|By Joanne Kwok
Dietitian and Nutritionist
Many foods and food supplements such as green powders are often marketed as immune system boosters. More recently, claims about specific diets and foods like garlic and herbal teas to fight against COVID-19 have been rising. However, vaccines are in fact the only thing that will give us immunity. Whilst there is currently no evidence to support the use of remedies or foods to ‘boost’ your immune system, prevent or treat COVID-19, we can all still keep our immune systems healthy should we experience infections.
This starts with a healthy balanced diet, regular physical activity, and good sleep hygiene. There is no particular diet that is ‘best’ for your immune system. Instead, focus on avoiding processed foods, especially those that are high in salt, sugar, and fat. You may wish to use spices and herbs such as paprika powder, turmeric powder and fresh garden herbs to give your dish a boost of flavours instead of using salt.
An easy way to reduce sugar in our diet is to have less sugary drinks, including soft drinks, fruit juices and squash. Instead, try herbal teas and blends for example, lemongrass and ginger, peppermint or mixed fruit tea. Having a small cup of tea also helps us relax and unwind before bed. Valerian for example, has a calming effect so people who struggle with sleep may find it useful in reducing stress and anxiety. Chamomile contains apigenin (an antioxidant) which helps with relaxing our minds, thus improving sleep quality.
All in all, remember to eat a variety of foods as these give you nutrients that are needed in our bodies to fight against infections. Switching these up ensures that we are covered with the essentials. Including a variety of foods in our meals also keep us fuller for longer.