Eat to beat the pandemic

SALALAH: The Coronavirus pandemic has not only confined people in their homes, it has sent a strong message to eat healthy to beat the pandemic. By being at home they have to look for home solutions, which are not only handy, but also very effective in building body immunity and thus building a natural shield to get protected from the disease.

Researchers of all streams are working overtime to establish facts that can help beat the virus. A section of them are focusing on diet and suggesting people not to fall prey to Corona by including certain commonly found food ingredients to ensure that people don’t fall prey to Covid-19.

Dr Atiya Fatima
Dr Atiya Fatima

Dr Atiya Fatima has worked extensively on Medicinal Chemistry. She says, common food items are rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, which are powerful antioxidants. These commonly found food ingredients, according to her, are are a boon in boosting body immunity.

In an interview with Observer, Dr Atiya said it is a must to eat properly to beat the virus. As researcher she suggested to include garlic, ginger, turmeric, clove, cinnamon, walnut, strawberry, broccoli, yogurt, Vitamin D, and Zinc in daily diet to boost immune system.

“It’s also important to note that still no research has implicated specific food that can help fight against Covid-19 specifically. Also there isn’t any scientific evidence specifically relating immune system and Covid-19, but boosting our immune system could suffice us with ability to maintain our overall health,” she said.

“Garlic can be termed as a nutritional superstar with its therapeutic effects and immense nutritional benefits. It is packed with Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc. It has innumerable number of health benefits such as lowering of blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and warding of common cold. Allicin, a sulfur containing compound, adding to the smell and hot sensation of garlic has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Adding two or three raw garlic cloves to diet will not only boost your immunity but will relive you off stuffed nose and common cold.”

A relative of ginger, turmeric is very common in Asian cuisine. It contains a compound called ‘curcumin’ which is reported in several scientific researches to enhance immune system. It is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent providing several health benefits from fighting cancer, anti-diabetic, neuroprotection, anti-depressant, maintaining bone health and improving skin texture. It can be taken in the form of curry or along with milk which helps its absorption in the body.

Ginger, according to her, has been in use as a traditional medicine since long to treat flu and common cold.  It has compound called ‘gingerol’ which imparts its characteristic fragrance and flavour and is key bioactive compound. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound and imparts innumerable health benefits. It also has anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, neuroprotective, anti-bacterial effects. It can reduce menstrual pains. Lower cholesterol and helps in chronic indigestion.

“Clove is rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, manganese, calcium and magnesium. Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols. It contains sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin K and Vitamin A.”

It is important to take Vitamin D and Zinc either from their direct source in the form of supplement. Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D, while it is available also in Mushrooms, salmon, canned tuna, sardines and egg yolks are some the natural sources.

“Zinc is an essential mineral that regulates our immune system. It plays a major role in wound healing and required for sense of taste and smell. Deficiency of this mineral may lead to increased susceptibility towards common cold and flu. Our body has no specific storage system for zinc, which requires a daily intake of zinc to maintain a steady state. Foods which contain zinc are meat, nuts, sea food, beans, peas and yogurt,” she said.