We won’t be coming out of this pandemic the same way. This I know for sure.
The formidable foe that is COVID-19 – the disease caused by the novel coronavirus – constantly has us worrying about our health and of those important to us. While the lethal virus maintains the pace of its infectious spread, many of us have been forced into a corner at our wits’ end figuring out how to get through this quarantine as alive and well as possible. Health, in its most holistic sense, has never been more prioritized in recent decades than it has been today.
As essential workers bravely fight in the frontlines, it is an equally important task for us who are at home in quarantine to boost our immune systems and avoid getting infected. Because as much as we put in efforts to heighten outward protection against the coronavirus, it is as crucial to amp up our inward defenses against it.
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How then, do you boost your immune system?
Well, one of the methods is through your diet. So while you’re keeping your grocery store runs short to lessen exposure, make sure that your shopping cart has only the most essential food items to not just feed your body, but to keep it protected from the virus as much as possible, too.
For easy reference, here are some common food items which you can find in your typical grocery store that are also rich in immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals:
1. Oats and Grains
These would be your wheat and oatmeal like Quaker Oats – which are natural sources of the immunity-boosting mineral, iron. This mineral found in oats is vital to the oxygenation of red blood cells, and more importantly, aiding in the production of white blood cells – the body’s internal defense mechanism against viruses and bacteria.
As an essential nutrient, iron is not naturally produced by the body and can only be obtained through your diet. Poor nutrition can easily lead to iron deficiency, compromising the immune system. During this precarious pandemic, a compromised immune system can prove to be fatal. Having Quaker Oats as part of your daily quarantine diet can help you to avoid this deficiency and protect yourself against infection better.
In addition to iron, Quaker Oats is also a good source of other immunity-augmenting minerals such as selenium and zinc. Vitamins such as B vitamin folate, is also contained in the oats.
2. Citrus Fruits
Known to be one of the best sources of vitamin C, citrus fruits like oranges are a good must-have in your lockdown diet. Citrus fruits are also a good source of fiber that aids in digestion, carbohydrates for energy, and other minerals that aid in a number of normal bodily functions.
Make sure to count in your oranges, grapefruits, mangoes, and other fruits to your shopping cart and consume them fresh, and as unprocessed as possible, so as to avoid degradation and loss of the nutrients in them.
3. Green Leafy Vegetables
On top of giving you a power and energy boost, green leafy vegetables also help to fortify your defenses. They are abundant in vitamin C and vitamin K, and minerals such as iron and calcium. As vitamin C and iron have been established for their importance to our immune system, calcium, and vitamin K, on the other hand, help maintain the structural integrity of bones and skin through wound-healing, respectively.
Some green leafy vegetables that are abundant in these nutrients, and available in your typical grocery stores are your cabbages, lettuce, bok choy, and spinach.
4. Seafood and Dairy Products
Apart from being good and natural sources of protein, fish, and dairy products also contain vitamins A and D – nutrients that benefit the immunological functions of the body. Some seafood which you can add to your diet that’s readily available in your local supermarkets are sardines and shrimp. Add in your typical dairy products like egg and fortified milk to your shopping cart as well, to get your dose of these immunity-boosting vitamins.
“Eat or drink your vitamins and minerals” is a marching order often barked by fitness and nutrition coaches, and you’ll find that many nutritional scientists will agree to that, not only for health but for economic reasons as well. Because on top of the ease of absorption, getting your daily allowances of these vitamins and minerals through food is also more practical.
An additional tip to boost your immune system is to make sure you get food items that are rich in not just one, but a combination of the nutrients stated above. For example, Quaker Oats is already packed with iron, folate, selenium, and zinc, and is a meal that’s easy to fix up. For breakfast, you can couple it with oranges and eggs to get other nutrients like vitamins A, C, and D.
But if you’re not a fan of the traditional way of boiling oatmeal and eating it like porridge, you can prepare it as overnight oats, for a deliciously nutrient-packed morning or afternoon snack.