Boost immunity against XE variant with these summer foods

Apr 14, 2022 03:30 PM IST

Excessive heat in summer can also lead to fatigue, exhaustion, dehydration, indigestion, and lower our immunity. Here are summer foods that can help beat the heat.

Simmering summer and a possible XE wave have together heightened health risks requiring additional dose of immunity boosters. The latest Omicron strain is said to be most transmissible of all and while so far its symptoms are mild, we do not know enough about it. The best way to prepare our immune system against diseases, seasonal infections, or heatwave is to adopt sustainable lifestyle changes and include different groups of foods as per the season. While there is an array of immunity-boosters available in the market, there is no substitue to a healthy lifestyle. (Also read: What is booster shot; can it help protect against XE variant? Experts answer FAQs)

Basil seeds to mangoes, here are the foods what you should have this summer season.(Pixabay)
Basil seeds to mangoes, here are the foods what you should have this summer season.(Pixabay)

"To boost immunity and stay fit, a sustainable lifestyle change is the need of the hour. It’s a must to have all the five food groups on your plate on a daily basis to fulfil the daily nutrient requirement. Failing to which, nutrient deficiencies can weaken the body’s optimum working and immunity," says Prachi Shah, Founder of Health Habitat, Consulting Nutritionist & Clinical Dietitian.

Our immune system is our body’s defence mechanism and tries to kill any outside antigen. Excessive heat in summer can also lead to fatigue, exhaustion, dehydration, indigestion, and lower our immunity.

Nutritionist Prachi Shah suggests summer foods that could help cool down the body, prevent from heat exhaustion, and boost the immunity.

Hydration: Water plays a vital role in flushing out the toxins and is known as the natural immunity fluid. Drinking at least 3 litres of water daily helps in smooth processes internally and keeps you well hydrated to avoid infections.

Probiotics: Foods like curd, sauerkraut, buttermilk etc will help with healthy gut which in turn will support your immune system.

Mangoes: The king of fruits is packed with antioxidants like Vitamin A, C & K which are known to ward off the infection and lower oxidative stress.

Basil seeds aka sabja seeds: As per studies, sabja seeds provides us with vital minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron which are crucial for building strong immunity as they provide benefits with bone health, muscle function and red blood cell production.

Melons: Melons are the popular summer fruit which provide us with nutrients along with lots of hydration. It is light on stomach and the fibres contributes in the betterment of gut health. Rich in fibres, Vitamin C & B6 it fights the virus at the cellular level and keeps the body away from infections.

Dr. Meghana Pasi, Nutrition Consultant MyThali program, ArogyaWorld told us how to include seasonal fruits and vegetables to the diet.

* Let half your plate be vegetables and fruits considering they are major sources of fibers, micronutrients and minerals important to build immunity.

* Eat fruits and veggies which are in the season. Vegetables like bottlegourd, bittergourd, ladyfinger, amaranth, colocasia, mint are light on your tummy and have a cooling effect.

* Tomatoes offer extra protection from the sun as they contain lycopene which prevents sunburn. Cabbage, tomatoes and cucumbers contain lot of water to keep your body cool.

* Include a variety of seasonal and citrus fruits like papaya, mango, orange, strawberries, lemons, watermelon which are rich sources of Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, K, E, Folate, potassium, magnesium, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients which help in increasing resistance against diseases.

* Let a quarter of your plate be proteins. These help in building antibodies. Go for eggs, milk, paneer, pulses, fish, soyabean, dals and quinoa.

* Reduce the consumption of salt, sugar, refined foods and fried foods. These weaken the immunity and digestive system. Increase the intake of whole grains and complex carbs.

* Stay hydrated to regulate blood circulation, body temperature and flush out toxins. Drink enough water and include coconut water, lemonade, milk, buttermilk, juices in your meals. Avoid carbonated and caffeinated drinks.

Dr Pasi also gives tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle to boost immunity against XE variant and other infections.

• Healthy and balanced diet: Nutrition not only supplies building blocks for your immune system but also affects your gut microbiome. The gut microflora sets a communication link between your immune system and your brain.

• Physical activity: Yoga, meditation and exercise helps lower anxiety and stress. It releases a happy hormone serotonin that makes you feel better, increases your immune regulation and also decreases the inflammatory response by flushing out the pathogens.

Sleep: Research shows that good quality sleep of 7-9 hours helps to build immunity.

• Alcohol and smoking: Quitting these will help to boost immunity.

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