Eat a rainbow diet to boost your immunity

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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A rainbow diet consists of naturally colourful foods which are known to build up your immunity and may shield you against the Covid-19 outbreak.

Year 2022 is proving to be a challenging year as we’re braving the third wave of the Covid-19 outbreak. There’s a plethora of information around its new variant Omicron that is sending your brain to a tizzy. Isn’t it? To keep up with the news is as necessary as to keep up with your diet and health choices. After all, it is the precautionary measures that you can take, to avoid falling prey to Covid-19.

To fight back any disease, it is imperative that you take full control of the food you consume. While the market is brimming with immunity-building products to cut the risk of Covid-19, going all holistic is the right way. One such diet trend that has been advocated by nutritionists time and again is eating the rainbow diet!

Arti Johari, a nutritionist based in Noida, spoke to HealthShots about the benefits of eating a rainbow diet and its impact on building immunity against Covid-19.

“Rainbow diet stands for including colourful vegetables, fruits and grains in your meals everyday. These foods have a vibrant color called phytonutrients for a reason. The food items of a colour family provide a specific type of nutrient in your diet. A colourful diet contains pytochemicals like lycopene, carotenoids, lutein, anthocyanins and allicin. While no food and supplements  can prevent or cure a Covid-19 infection, a rainbow diet is important for supporting your immune system. This vibrant diet can up the production of white blood cells in your body and prepares it to fight off the infections.”

What’s a rainbow diet?

Well, if this has you scratching your head, we will decode it for you. It’s a diet which involves eating foods of all the vibrant colours, much like a rainbow! The reason being different colours of food are known to have specific sets of nutrients. Each vegetable and fruit has its own specific pigment that comes from phytonutrients. As gorging on a fair amount of veggies and fruits is advised, Nutritionists have placed their bets on food with a band of colour.

How can a rainbow diet help you strengthen your immunity?

Eating a nutritious diet is a building block for your immunity. And, adding food with multiple colours to your diet will give you all the necessary vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals for a reinforced immunity. To distinguish between the nutritional benefits of each vibrant food, let’s divide them into their colour family:

  1. Ready with red

Food items with a red hue, red bell peppers, grapefruit, tomatoes and watermelon contain a high quantity of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. And antioxidants reverse the foul play of free radicals in your body and prevent oxidative stress. A study published by the Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene claims that deprivation of antioxidants can play a major role in Covid-19 occurrence, progression, and severity.

2. Go green

You must know by now that eating leafy greens is good for your entire well-being. However, consuming food that is green comes with a truckload of other benefits. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and fenugreek leaves, when eaten raw or cooked lightly can give you an ample amount of dietary fiber, and folate. Green fruits like Kiwi, grapes and avocados are good sources of folate, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Greens contain a large amount of antioxidants, vitamin A, C, and E which can amp up your immunity against Covid-19.

iron deficiency
Spinach is a very rich source of folic acid. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Blue to beat Covid-19 blues

Dark blues and purple food items like black grapes, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries are loaded with polyphenols, specifically anthocyanidins. The anti-inflammatory properties of these foods can help you ward off Covid-19 risk. The powerful phytonutrients in blue food not only regulates blood sugar but also decreases the risk of heart disease. A study published in Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection indicates that individuals with poorly regulated blood sugar and diabetes is a risk factor – and contributes to the severity and mortality of patients with Covid-19.

4. Think orange

Covid-19 risk calls for including orange hued foods, such as carrots, squash, sweet potato and pumpkin in your diet. These veggies contain a high quantity of carotenoids, which convert to Vitamin A which is responsible for their colour. That being said, let us know what Vitamin A does for your immunity. It helps to strengthen and support your white blood cells (WBC), which are the soldiers of your body against all diseases and infections. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and lemon are packed with vitamin C. It is known to kickstart the production of WBCs in your body.

orange juice
Oranges can up your immunity by a notch. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. White to fight infections

White food like garlic and onion are known to have antiviral and antibacterial properties which can shield you against infections like common cold, flu and covid-19. White coloured food also nourishes your body with quercetin. It is a nutrient that has cardiovascular health benefits and is known to reduce inflammation, and regulate the functioning of your immune system. Ginger is another herb which works well to reduce cough and phlegm from your chest. Potatoes, mushrooms and cauliflower are also rich in selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and folate.

The last word

Eat a diet that is diverse in pigments and overflowing in all essential nutrients to cut the risk of Covid-19. However, it is imperative that you follow all necessary guidelines around the new variant, Omicron. Wear a mask and don’t forget to wash your hands frequently!

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