The Importance of Fruits and Vegetables During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge that has affected our daily lives in many ways. Our daily habits have been largely influenced by the necessary precautions needed to keep the virus away. While social distancing, maintaining proper hygiene and taking other preventive measures, it is equally important to strengthen the body’s defense system.

Aside from coronavirus, we are exposed to harmful germs every day. However, our immune system acts as a defense when these harmful microorganisms invade our bodies. Because optimal nutrition and dietary nutrient intake have a huge influence on the immune system, eating healthy is the only sustainable way to stay healthy during this pandemic. This article looks at the benefits of a plant-based diet to your immune system during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Foods That Fight Back: 5 Colors of Plant Foods that Boost Immunity

Color in fruits and vegetables indicates the presence of antioxidants and micronutrients, which are helpful to your body’s immune system. Typically, the more colorful your meals are, the health benefits they provide. Don’t forget herbs and natural spices, these condiments do not only add flavor to your food but also contain antioxidants and natural antiviral properties. Here are 5 colors of immune system-boosting plant foods and herbs that strengthen your defense.

Red and Orange Foods

Red and orange plant foods contain a variety of antioxidants that support immune cell functions. Antioxidants interact with the free radicals in your body and prevent them from causing damage. Red bell peppers, berries, and cherries contain natural antioxidants like beta carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E. anthocyanins, and flavonoid compounds. Tomatoes contain a compound called lycopene. Lycopene is known to enhance antioxidant enzyme activities and immunity function. Lastly, orange fruit is a good source of vitamin C, a nutrient that boosts your immune system and keeps your skin looking young.

Dark Green Foods

Greens are one of the best foods for your health. Dark leafy greens are vital to a fully functioning immune system. They contain chemical compounds that enable the immune cells in your gut and skin known as intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs), to function properly. Also, sulforaphane, a plant component found in green vegetables such as broccoli, activates antioxidant genes and enzymes in our immune cells, restoring your body's ability to combat free radicals and eliminate toxins.

White Foods

The absence of bright colors in this group of fruits and vegetables does not depict a lack of nutrients. Potatoes, cauliflowers, turnips, onions, parsnips, white corn, kohlrabi, mushrooms, and garlic all contain a significant amount of immune-boosting nutrients. White potatoes, although high in fiber, also contain a good amount of Vitamin C. Cauliflower is known for its anti-inflammatory effects that may boost immune health. Garlic and onion have natural antimicrobial properties, which means they can help fight against infection. A high quantity of sulfur-containing chemicals, known as allicin, gives alliums their immune-boosting qualities.

Blue/Purple Foods

Blue and purple pigmented foods contain a high amount of immune-boosting properties. In this category, we have blueberries, blackberries, concord grapes, blue tomatoes, eggplant, and concord grapes. Anthocyanin, a flavonoid found in blueberries, has antioxidant properties that can help enhance your immune system. Flavonoids are also vital to the immune defense mechanism of the respiratory tract. Eggplant contains chlorogenic acid which has antiviral and antibacterial properties known to boost immunity. Concord grapes are high in vitamin C and polyphenols, two nutrients that may help to support a healthy immune system.

Yellow Foods

Yellow-colored foods such as Yellow Corn, Papaya, pineapple, starfruits, yellow peppers, and pumpkin are rich in carotenoids and bioflavonoids. When combined with antioxidants, these compounds help to keep illnesses at bay. They also help reduce inflammation by limiting damages caused by free radicals. Yellow corn might contain beta-carotene, which forms vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is good for the skin and mucous membranes, and it also helps the immune system. Starfruit, papaya, pineapple, and yellow peppers are loaded with Vitamin C and antioxidants that improve immune function.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Immune System During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Now more than ever, it is essential to achieve and maintain a healthy nutritional status to combat the virus. However, aside from eating healthy, other habits contribute to a healthy immune system. Here are some other useful habits that can help maintain a healthy immune system during the pandemic.

  • Increase fruits and vegetable intake
  • Replace processed foods with whole grains, legumes, and fresh foods
  • Wash fresh produce thoroughly before consumption
  • Limit intake of sugary and fatty foods
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Include physical exercise in your daily routine
  • Drink enough water
  • Limit alcohol intake

Bottom Line

Even with the existence of vaccines, the Covid-19 pandemic has continued to alter the lives of millions of people around the globe. Amid these changes, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating the right kind of food in the right portions is crucial for your health. While no foods or dietary supplements have been proven to prevent covid-19, a healthy diet can assist in ensuring that the body is in the best possible condition to fight the virus. Don’t forget to exercise regularly and take proper rest to keep your body and mind in great shape.