COVID-19 has engulfed the whole world in its invisible yet inescapable clutches. The number of active cases is climbing up every day with no help in sight. Doctors are advising patients to consume vitamin-rich food and supplements, the first step towards boosting the immunity against any disease.
Even the common population has gained cognizance of the importance of bolstering immunity of the body. This has escalated the demand for superfoods in the retail market that are effective in improving the immunity of the human body.
Why the sudden demand?
The great affinity towards superfoods comes after knowing its medicinal benefits. Superfoods are nutrition-dense and contribute towards speedy recovery of the human body from the coronavirus or any other illness. It also prevents contracting cold, fever, and other seasonal infections that come with the monsoon.
Change in the Market
Superfood's immunity-boosting attribute is serving as a great market strategy for numerous brands: established and newer ones. The retail stores are overflowing with vitamin and other mineral supplements which increase the immunity of the patients. The emphasis on Ayurveda is creating a separate fan-base.
One can find Indian Ayurvedic products sold alongside allopathic medicines in chemist shops all around the country, but the attention is far more intense today as compared to the pre-COVID timeframe. Herbal products are available in tablet or syrup forms and sell in astonishing numbers. With an increased focus on organic fibre-rich foods, the demand for other nutrition-dense sources has also seen an upsurge.
Superfoods could be grains, spices stacked in your larder, herbs, delicious fruits, hot and healthy soups or refreshing beverages, and supplements but work towards boosting your immunity. Here’s which superfoods are gaining more popularity and why:
This includes multi vitamins and supplements like Iron, zinc, Calcium etc. Multivitamins and mineral supplements can bridge your nutritional gap. Sourced through different foods (and sometimes via natural elements), Vitamin C, D and B12 are a powerhouse for your immune system. They work in numerous ways for healthy cell development and repair of body tissues.
- Tulsi drops: They not only work on improving immunity but also in new blood cell formation. They help in fighting various kinds of infections, fever, cold, sore throat, seasonal illnesses, and detoxifying your body.
- Ashwagandha: It improves the body’s defence against diseases by improving cell-mediated immunity. Its potent antioxidant properties help against cellular damage caused by free radicals.
- Triphala: It is touted for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral abilities. It promotes oral health, treats fatigue, pneumonia, gastric disease, cancer, etc. apart from strengthening the immune system.
- Chyawanprash: It bolsters the immunity by aiding in the production of haemoglobin and white blood cells. Chyawanprash is known to perform incredibly for respiratory health .
- Herbal Teas: What's better than sipping your way to good health via piping hot cups of ginger tea, lemon tea, bay leaf tea, cinnamon, tulsi tea, green tea etc. They help in fighting off infection in a tasty manner.
Research across the globe has shown that spices have medicinal properties that go beyond adding flavour and taste to the food. The commonly used spices such as turmeric, Black Pepper, Dry Ginger as well as Cinnamon have antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Healthy Drinks & Soups
- Apple Cider Vinegar: The fermented apple cider vinegar contains both probiotics and prebiotics, will promote gut health, antibacterial properties , fight off the disease causing pathogens and induce detoxification thereby a positive impact on immune health. .
- Protein shakes: Amino acids in the protein are the building blocks of the body. Taking protein shakes enhances functioning of immune cells too.
- Multigrains: Quinoa, millets, brown or red rice are a good source of minerals and antioxidants. They possess nutraceutical properties in the form of amino acids, proteins and, selenium that fight against the deterioration of human health.
With deteriorating food habits and an increase in consumption of junk as a primary meal option, Indians like every other population were suffering from poor immunity-levels. There were a handful of competitors that were trying to educate the masses about the health benefits of superfoods. But the attention towards them was nothing like it is now. Today, people are actively resorting to superfoods and are open to the idea of their consumption.
Some superfoods may be costlier but their health benefits compensate for the cost associated with it. With regular consumption in controlled dosage, it can decrease the susceptibility of the human body towards most diseases. Cutting down on the lacklustre food groups that provide little nutrition and prioritizing health as a method of self-improvement can increase the resistance to the coronavirus.
Dr Shunmukha Priya S, Scientific Research Officer, Truweight, Bengaluru