immune system needs a steady supply of selenium to repair cell damage and sunflower seeds are a great source of it. They are also rich in healthy fats which will nourish the skin and strengthen the barrier. The antioxidant properties of sunflower seeds will prevent free radical damage too. However, you should not eat too many of them. Sunflower seeds contain cadmium, a heavy metal that can harm kidneys. Hence, you should only eat sunflower seeds only a few times a month. If stored at room temperature, they will last for about three months.
Wheat germ is known for its nutrient profile and it can be added to granolas, cereals, and bread. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, zinc, and protein. The dietary fibre will keep your gut clean and keep the body healthy. If stored properly, wheat germ will last for two months in the refrigerator. Lower freezer shelf, where it is consistently cold, is the best place for wheat germ.