Weekly plate plan: immune-booster foods

by Julia Stringer

Time in lockdown of late has given some of us the excuse to comfort eat, and while there are many medical factors linked to Covid-19 – like compromised immunity, obesity, diabetes and heart conditions – a lot can be done to help ourselves which is staring at us from the dinner plate.

Now more than ever is the right time to reassess our diet and get ourselves in a better position to fight this virus to lessen the chance of it affecting us.

Significant and lengthy studies have proved that a plant-based whole foods diet can prevent and even reverse major health crises like diabetes, heart disease and hormone-linked cancers. Dr T. Colin Campbell from the Centre of Nutrition Studies, has been researching this for over 50 years and seen the evidence of how switching to plant-based proteins can dramatically change your health. Covid-19 is a virus that, for now, we are going to have to live with, and with all virus’ they cling onto our immune system and cause havoc, this is why those with a weak immune system is having such a hard time. The immune system relies on white blood cells to produce antibodies, those gaining their protein from a plant based or vegetarian diet have shown more effective white blood cells compared to those relying on animal protein.

Dr Campbell believes “switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet should lessen the severity of disease symptoms while simultaneously increasing Covid-19 antibodies, a win-win effect.”

There has been a huge rise in plant-based foods in the past few years, availability and choice is far greater and during this pandemic people have definitely been looking at healthier options trying meat and dairy alternatives to boost their immunity. Benefits of the switch will include weight loss, a diet rich in fibre, more antioxidants, and a boost in first rate vitamins to help with viral infections. Vitamin D has been talked about of late, so look to fortified cereals and plant based milks, vitamins C and E too support the body’s immune system, so get in the strawberries and oranges and don’t forget your broccoli and spinach. The latter is of course a great source of beta-carotene, along with leafy greens, helping to reduce inflammation and increase disease-fighting cells in our bodies.

Handwashing, social distancing, mask wearing are all things we are adapting to norm in our everyday lives, but if we add making our diet more plant-based with less highly processed foods, think what shape we will be in while waiting for the vaccine.

Keep well everyone!

10 GREAT SOURCES OF PLANT-BASED PROTEIN

  1. Cheese – gruyere, parmesan, cheddar, feta, cottage
  2. Lentils
  3. Seeds – pumpkin, hemp, sunflower, flax, pine
  4. Nuts – peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews
  5. Beans – edamame, lima, black
  6. Oats – especially oat bran!
  7. Greek yoghurt
  8. Tofu
  9. Seitan
  10. Eggs