Our respiratory system is the most crucial, yet most abused organ system in our body. Various external stressful factors such as polluted air, weather changes, unhealthy food intake, erratic schedules, improper lifestyle etc. play havoc on our immunity, and the respiratory organs bear the brunt. Yet most people tend to ignore respiratory well-being.
A well-balanced diet plays a key role in protecting our body from respiratory infections. Including various nutrients in our meals on a regular basis can help strengthen our respiratory system, and keep infections at bay. Here are five such foods that we must include in our diet this season.
Protein is essential for tissue growth and adequate intake helps repair any internal damage that infections may cause. Milk can be a good source; however milk can sometimes increase mucus formation and consumption is therefore specific to each individual, depending on whether or not their body accepts it.
Recommendation: Protein can be incorporated into everyday diet through pulses & lentil soup, boiled eggs, chicken soup or grilled fish.
Fruits & Vegetables
Antioxidants present in fruits and vegetables play a vital role in protection as they help fight free radicals. They improve immunity and reduce the impact of external pollutants on our body's organs. Including a lot of colorful fruits and vegetables such as red & yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, beetroot, carrot, papaya, and pomegranates provides multiple vitamins and minerals and increases overall immunity. Vitamin C rich sources such as Kiwi, orange, sweet lime, green leafy vegetables, broccoli etc. are esepcially useful in strengthening the respiratory system. These are also rich in magnesium which helps in clearing the respiratory pathway. Onions are anti-inflammatory, and beneficial in treating respiratory infections.
Recommendation: Fruits and vegetables can be added into our diet as soups, subzis, and salads or just as raw snacks.
Herbs & Spices
Spices & herbs contain anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds that boost immunity and fight infections. Roots such as ginger helps in detoxifying the lungs, while turmeric has anti-bacterial properties. Various fresh leaves like basil, mint, and coriander also can be used to detox and have a calming effect.
Recommendation: Herbs and spices can be infused and consumed as herbal concoctions or teas.
Nuts, seeds & oils
Nuts and seeds are nutrient dense, rich in minerals & omega 3/6 fatty acids and contain Vitamin E which is very important to repair cells damaged due to infections. Intake of fish oil, flax seed powder and chia seeds are also beneficial.
Recommendation: Include 5-6 nuts daily as snacks and munch on seeds such as watermelon seeds, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds to boost immunity.
A healthy gut promotes overall health. Healthy bacteria in probiotics, such as curd and buttermilk, help in reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system. As long as consumed fresh, and at room temperature and during the day time, curd is a healthy inclusion towards a strong respiratory system.
Recommendation: Probiotics can be consumed as fresh set curd, yogurts, cottage cheese and raw cheese.