By Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Can bananas cure coronavirus? What about lemon and garlic? How about vitamins?
“When you didn’t get COVID-19, you went bananas,” joked a friend in an email. “There is news that people took methanol for prevention and got severely poisoned.”
This is why I wrote this blog, because there is so much misinformation. Although some foods are beneficial, none can cure coronavirus. Sad to say, there are no drugs that can cure COVID-19 at the moment. Currently, a few drugs are being tested to fight COVID-19. But it will take months for pharmaceutical companies to develop them.
People are doing irrational things such as taking unfamiliar drugs or having strange meals, which can result in more damage to their body. There is food we can eat to enhance our immunity. COVID-19 is a vicious virus attacking our respiratory system. It makes sense to eat cuisine which can strengthen our lungs in addition to social distancing.
My husband and I are in the at-risk age group—over 60. We can’t really afford to be impulsive and negligent in what we eat. It’s vital to eat ingredients for our health. I used to value taste more than nutrition. But at this point, taste is secondary. Wait until COVID-19 is over, and I swear I will go out to eat only the exotic, fattening, and delightful goodies.
Increase immunity with antioxidant-rich ingredients
A reader believes that garlic can cure COVID-19. No, it doesn’t. But your health can be improved if you include garlic in your diet. And if the virus does hit you, hopefully you are strong enough to fight it.
Make garlic and ginger a part of your meals. Get them in powder form so if you forget to cook them with your food, you can always add them in afterwards. I sprinkle garlic powder in many of the items I consume during the day, from eggs at breakfast to soups at dinner. I put antioxidant foods high on my list such as lemon and honey in my morning tea, and tomatoes and onions in other dishes. Ginger, garlic, and Chinese green onions play a prominent role in my cooking, whether I’m stewing, steaming, boiling, or baking.
Healthy meals are just as tasty
The merits of social distancing gives me more time to cook at home. I choose more healthy vegetables, such as kale and beets for dinner. They taste awesome if you know how to prepare them. I am fortunate that my daughter-in-law often brings us tasty beet and pork bone soup.
Kale salad with almonds not only taste fantastic, they are considered super healthy foods. If you eat kale raw, it’s hard to chew because of its rough texture. So my husband boils the vegetables to soften it. It’s not a good idea to eat raw food during unusual times. With low heat, I stir-fry almonds till they are brown and crispy. Then I mix them with a little olive oil, garlic powder, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar. Wow! The salad tasted superb.
Deep-fried stuff tastes wonderful. Can I resist it? Yes, during COVID-19. I don’t want to take any chances because it doesn’t add to my health. Past experience has taught me that it gave me a sore throat, which can lead to serious illness. Cooking food with high heat can destroy nutrients.
Soups enhance your wellbeing
In Chinese culture, soups are king. Why are soups beneficial to your health?
All the nutrients from the ingredients dissolve in the water while boiling. Your body can absorb and digest soups easily. That’s why Chinese women, in the month after giving birth, drink lots of soup for nourishment to nurse back to health and regain energy.
In Western culture, friends often drink chicken soup when they are sick, and they feel a lot better afterwards. Nutritious soups can work miracles to our health. However, making soup can be time-consuming.
The easy way is to have chicken bone broth ready in your kitchen. You can get it from Costco.
Don’t just shop for chicken stock. Make sure it’s made from chicken bone, which is much less greasy than regular chicken broth. All you need to do is heat it up, add some garlic powder, Chinese scallion, tomatoes, mushrooms, and even vegetables. Boil the broth for three to five minutes on medium heat, and you will have a nice bowl of soup. If you put tomatoes and apples in the chicken broth, you can add a tablespoon of honey and stir it before the soup comes to a boil. This is a recipe I got from the Asian Weekly’s sister paper, Seattle Chinese Post.
Soups strengthen lungs
As I mentioned before, the coronavirus attacks people’s lungs. In Chinese culture, my grandma and mother would make certain soups when I coughed as a child. They depicted these soups as effective “lubricating” agents. You can use lean pork or chicken bone broth to boil with pears, papaya, or apples. If you make soup with lean pork, you have to boil the pork for at least 35 minutes on low heat to get all its flavor before you add the fruit. Bananas are beneficial to our health. But it doesn’t stop COVID-19. Vitamins are sound if you have been taking them regularly. But I wouldn’t count on it to fight the vicious virus.
For now, cook for your health. Eat for your health and exercise. On March 31, President Trump warned of up to 240,000 deaths in U.S. by the end of the pandemic. If you are not affected, it’s no small feat if you don’t get sick with the virus. And you contribute to the “flattening of the curve.” When this is over, you can go wild with your diet.
Assunta can be reached at email@example.com.