COVID-19: Experts say these fruits, vegetables boost immunity

Experts have identified some fruits and veggies rich in vitamin C, which can help boost immunity and  strengthen  the body’s resistance against diseases.

 

Citrus fruits

Common citrus fruits are grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, clementines. These fruits contain daily required amount of vitamin C for good health. A consultant nephrologist and renal transplant physician, Dr Fagboyega Faponle, at the Zenith Hospital, Abuja, in a British Broadcasating Corporation report noted that citrus fruits like oranges are immune boosters to safeguard against diseases.

A dietician in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, United States of America, Melissa Majumdar, stated that consumption of 200 milligrammes of vitamin C from a combination of foods such as oranges, grape fruits, and strawberries may slightly reduce the duration of cold symptoms.

“Vitamin C increases blood levels of antibodies and helps to differentiate white blood cells, which help the body determine what kind of protection is needed,” Majumdar explained.

According to a food scientist, H.K  Bakhru “ Orange is a rich source of protective food ingredients like vitamins A, B, C and calcium. Its vitamin C content helps the body tissues to use the calcium contained in the food.”

Bakhru declared that eating orange often can prevent frequent attacks of common cold, influenza and bleeding tendencies.

“It keeps one healthy and strong and contributes towards longetivity. Orange juice, among all the fruit juices, is more suitable for all ages and can be given with advantages in all kinds of diseases,” he said.

 

Red bell pepper

Red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits. Apart from boosting the immune system, they may help maintain healthy skin.

Recent studies show that one medium-sized red bell pepper provides 169 per cent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C; thereby making it one of the richest dietary sources of vitamin C. Red bell peppers are also rich in Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, vitamin E and Vitamin A.

A medical expert, Dr Josh Axe, explains that red bell peppers have high concentration of antioxidants and that they provide more than twice the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and three quarter of recommended vitamin A.

“Bell pepper nutrition lists a large number of carotenoids, plant-based anti-oxidants that help reduce the damage that oxidation causes to cells. Its red variety contains very high quantities of beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, and eating foods high in carotenoids has been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer,”he explained.

 

Garlic

Experts say that garlic has been proven effective in the fight against infections. The National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health reveals that garlic may also help reduce blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries.

Khnoum Khoufouf who was among the first to recognize the nutritional benefits of garlic had recommended it for his workers. He urged them to take it every day for the maintenance of their health.

History also records that the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, between 460 and 357BC recommended the use of this vegetable for the treatment of infectious diseases and prescribed it also in intestinal disorder anomalies.

An analysis of garlic shows it contains high percentage of minerals and vitamins. It also contains iodine, sulphur and chlorine.

 

Ginger

Ginger contains about 6mg of vitamin C, Calcium-20mg, phosphorus-60mg, Iron-2.6mg and a small amount of vitamin B complex. Ginger is available in two forms, fresh and dried. Experts say that both the forms contain effective food value. It is also very useful for disorders of the digestive system.

A recent research in animals reveals that ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. It is also useful in reducing chronic pain and may possess cholesterol-lowering properties.

 

Onions

One cup of chopped onions also provide at least 13.11 per cent of an adult’s recommended daily intake of vitamin C and as an anti-oxidant. This vitamin helps counter the formation of free radical compounds that have been linked to cancer. A 2019 review found that quercertin, a compound in onion skin, had links to lower blood pressure when the researchers extracted it and administered it as a supplement.

H.K Bakru said that onion is highly valued for its therapeutic properties. He stated that they are stimulant, diuretic, expectorant and rubefacient.

“The white onion is preferable to the red and yellow varieties. Onions should be taken with meals preferably raw as fried or cooked ones are comparatively difficult to digest.

 

Pawpaw

According to a study conducted in the University of Alabama, 200mg of vitamin C can help regulate the flow of stress hormones in rats. Therefore, pawpaw can help ease off stress.

Pawpaw is rich in fibre, vitamin C and anti-oxidants which prevent cholesterol build up in arteries, because accumulation of cholesterol can lead to several heart diseases including heart attack and hypertension. Studies reveal that a single pawpaw contains more than 200 per cent of the daily requirement of vitamin C, which is excellent for boosting the immunity. It is also a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients and flavonoids that prevent the cells from undergoing free radical damage. Studies have also linked the consumption of pawpaw to reduced risk of colon and prostate cancer.

 

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