As we embrace the rainy season in the midst of global climate change, I would like to share with you the secret to best “foodscription” that may help strengthen your immune system, while becoming a steward of the environment.
During the rainy season, our immune system is generally compromised by disease-causing viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Hence, we must strengthen our immune system. It is our defense system against both external and internal threats, and likewise plays a role in overseeing the repair of tissues injured by wounds or certain disease.
Here are the best food for you this rainy season:
Fresh fruit and juices, decaffeinated drink, and lots of water
Pinggang Pinoy, developed by the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute, recommends taking five to 12 glasses of water, depending on age, plus one glass of milk daily. Other fluid source must be decaffeinated because caffeine is dehydrating. Always keep yourself hydrated by bringing reusable tumbler with you.
Citrus fruits and juices are naturally rich in vitamin C, which functions as an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory to help dry up a runny nose. Choose organically farmed and in-season fruits because generally, these are the most sustainable food choices. Local farm-outsourced produce has lesser carbon footprint than imported ones.
During the episode of sore throat, you may sip your water infused with lemon and honey. Honey will coat your throat and lemon may help shrink swollen tissue and kill off viruses. Relieve sore throat by gargling warm saltwater solution to clear away dead white blood cells and improve blood flow. Meanwhile, squirting saltwater solution through the nose may help clear out the nasal mucus.
Garlic, which is a basic ingredient in cooking, contains compounds that act as powerful natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents. Outsource your garlic from local farm or market and create delightful dishes with minimal cooking to preserve its natural antibiotic allicin substance. You may also support our local farmers by purchasing from them during your domestic travel or even online.
Chicken soup is actually a centuries-old home remedy and hailed as grandma’s secret weapon. This is not just an old tale. Experts believe that a bowl of chicken soup may reduce inflammation of the lungs as it slows down the activity of white blood cells causing the inflammation.
Studies showed that its beta ionone compound has anticancer properties. It was also found out that ginger is an effective antidote to nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness. Sipping flat ginger ale may help alleviate food poisoning and gastroenteritis. Meanwhile, a comforting way to relieve congestion of cold and chills is by creating your own ginger tea.
Spices and spicy condiments
In Ayurveda, a traditional Indian medicine, the combination of cinnamon, coriander, and ginger promote sweating and generally help in alleviating fever. Other spices and condiments that may help you unclog your stuffy nose include chilli, cayenne pepper, horseradish, or wasabi. They contain natural substance that help shrink the blood vessels in your nose and throat and temporarily relieve congestion and drain your nose.
To stimulate good digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food and drink, you must consider also the beneficial bacteria called probiotics. They may be obtained from the consumption of fermented foods such as yogurt with live cultures of strains of lactobacillus or bifidobacteria.
Always bear in mind that the right diet and food choice is critical to a strong immune system. In today’s era of instant and processed food, we must go back to basics and live to the dictum of Hippocrates who once said, “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.”
Teddy S. Manansala is a full-time faculty member of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management, a registered nutritionist-dietitian, culinary food scientist-artist, and a PCHRD-DOST scholar.