Jul 19, 2021

The world is currently experiencing the pandemic of Coronavirus (CoV). As we are now facing the second wave of Covid-19, it’s high time that we re-focus on our diet and also on our immunity. With so many people falling ill from the coronavirus, unhealthy diets are contributing to pre-existing conditions that put them more at risk. This small virus has made us introspect the way we eat & live.

Diet is crucial to maintain immunity and keep diseases at bay. Optimal nutrition helps to strengthen the immune system (both adaptive & innate immunity) & promote early recovery. It is prudent to include a variety of foods on a regular basis to get the utmost benefit.

Vitamins (A, B, C, D, E) & Minerals such as (zinc, selenium, iron), Phytonutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids (proteins) are very important in building immunity & should be incorporated on a daily basis in the diet. No single food is recommended over another & Moreover “Variety is the key”.


Here are some sources of the important key nutrients: -

  1. Proteins: - It plays an important role in immunity. Also crucial for healing & recovery.  Some sources include: - dals, pulses, lean meats, fish, eggs and poultry, milk & milk products, soya, unsalted nuts & seeds.
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids: - Possesses antioxidant properties & enhances the function of immune cells. Sources include: - fishes like mackerel (Bangda), salmon (Rawas), Bombay duck (Bombil), Surmai, rani fish. Other sources include walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds.
  3. Vitamin A: - has anti-oxidant properties. Sources: - All yellow, orange, red colored fruits & vegetables. Sweet potato, carrots, spinach, mango, papaya, egg yolk, milk & milk products.
  4. Vitamin D: - reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines & helps in immunity. Sunlight exposure between 11am-1pm. Sources include milk & milk products.
  5. Vitamin E: - acts as an antioxidant & free radical scavenger & helps in reducing inflammation in the body. Sources include: - Sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds.
  6. All B-Complex vitamins serve a major role in building immunity, help in repairing the wear & tear in the body.
  7. Vitamin C: - most vital nutrient in building good immunity. Stimulates antibody formation, supports cellular functions, antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties. Sources include: - amla, guava, citrus fruits like (oranges, grapefruit), papaya, strawberries, raw mango, capsicum, lemon, green leafy vegetables, moringa leaves.
  8. Prebiotic & Probiotic foods: - 70% of our immune cells are in the gut. Probiotics are the “good bacteria” or beneficial “live micro-organisms” which help keep your gut heathy. Prebiotics serve as food for the good bacteria (probiotic). Both Prebiotics & Probiotics help in strengthening the immune system & increasing immune response. Probiotic sources:- fermented food products, curd. Prebiotic sources:- garlic, onion, banana, barley, oats, apples, flaxseeds, wheat bran
  9. Functional Foods like turmeric, ginger & garlic, spices like pepper, cinnamon, cloves etc. are beneficial as it has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antioxidant properties. It should be incorporated in the right amounts in the daily diet to reap its benefits.

    Some useful dietary and lifestyle guidelines: -

  10. Make healthy eating a lifestyle. Follow a healthy diet & make the right choices from available sources.
  11. Ensure that you consume a variety of foods. Prefer locally grown foods & seasonal fresh produce as it is loaded with goodness of nutrients.
  12. Say no to packet, preserved, processed foods.
  13. Choose traditional recipes & methods of preparation.
  14. Hydrate yourself well. Try including coconut water, unsalted buttermilk, sattu, lemon juice, veg soups etc. to increase fluid intake.
  15. Staying active is the key to staying fit. Exercising for at-least 30 mins daily will give you an endorphin boost & make you feel good.
  16. Get a good night sleep of 7-8 hours daily.
  17. Lastly, get vaccinated at the earliest. It’s another weapon to build immunity against covid.
  18. Don’t panic & Avoid taking Stress as it can weaken the immune system.

Just stay safe, wear your mask properly & practice social distancing. Relax, this phase too shall pass.




Ms. Aamatulla Y Kapasi

(Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, PGCND)

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