Quezon City — While the global science and medical communities strive to come up with a treatment protocol and vaccine against the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Filipinos are advised to play their part in building up their immune system.
Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said “let’s heed and support the call of the Department of Health to boost our body’s immune system to fight virus and bacterial attacks and reduce the risks of disease infections.”
“We have long been taught that the immune system helps the body fight off infections caused by viruses and speed up the recovery process after an infection,” said Dar.
“We have a lot of native, nutritious fruits and vegetables that are known to help the body fight off diseases. Hence, Let’s try to consume more to boost our health—more so now, with the outbreak of influenza and the 2019 nCoV,” the DA chief added.
He recommends the following:
- Vitamin C tops the list of immune boosters and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C are papaya, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, and citrus fruits like guava, calamansi, and dayap.
- Malunggay or moringa—also known as the miracle vegetable—tops them all. According to studies, three tablespoons of powdered malunggay leaves contain 27 percent (%) Vitamin A and 22% Vitamin C, which is equivalent to seven oranges.
- Vitamin A contains beta-carotene and retinol, which are important to immune function. The best sources are carrots, sweet potatoes, and mangoes; green leafy vegetables as well as red fruits and vegetables, like watermelon and tomatoes.
- Garlic is an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial immune booster. Aside from being useful in the kitchen, it has been proven to heal infection because of its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Honey also has anti-bacterial properties for cold, flu, and sore throat.
- Lagundi or the five-leaf chaste tree (Vitex negundo), has been scientifically proven to be effective in reducing cough, colds, and fever.
- Another plant rich in Vitamin A, potassium, calcium, and Vitamin C is tawa-tawa or asthma plant (Euphobia hirta). A 2014 study listed it as beneficial when it comes to maintaining the health of the upper respiratory system and increasing the blood platelet count.
- Serpentina or sinta (Rauvolfia serpentine) is known for its antiviral and antibiotic properties, making it good for infections. It is often used to help treat cough and colds. It is also used as an expectorant to help release mucus in the respiratory system.
In all, Secretary Dar said eating a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, coupled with whole grains and lean protein–in addition to drinking sufficients amounts of water– helps boost our body’s immune system against illness and stress.
Stay updated with news and information from the Department of Agriculture by visiting their website at http://www.da.gov.ph.