How to boost your immunity

To keep the body in good health is a duty…. otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and
clear.” — Buddha

In the time of global pandemic, nations and individuals are fighting with COVID-19 and taking procurement measures to protect themselves from the Corona Virus. Food Safety and Standard Authority of India(FSSAI) recommends some foods which are rich in Vitamin-C in its official Twitter handle to boost immunity and keep the virus away. Those recommended foods are Indian gooseberries (amla), oranges, papaya, capsicum, guava and lemon.

How Vitamin-C can help us to boost our immunity

Like all Vitamins, Vitamin-C (also known as ascorbic acid) is also important for the body. It is water- soluble vitamin which means it dissolves in water. Due to this particular trait, if you consume too much Vitamin-C it won’t make any difficulty in terms of digestion or some other side-effects, the extra vitamin will be released and will come  out of the human body through sweat and urine.

Apart from boosting immunity, Vitamin-C also helps to repair and maintain skin, hair, bones and teeth. It also helps in the growth and repair of tissues and blood vessels. Some studies have found that taking high doses of Vitamin-C(taking regularly vitamin-C supplements) may decrease the length of the day of cold symptoms. It helps the body to absorb more iron from foods. The white blood cells that fight against illness-causing bacterias and viruses and protect us, is produced and functions with the help of Vitamin-C. it helps to heal wounds quickly, open wounds have more possibility that it will be infected by bacterias but with the help of Vitamin-C, it heals quickly and reduces the possibility to get infected.

Foods rich in Vitamin-C

1. Amla(Indian gooseberry) – There are many types of gooseberries in the world but Indian gooseberries are very beneficial to human health. Amla has 20 times more Vitamin-C than orange and it is considered the most powerful natural antioxidant on earth. Along with immunity boosting, it helps in digestion, hair growth and lowers the cholesterol etc. The nutritional value of 100g of edible amla is: 58 kcals, 82 percent water, no fat, 3 g of fiber, 14 grams carbohydrates, 50 mg calcium, 20 mg phosphorous, 1.2 mg iron, .03 mg thiamin (B1), .01 mg riboflavin (B2), .01 mg niacin (B3), 600 mg vitamin C.

2. Oranges – 100g of oranges have around 60mg of Vitamin-C, and an adult needs 90mg of Vitamin-C per day. Along with being rich in Vitamin-C, it also has beta-carotene which is used to make Vitamin-A in the body and helps us to see in low light. Citrus limonoids — a compound found in oranges — helps to fight with different types of cancer.

3. Papaya – It originated in Mexico but now found all over the world and is available most of the time in the year. Papayas have antioxidants which help to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are created during the metabolic  process in the body, these free radicals can lead to disease if our body has a lack of antioxidants.

4. Capsicum– Cultivated all the year and is cheaper than those which are seasonal because when the season goes out those food have less supply and price increases. Fortunately, capsicums are available all year, during summer it is cultivated in the northern region of India and during winter in the southern region of India. Capsicums are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Manganese, and Potassium etc. It is to be noted that red capsicum has more Vitamin-C and Vitamin-A than green capsicum. It is used as a vegetable but botanically it is a fruit and can be eaten raw.

5. Guava – If we compare guava to any other fruits in terms of nutritional value and health benefits then guava is far away. Guava can reduce blood pressure, helps in digestion and to absorb more nutrition from foods. Guava maintains blood sugar level by preventing it to increase. It is a good source of fiber, calcium, magnesium and vitamin-c.

6. Lemon – A lemon has 8% of citric acid of its weight. This citric acid can change the flavour of any food when added and this is the main reason for squeezing lemon in foods. Apart from adding flavour, lemon has some health benefits too. Lemon juice(citric acid) can help to clear out toxins from the body, prevent to making kidney stones. 100g of lemons have 53mg of Vitamin-C which help to boost immunity and make skin tone brighter.

What Ayurveda says about the immunity boosting
When we look at the etymology of the word Ayurveda it comes from two Sanskrit words Ayus- life, and Veda knowledge/science. So Ayurveda means Life Science or Science of Life. Ayurveda’s extensive knowledge base on preventive care derives from the concepts of Dinacharya – daily regimes and Ritucharya – seasonal regimes to maintain a healthy life. Ayurveda incorporated in Atharvaveda mentions many spices that boost our immunity and we should include it in our daily diet. They are as follow – Tulsi(Basil), Black pepper, Long pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Dry ginger, Turmeric, Cumin, Mint, Caraway seeds, Clove etc. We can use these spices in decoction and our daily diet.

Some other things are also mentioned to boost our immunity like eating Amla, Chyavanprash, Honey,
Ghee and doing yoga, pranayama, meditation which can help us remain mentally balanced.