No kale or goji berries in your supermarket? Buy local superfoods during the lockdown
The superfoods of 2020 may be Goji berries, arugula and watermelon seeds, but if they are not available in your local market, don’t worry. Our nutritionist offers local superfood options that are just as good
I don’t know if the lockdown has been challenging for you, but for me, it’s been very challenging getting the right groceries. Most of us have realised that we cannot always depend on the same foods, nor should you do so. The best way to be is to go with the flow and make the best of any situation.
A superfood is something that is nutrient dense and contains many more nutrients than other foods.
What would you call a superfood during these times? I would look at this in two ways and both are relevant. The first aspect during a pandemic is that a superfood should be ‘immune supportive’. Secondly, it should be easily available and locally sourced.
Here are some of our simple local superfood superstars…
Carrots have a ton of immune boosting compounds. They contain beta carotene which can convert to retinol, the more active form of vitamin A in most bodies. They help your liver detoxify better, which is critical to whether you are less or more sensitive to a virus.
Carrots are rich in many vitamins and minerals such as B6, E, K, potassium, magnesium and iron. They also contain specific phytonutrients flavonoids, carotenoids, lycopene and lutein. The easily-available carrot is completely immune system supportive!
If your skin turns orange when you consume carrots, it either means that you have consumed a lot or that your body is unable to convert beta carotene to retinol.
Ginger is the long-celebrated spice that Indians have used for ages! It has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help your cells recover from damage.
In the conversion of food to energy within the cells, the metabolic byproduct called free radicals causes your cells to die. Cellular health, therefore, plays a key role in how your body is susceptible to a virus and also how you have the potential to recover from any pathogenic exposure. Antioxidants fight cellular damage and allow your cells to recover, rather than allow them to sit in their own metabolic waste.
Beets contain antioxidants that help in cellular function. They also contain proanthocyanidins which are powerful compounds that protect you from inflammation and infections. The betaine that beets contain are anti-inflammatory and also support digestive health and optimal detoxification.
Beets contain vitamin C, which is an immune system superstar and folate, manganese and potassium. Supporting your liver health and aiming at better detoxification with beets can reduce your susceptibility to a virus. Remember that infections and viruses are all around, but some people are more susceptible to them, and some are less. The difference lies within the state of many systems in your body.
Garlic is antimicrobial and can protect you from many potential infections. It contains allium and has been used successfully by many people all over the world as it acts as an antimicrobial in recurrent and chronic infections.
In fact, some people who did not find relief with antibiotics in frequent gut infections, found relief just by taking garlic extracts. Garlic is also easily available and is just not used as much as it should be.
If you suffer from frequent fungal infections, this indicates that you have a higher susceptibility towards virus attacks. Have you consciously removed garlic for some reason and noticed a tendency towards infections? If so, add it back to your diet, and you may notice an improvement in your health.
Who doesn’t love onions or have fairly easy access to them? The humble onion contains potent amounts of quercetin. Quercetin regulates inflammation in the body. It is a histamine blocker and allergy-protective. Onions also offer powerful antibiotic action.
The sulphur in onions are helpful in liver detoxification. It also contains inulin which is a fibre that encourages healthy bacteria in the gut. The gut is central to immunity since 70% of your immune system is situated right there within your gut! To benefit from its medicinal value, onions are best consumed raw. Adding some onions every day, might be helpful in keeping the doctor away!
So, even when you do not have access to fancy ingredients and well-known superfoods, you will always have access to our local superstar superfoods. The difference lies in whether you believe you can use food as medicine and whether you know that certain foods can truly protect you.
(Edited by Asha Chowdary)
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