Sunday, March 8, 2020

What is an anti-viral diet?

Who isn’t talking about the coronavirus?  We just got back from the store and carts were loaded up with bottles of water and cleaning supplies.  But are there foods you can eat that are anti-viral foods?  How about boosting your immune system?  What foods should you be putting in your shopping cart?

MSN has a good article, “Coronavirus:  Anti-viral foods to build immunity and keep diseases away”.  There is even a short video to watch called, “Boosting Immunity to Prevent ‘Coronavirus’ Infection”.  What foods should you be putting in your shopping cart to boost your immunity?  

 1. Garlic – considered a “powerful anti-viral” food.  Easy to add some chopped garlic to food dishes.  
       2.  Resveratrol – you may have heard of resveratrol as an anti-aging agent.  But is also helps fight fungal infections, “stress, and injury”.  What foods provide resveratrol?  Quite a few including:

  •  Peanuts – I love to eat a handful of peanuts a day.  Dr. Oz recommends a handful of nuts and day and peanuts are usually my choice.
  • Blueberries – open our fridge and you will usually find blueberries.  My husband is boosting his immune system as he eats some blueberries every day for breakfast. I have started to put some on my morning oatmeal or other cereal or add them to a fruit cup for lunch.
  • Strawberries – not in season yet, but frozen strawberries would have the resveratrol.  Add some strawberries to a smoothie.
  • Grapes – a good source of resveratrol – especially the red or purple grapes.
  • Dark chocolate as cocoa has resveratrol.     
         3Vitamin C always a good addition to one’s diet to fight off any infections by boosting your immune system.  Low C levels means your body may have “problems with the immune system and other illnesses”. One of my daughters has been eating a clementine every day for extra vitamin C.  She asked me if she ate 4 clementines a day would that be too much vitamin C?  Absolutely not.  You really can’t “overdose” on vitamin C from foods.  Your body takes what it needs and gets rid of the rest.  However, your body doesn’t store vitamin C – you really need a good source in your diet every day.  I drink a glass of 100% OJ every morning.  Or a glass of 100% grapefruit juice.  I want to start my day with a good dose of vitamin C.  Besides citrus like oranges and grapefruit what other foods are high in C?  As for fruit, kiwi fruit, mango, cantaloupe and pineapple chunks are easy ways to get some C.  Strawberries have the resveratrol but also have vitamin C – so a real immunity booster.  As for vegetables, think red and yellow peppers – add some pepper strips to your salad at dinner.  Tomatoes or tomato juice.  Some people really like V-8 juice.  Drink away.  Other vegetables that pack a vitamin C punch are: broccoli, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, cauliflower are all good sources of C.
  • Medical News Today has some ways to add some “C” to your day:
    •  A smoothie made with plain Greek yogurt, kiwi, and strawberries.
    •  An omelet with chopped red and green bell peppers
    •  A make-ahead pineapple and blueberry breakfast parfait  (recipe below) 
  • Lunch or dinner:
      • Enjoy a baked potato topped with tomato salsa
      • Serve cauliflower, broccoli or a sweet potato
Clementines are a good source of vitamin C.

        4.   Vitamin D helps boost your immune system.  Have a vitamin D deficiency and NIH says there appears to be an increased susceptibility to infection.  Few foods provide vitamin D.  Drink some real milk at meals, eat some yogurt at lunch.  Most cheese is not fortified with vitamin D so for dairy foods focus on real milk and yogurt as food sources.  Eggs can also be a source of vitamin D.  Go outside as our bodies can make vitamin D when we go outside in the sun.  NIH notes:  “approximately 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs or back without sunscreen..”  will provide enough vitamin D synthesis.
Eggs are a good source of vitamin D.
Above are some easy ways to add some anti-viral foods to your day and boost your immune system.  Start your day with a glass of 100% orange juice.  Enjoy a yogurt at lunch to add some vitamin D to your day.  Add some blueberries, a clementine or other vitamin C source to your lunch or as a snack.  Be sure to pack a clementine or vitamin C rich foods in your kid’s lunch box.  At dinner add some red or green pepper strips to your salad.  Enjoy some salsa and chips. 

Sources:  article, levels, Today, parfait , NIH, notes   Image sources:  make ahead parfaits, clementines, shell

Make-Ahead Pineapple Blueberry Breakfast Parfait 
·         2 cups vanilla yogurt - be sure it is real yogurt, not a non-dairy yogurt
·         1 and 1/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (uncooked)
·         1 teaspoon cinnamon
·         4 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
·         4 Tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
·         4 Tablespoons shredded coconut (unsweetened or sweetened)
·         1 to 1 and 1/3 cup frozen blueberries (don’t need to thaw or use fresh blueberries)
·         1 to 1 and 1/3 cup chopped pineapple (fresh chunks, or canned chunks – drained)
When serving add some real cow’s milk (no fake milk) 

When serving you can add some maple syrup about 1-2 teaspoons.

Directions:  (adapted from parfait )
  1.  In each of 4 (16-ounce jars with lids), layer ½ cup yogurt, 1/3 cup oats, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and 1 T. ground flaxseed, slivered almonds, shredded coconut.
  2. Top each jar with ¼ to 1/3 cups blueberries and 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped pineapple
  3. Leave enough room at the top so you can stir the ingredients
  4. Place lids on each jar and refrigerate overnight (or up to 5 days) to allow the oats to absorb some of the moisture from the yogurt.
  5. Before eating, stir in some real cow’s milk to the desired consistency.
  6. Drizzle with some maple syrup if desired.    

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