The new COVID-19 variant EG.5.1 or Eris is sending new alarm bells across the world. With cases showing up in India too, it is very important to not only get booster vaccination shots but also boost your overall immunity. Here are some foods that can help you with that.
Since the beginning of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, the world has slowly but surely understood that the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its many variants are here to stay for the long term, even if the load of the viral respiratory infection is lower now. After the first and second waves, new variants of Omicron have hit the world in new waves, and the newly detected EG.5.1 or Eris variant is now sending alarms all over the world too. Here’s what you need to know to begin with.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has reported that the new COVID-19 variant called Eris first raised alarm bells in the United Kingdom in July, and the variant is reportedly spreading quite quickly. 'EG.5.1 was first raised as a signal in monitoring on 3 July 2023 as part of horizon scanning due to increasing reports internationally, particularly in Asia. It was subsequently raised from a signal in monitoring to a variant V-23JUL-01 on 31 July 2023 due to the increasing number of genomes in UK data, and continued growth internationally. Declaring this lineage as a variant will allow further detailed characterization and analysis,'' said the UKHSA.
In more recent news, the COVID-19 Eris variant has now been detected in Maharashtra, with the state health department recording 115 cases by August 6. It is expected that the COVID-19 Eris variant may also increase the load of cases in other parts of India in the coming month. With immunity from previous infections and vaccinations waning, it is now important to get booster shots to prevent the virus. So, if you are elderly or have health conditions that may increase your risk of the disease, it is especially important to take care.
This not only means taking a booster dose and following social distancing, handwashing and mask protocols once again, but also working to boost your immunity so that it is strong enough to fight off the new COVID-19 Eris variant. Wondering how to do that? Here are a few immunity booster foods you should load up on to prevent the new COVID-19 Eris variant.
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When it comes to viral infections, citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes can help. These foods contain plenty of vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant that helps fight infections by boosting the production of white blood cells like lymphocytes and phagocytes. Vitamin C can also boost the skin’s defense system, which can also come in handy.
Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, not to mention amla or Indian gooseberries, are loaded with vitamin C, vitamin E and essential disease-fighting phytochemicals like flavonoids. These foods can therefore help you fight off harmful free radicals and inflammation. This is of course apart from the fact that berries are also potent against some chronic diseases.
Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has potent antimicrobial, antiviral and immune-enhancing capacities. Allicin can stimulate the immune cells and help fight off infections and reduce the risk of inflammation too. So, load up on garlic in your regular diet and have it first thing in the morning for more benefits.
Ginger is packed with gingerol, a bioactive compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Adding ginger to your regular diet may help reduce inflammation and support immune system responses against any infections, including the new COVID-19 Eris variant. Ginger has anyways been used traditionally in Ayurveda to improve respiratory health, so add this one to your diet for sure.
Dahi and other fermented foods like Greek yoghurt, kimchi and sauerkraut can improve the gut microbiome, keeping it healthy enough to fight off infections. A balanced gut microbiome is linked to better immune function, as a significant portion of the immune system resides in the gut. So, try adding dahi, raita and other yoghurt-based dishes to your regular diet.
Green Leafy Vegetables
You might think you need to avoid leafy greens during monsoon, but adding them carefully to your diet is essential for immunity. Spinach, fenugreek, amaranth and other greens are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron and calcium. These support the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes, which act as barriers against infections.
Nuts And Seeds
Nuts like almonds, walnuts and peanuts, and seeds like sesame, pumpkin, flax and others are essential immunity boosters. These provide essential nutrients such as vitamin E and zinc. The former is a potent antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and supports immune function. The latter is crucial for the development and function of immune cells.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a bioactive compound with strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects may help modulate the immune system's response to infections, which in turn can help you fight off COVID-19 Eris variant. The benefits of turmeric for the immune system are also supported by Ayurveda.
Green tea is famed for being rich in antioxidants and polyphenol compounds which enhance the immune system and fight off infections. Green tea is particularly packed with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So, consume green tea regularly to not only fight the COVID-19 Eris variant but also for overall immunity against diseases.
Capsicum as well as other colourful bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C, which, as mentioned before, aids immunity immensely. Bell peppers also contain various antioxidants and phytochemicals that contribute to overall health and immunity. So, add these colourful vegetables to your curries, salads and more for best results.