One way to dispel your fear of swine flu is to boost your immunity. Here are some dietary tips to help you do that
Dr Jagmeet Madan
With the talk of H1N1 being in the air, everyone is talking about boosting one's immunity. The best way that you can improve your immunity is to eat healthy. Here are some tips and dietary recommendations that will help your boost your immunity.
The dietary do's to boost immunity includes:
Tips to increase antioxidant intake
Consume all the coloured vegetables and fruits, which are green, yellow, red, purple in colour. It will include all green leafy vegetables, red coloured tomatoes, green, yellow and red capsicum, beetroot, pomegranate, black grapes, papaya, oranges etc.
Increase intake of vitamin C
through inputs like amla juice, guava, and salads based on fresh lettuce, cabbage, capsicum and tomatoes, all the citrus juices like orange, sweet lime etc.
Get the lycopene, a powerful antioxidant from tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes, make a thick soup without straining or make a paste. Doing so improves the concentration and the availability of this antioxidant. Couple this with a dash of dietary fat for better absorption.
In your diet, as it is a smooth muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory agent. It plays an important role in maintaining the elasticity of the membrane lining the airways to cope better with respiratory problems like those caused by swine flu.
MINIMIZE EATING OUT AND OBSERVE COMPLETE HYGIENE:
In food handling and water. Do not inadequately thaw foods and keep them at room temperature for long time.
DE-STRESS THROUGH EXERCISE:
As stress is a big trigger of the inflammatory response of the body. Thus aerobic exercise of desired intensity, yoga, breathing and relaxation regimes can help not only to improve lung functioning but also boost your immunity. Get adequate sleep and rest.
INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN INTAKE:
vegetarians. Non-vegetarians can include egg whites, fishes, and lean meats at least three times a week.
REGULAR INTAKE OF NUTS: Indians as a whole lag behind in proteins by virtue of being vegetarians. Thus a conscious effort to increase the intake of milk, curds, paneer, cheese, soyabean flour or soya in textured form, variety of usals should become a daily part of the diet of the
Like walnuts, almonds, and oilseeds like flax seed powder, sesame (til seeds) in restricted amounts.
INCREASE INTAKE OF VEGETABLES AND FRUITS:
Three bowls of cooked (mildly) veggies in a dry form (not navratan kurma) and three fruits a day. Opt from one starchy – banana and two others like apple, pomegranate, guava, pear, citrus fruit or juices.
GET COARSE CEREALS:
As a part of your diet – opt for bajra, jowari, ragi, or a blend of wheat and soya, or wheat and chana, breakfast cereals based on oats, soya, or wheat.
GET OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS:
In your diet through flax seeds (One tablespoon flaxseed powder a day), walnuts, pulses like soya, black chana, chawli, urad whole, leafy vegetables like methi leaves, coarse flour like bajra, and fatty fishes.
INCREASE INTAKE OF ANTIOXIDANTS:
Like vitamin C, beta-carotene, Vitamin E, and minerals like zinc and selenium. These nutrients have a protective effect on the airway tissue as well as protect you from oxidative stress.
Tips to add magnesium
Sources rich in magnesium include: Coarse cereals like bajra, jowar, maize, ragi, wheat cracks etc. Pulses like whole chana, whole urad, chawli, math, rajmah, soybean, whole moong etc. Additional sources: Nuts and oilseeds like almond, cashew nut, garden cress seeds, walnuts Fruits like mango, plums Vegetables like radish pink, lotus stem.
GOING LOW ON SALT:
Can also be beneficial as it helps prevent triggering of respiratory distress. So go low on pickles, papads, ready-to-eat processed foods, bakery items, etc.
SELECT COOKING OIL HIGH IN MUFA AND OMEGA 3:
Opt from ricebran or groundnut oil for MUFA and soyabean or mustard for omega 3. Keep the total intake of oil between 500-750 gms per person per month depending on your weight.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES FOR CHILDREN:
Also need to be tailored on the same lines. Make each morsel your child takes nutritious and try incorporating healthy ingredients in food preparations which children like to consume. Opt for stuffed roti, a healthy burger, cutlet or pizza and healthy drinks like milkshakes, fruit lassi, buttermilk, or fruit juices.
Cold : One lemon along with a teaspoon of honey should be diluted in a glass of warm water and taken once or twice a day. Ginger tea, prepared by adding a few pieces of ginger into boiled water before adding the tea leaves, is an effective remedy for colds. It must be taken twice daily. Tamarind-pepper rasam is also considered an effective home remedy for a cold in SoutIndia. Dilute 50 mg tamarind in 250 ml of water. Boil the diluted tamarind water for a few minutes with a teaspoon of hot ghee and half a teaspoon of black pepper powder and drink it three times a day.
Bad throat : Gargle with a solution containing 1/2 teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water several times a day. Be careful with the quantity of salt as excess salt could further irritate your throat.
Fresh ginger can help soothe inflamed mucous membranes of the larynx. Try sucking on candied ginger if available or drink a cup of ginger tea.
Performing steam inhalation twice or thrice a day will help cure laryngitis.
Fever : A decoction made of about twelve grams of Tulsi leaves, boiled in half a liter of water, should be administered twice daily with half a cup of milk, one teaspoon of sugar and a quarter teaspoon of powdered cardamom will bring down the temperature.