As Coronavirus runs rampant on every aspect of our daily lives, let us stop and be mindful about how our bodies can wage war against this by building a strong and healthy immune system.

We know that people above the age of 70, and people with underlying health conditions are at higher risk. But how can you consciously make better food choices?

Now are some of the essential tips that we recommend, to transform your body into a shield of armour.

1. Set a meal plan for the week. Before go out grocery shopping, make a plan of what your household is going to eat for the week. Resist the urge to enter a supermarket without a shopping list, this can lead to stockpiling and impulse buying. Start by taking inventory of what you already have, plan out a few meals, and create a list of food ingredients needed. Try to minimize your trips to the store and visit at off-peak hours to avoid crowds.

2. Going out grocery shopping. Get plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins from the supermarket. Citrus fruit and red bell peppers are very rich in Vitamin C. If you are diabetic or have any underlying diseases that might impose a low immune system, choosing red bell peppers for your vitamin C intake. It also helps keep your sugar intake low. After returning home and before preparing or eating food, wash your hands thoroughly with clean water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.

3. High impact herbs can help boost your immune system- ginger, garlic, and turmeric are great ways to add flavours to your food and enhance your immunity.

4. Zinc it up with shellfish like oysters, clams, and mussels. If you are worried about raising your cholesterol levels with seafood or you are plant-based, boost your zinc levels with pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, quinoa, wholegrain oats and some chickpeas. Studies show that zinc can synergistically act with Vitamin C to boost your immune system.

5. Save money and skip the high sugar sodas and fruit juices; since you have time, infuse your waters with citrus fruits and berries for increased antioxidants. Try to buy fewer processed, high-salt or high-sugar snacks.

6. Share recipes with your friends. Use spare time at home to experiment with new recipes. Remember that staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone, and the increased anxiety (and boredom) can cause people to abandon their healthy eating intentions and snack on whatever is around. This can make underlying diseases flare-up. Keep each other in check to make sure that everyone around you stays safe and healthy.

7. Comfort food once a week. Allow yourself and people in your household to indulge in comfort food. This will boost immunity by reducing anxiety. People are feeling a lot of stress right now, and the unfortunate reality is that stress suppresses our immune systems. Make sure to take care of this in your household.

8. *Get the kids in the kitchen*. They can start assisting as young as 3 years old, with close supervision. They can mix ingredients and tear salad greens into bite-sized pieces. Children, 10 years and elderly can measure ingredients and slice or chop vegetables and fruits. They can learn how to turn on/off a microwave oven or regular oven. Everyone can pitch in to set up and clear off the dinner table.

We all have to eat, so attending to our nutrition is something we can all control. Processed foods and shelf-stable items like baked goods contain a lot of simple carbohydrates that create a yo-yo effect on our blood sugar. Therefore, targeting immune-boosting foods will have a dual impact — you may feel less anxious and boost your immunity.

In addition to the food groups stated above, it is vital to take care of our physique with at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.

Maintaining a positive outlook by staying connected with our loved ones and most importantly staying home to help in flattening the curve so we can emerge victorious in this fight against Coronavirus.

Stay safe,