For the world, 2020 was all about immunity. We had never dreamt about going through such trying medical and emotional conditions. It taught us that in some situations science and medical also fail to help us as spontaneously as our own immunity can.
From past two decades, our lifestyle, especially food habits, has evolved. This change, not necessarily all good, has mainly affected kids as they are the ones latching on to the trend of packaged comfort foods . Have you ever thought about what you had snacked on as a kid? For most of us, the meals were simple, seasonal, locally procured veggies and fruits. The cart of street vendors could easily detail out the oncoming season. At the beginning of autumn season the carts would be full of corn on the cob to strengthen our gut for seasonal changes and allergies. Once that would pass, the season of roasted peanuts, jaggery sweets, oranges would come to build our immunity further to fight the winter flu. Our kids are deprived of the science of eating the naturally available superfoods in particular seasons or rather not eating them at all. They are forgotten and sadly forgone.
The food we eat plays a key role in determining the overall health and immunity. Replacing carbs-heavy comfort-food with a good balance of nuts, grains, veggies and fruits adds Vitamin A, C, D, E which are high antioxidants and prepare body to fight . It gives body a condition of being able to resist a particular disease.
- Oranges: Kids should consume sufficient amount of vitamin C during growing years to support development of bones and teeth. Vitamin C keeps the immunity of the child high and safeguards from unwanted bugs and germs. Orange is great source of Vitamin C.
- Nuts: Full of Vitamin E, they are a great source of antioxidants that keep body healthy and disease free by neutralising free radicals and reducing inflammation. Study presents that some roasted nuts appear to have an increased antioxidant level compared with raw ones.
- Moringa: The flower of the Moringa tree can be cooked and added to gravy. It gives a taste like mushroom. The can also be brewed and enjoyed like hot tea (or cool drink with added flavours of lemon or honey). Hot tea is great way to feed kids added Vitamin C for immunity during the period of congestion, cold or coughs. Moringa leaves haves 7 times more Vitamin C than oranges, making it a super food for immunity.
- Curd: Yoghurt or curd helps to boost immunity mechanism. It has been proved that If you consume two cups of curd for five months everyday it will boost up the fighting capacity with infections in your blood by 5-6 times as compared to not eating curd. The good bacteria found in curd (fermented food) helps in building a stronger immune system. Kefir is also a great way of feeding gut friendly bacterias.
Mulberries (Shahatoot): They are colourful berries that are eaten both fresh and dried. They are a good source of Iron, Vitamin C, and several plant compounds. A single serving of mulberries can meet the daily requirement of vitamin C, keeping the immunity high and lower stress, anxiety. It is rich in antioxidants which reduces chances of infection too.
Jaggery and Sesame: As a natural sweetener, it is loaded with antioxidants and minerals like zinc which help prevent free radicals (responsible for weakenIng of body cells). It helps boost resistant against infections thereby building stronger immunity. Jaggery bar made with peanut and sesame are great for fighting winter flu. Sesame seeds are a good source of several nutrients crucial for immune system including zinc. Zinc works as a shield to protect the body from any virus attack.
- Turmeric: Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, offers therapeutic relief. It is a rich antioxidant which supports against body cell damage. It has found to delay or reverse diseases or age related decrease in body functions. Other good herbs are Shallaki, Brahmi, Ashwagandha, Licorice (Mulethi).
- Ghee: This cultured butter is high in vitamin A (good for eyes and immunity) and omega 3 and 6 (good for brains). It also portrays an excellent ratio of omega 3: omega 6 (1:4) making it a safer nutritious choice. Not many other commonly used oils have this ratio resulting in health damages.
- Papaya, Apple, Banana, Guava – Enriched with nutrients, Papaya is a lot more than a fibre rich fruit which has been used in medicinal science since ages. It is packed with immunity boosting Vitamin C and antioxidants. Other easy fruits to feed kids are Banana, Apple or Guava, one each of these can meet at least 50% Vitamin C requirement for the day making them ideal for immunity building.
- Garlic – Garlic contains compound called alliin that help the immune system fight germs. These compounds have been shown to boost the disease fighting response of the body when they encounter viruses of common cold or flu.