WHEN it comes to protecting yourself from COVID-19, a strong immune system is like having a good insurance plan. While staying at home and practicing hygiene is a must, being smart with your food choices and keeping a healthy diet gives your body the edge it needs to fight the disease.
Produced by Unilab’s natural products company, Synnovate Pharma Corp., Sekaya is a brand that’s committed to prescribing nature by doing scientific research to develop pharma-grade health products such as food supplements and botanic infusions – all of which are from plant-based ingredients that have long been backed by tradition and undergone exacting measures to ensure purity and potency. With a mission to educate and help Filipinos come up with informed decisions about the food they consume, Sekaya underlines that there’s no better source of immune system boosters than natural foods.
Dr. Oyie Balburias, who takes a holistic approach to wellness as one of the functional medicine pioneers in the Philippines, further explains that eating nutrient rich foods is vital in making sure the immune system functions properly. “A healthy immune system will be able to perform its role of defending and repairing our body,” he says.
Here are immunity-boosting foods that Dr. Balburias recommends for your next trip to the grocery to protect you and your household in these uncertain times.
Fruits and leafy greens. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a superhero when it comes to boosting the immune system. Because ascorbic acid inhibits NLRP3 inflammasome activation, clinical trials have found that Vitamin C shortens the frequency, duration and severity of the common cold and the incidence of pneumonia. Oranges, kiwi, strawberries, red bell peppers, broccoli, malunggay or moringa, and kale are rich in vitamin C, giving your body the antioxidants it needs to renew itself and fight free radicals, the molecules that damage the immune system. If you’re under stress, these foods are helpful in protecting your immune system from becoming susceptible to viruses.
Seafoods. Vitamin D is another must-have when living through a global pandemic. It helps activate your body’s immune system defenses with its anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties. Vitamin D is so important in immune function that low levels of this have been associated with increased susceptibility to infections, diseases, and immune-related disorders. You can find vitamin D in several kinds of seafood, particularly sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel or tanigue, halibut, and swordfish. Eggs, beans, avocado, and lettuce are also rich in vitamin D. However, there are studies that show that Vitamin D should be taken with caution and perhaps discontinued if you already have symptoms of infection.
Meats and nuts. Now is a better time to load up on your protein, because it promotes the growth of new cells. Protein has arginine, which is an amino acid that heals damaged tissues. So, make sure to include chicken, pork, and fish in your cart, as well as nuts, seeds, and legumes like monggo or mung beans, for plant-based sources.
Fermented fruits and veggies. Probiotics and prebiotics stimulate the immune system by inhibiting toxins and stopping bad bacteria from infesting your body. You can get your daily dose of probiotics from fermented vegetables or fruits like kimchi, kombucha, miso, natto and atchara or papaya relish, while prebiotic food sources include eggplant, asparagus, bananas, garlic, onions, and nuts.
“Let’s proactively find ways to support how our immune system can induce, enhance, suppress, regulate and if needed, strengthen its responses to viruses and infections,” Dr. Balburias says.