Tackling COVID-19: Immunity Boosting


The COVID-19 pandemic is looming large over the world’s 7.7 billion population since December 2019 and we are still not sure how to tackle it. Countries all over the world are conducting research on the virus, its symptoms and methods of cure and the findings are tested from time to time but the spread of the disease is very fast and the loss of life is very high. Nobody knows when they are going to be affected and what will be their fate will they be cured or not. Modern medicine has been not been able to assure a cure until now about six months since the onset. But it has been proved beyond doubt that a healthy body with a strong immune system will be able to tackle the virus effectively. The severity of the disease has brought about mandatory restrictions on human movement and social distancing along with stay at home rules are in force. Wearing a mask and carrying hand sanitisers has become a part of our outdoor paraphernalia. Our lifestyle is changing, our priorities are getting modified, our relationships are getting rectified, our love for our family is increasing, our concern for others is expanding and we human beings are learning to behave ourselves keeping the interests of other living things on this planet. Without human intervention Nature is taking its time to return to normal and it is high time we realised our responsibility towards it and worked to improve it further. So we have to return to nature and adopt natural methods in all aspects of our life and since we are now facing COVID-19 we can analyse how nature will help us surmount this hurdle.

How do we remain Healthy naturally?

First of all we have to look at our eating habits and change them for the better. The lock down is the best time to develop and maintain good habits as we do not have much work to do other than maintaining a proper schedule of our activities at home. Some may work from home but that too is left to our choice as to when we want to work. therefore it will be easy for us to plan and execute our revised lifestyle in nature’s way.

Our food is important

What to eat and when to eat?

A few tips are listed about what to eat and when with a few recipes of healthy and natural diets that can boost our immunity. First of all food has to be eaten regularly atleast at an interval of 4-5 hours during the day. It should include three meals and one snack. Of the three meals breakfast should be taken within 1 to 2 hours of waking up as the body has starved through the night and going hungry over a long period of time is not advisable except when fasting.

What should we eat?

As far as possible cooked food that is balanced and healthy

A heavy breakfast with bread, butter, cheese and eggs with muesli or idli, vada, dosa with sambar and chutney preferably made at home. Breakfast can also be chappathis, rotis, pooris or Parathas with dal. Any of these combinations is good for breakfast along with some beverage like tea, coffee or cocoa which is a source of anti-oxidants.

Lunch can be simple fish and chips, or a sandwich or a bread roll or an apple pie or rice /Chawal with some vegetable or some meat or chicken. In some cases boiled vegetables with some pepper and salt can also be a menu for lunch. Whatever we eat the quantity is important and over-eating does not help. During Lunch it is better to eat a lot of vegetables along with some meat and lesser quantity of carbohydrates. Vegans can substitute pulses for meat and can add curd/yoghurt to the menu. Millets like fingermillet (ragi), pearlmillet (bajra), foxtail millet (kangni/thinai), Sorghum (jowar), barnyard millet (kuthiravaali), Kodomillet (Paspalum scorbiculatum), little millet (Saamai) and Proso millet (Varagu) can be used instead of the normal staples like rice and wheat.

Dinner can be chappathi/roti bread or even some fruits only but Dinner to be taken two hours before going to sleep atleast by 8 or 9 pm. Late dinners are harmful to health and cause sleep disturbances and so cause heart disease.

Between breakfast and lunch, it is advisable to take a cup of cut fruits (mango, pineapple, apple, peaches, plums, litchis, pears, watermelon, musk melon, banana and so on but for diabetics apples, pears, guava, papaya and banana can be used) A few drops of honey a pinch of salt and a half a teaspoon of pepper powder sprinkled over the cut fruits makes it tastier and healthier. Otherwise a healthy soup can be taken that can be made out of vegetables and/or meat and a special form of this soup is called rasam in Tamilnadu.

Between Lunch and Dinner a small snack can be taken in the form of some boiled and salted pulses, roasted and salted peanuts or almonds, kozhukkattai or momos like snack, porridge made of some millet that is locally available along with some lemon tea or chai or coffee. This could be the schedule of eating but the menu could be varied based on the options given. Porridges, soups and teas are of different types that are simple and easy to prepare and are special for the COVID-19 crisis as these are able to boost the immunity

The key ingredients to be added to our diet as immuntiy boosters are:

Turmeric – to be added in the food we cook -vegetables, meat, fish eggs and in some teas and soups

Pepper – to be added to salads, meat and eggs and in some soups

Cloves – to be chewed for best effect and can also be added to the food we cook

Cinnamon – can be added to the food as well as used as an ingredient in teas and soups

Ginger -to added to salads for flavour but can be used in soups and teas

Cumin seeds -can be used in cooking for sauteing and also in soups and teas.

These are the natural food sources that are available for our consumption that can bestow us with a natural immune power to combat COVID-19. Therefore food as medicine will go a long way in providing us the much needed immunity boost.

Dr. Mujeera Fathima

Dr. Mujeera Fathima

Dedicated, Passionate teacher and Associate Professor of Botany specializing in Plant Physiology and Plant Anatomy with research interest in Ethnobotany and Traditional knowledge possessing a teaching experience of 28 years.

About Me

Dr. Mujeera Fathima

Dedicated, Passionate teacher and Associate Professor of Botany specializing in Plant Physiology and Plant Anatomy with research interest in Ethnobotany and Traditional knowledge possessing a teaching experience of 28 years. Officiated as one of the co-authors of the XI standard Botany and Bio-Botany textbook (2005) and XI standard Botany and Bio-Botany textbook (2015) as Domain expert for Tamilnadu State Higher Secondary Board of Education. A certified soft skills trainer and counselor holding a Doctorate in Botany and a M.Sc. in Psychology