By Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
So you are vaccinated. Does it mean you are invincible? Not if you go to crowds frequently without masks, forget to wash your hands, and abuse your body with drugs and alcohol without rest! Not if you consume unhealthy foods often, ruining your health.
Covid has inspired me to adopt a total package for a healthy lifestyle. Food as therapy can increase our immunity and fight inflammation. Aside from eating healthy, are there foods which can fight Covid? It’s an important question. The other day, my former college classmate Whatsapped me the answer—a list of foods to fight Covid. The title of the video is “Foods that boost immune system to fight coronavirus.” There are plenty of those on YouTube.
Those foods are not hard to find. They are all available in the supermarket. But the challenge is, how do you incorporate them in your daily diet? The solution—eat the Asian way.
Begin with breakfast
For breakfast, I used to season my eggs with salt. During the pandemic, I eliminated salt as much as possible. Garlic, ginger, and turmeric are part of the list to fight Covid. So I sprinkle my egg with garlic and turmeric.
Make juices with ginger and turmeric. Not only do they taste better, they can fight inflammation. If you don’t have time to make juices, you can buy ready-made juices from grocery stores. Some brands mix ginger and turmeric and carrots or apples. A small cup (about 4 oz.) will be a good start at the beginning of the day.
Check your breakfast to see if you can add any of the foods I mentioned.
To make sure you include garlic, ginger, and turmeric in your daily diet, buy them in powder form. Convenient and cost-effective, a small bottle of turmeric powder lasts me more than 16 months, and garlic powder six months. I use garlic in many other recipes.
When I broil steak or bake chicken and pork, garlic powder is my No. 1 ingredient. You can even sprinkle garlic powder on your food if you don’t have time to cook with it, it tastes just as good.
I don’t recommend ginger powder, even though I have it at home. I use ginger powder only when I am out of fresh ginger.
Cook the Asian way
If you cook Asian-style for your meals, you will always throw in ginger and garlic ingredients as part of your daily meals. They are essential ingredients in Chinese cooking. Turmeric is key for many Southeast Asian dishes.
Anytime I stir-fry vegetables or meat, fresh ginger and garlic will be part of the formula. So we buy lots of them and put them in our fridge. Your food tastes great with these two ingredients. Ginger is vital, especially when you cook seafood, it eliminates the fishy smell and taste. It’s also on top of the list to fight Covid inflammation and boost immunity.
Ginger is also one of my favorite sauces for boiled chicken. It’s easy to make. Chop the ginger and green scallion into small pieces. Then add salt. Place hot oil on top of the chopped pieces. You dip the chicken in it. Yum!
Add Covid-fighting foods throughout your meals
Besides ginger, garlic, and turmeric, citrus fruits, spinach, broccoli, and red pepper are also part of the Covid-fighting food list. I don’t eat red pepper, spinach, or broccoli every day. But I can make a conscious effort to alternate them with other foods. Red pepper is great for stir-fry, with things like sweet potatoes, onions, and mushrooms.
When you cook your spinach, don’t forget to start with garlic and ginger on your pan or wok. Put shredded garlic and ginger in hot oil before you pour your spinach in.
Papaya, grapefruit, oranges, kiwi fruit, and lemon are considered citrus fruits with Covid-fighting capacities. Most people think that it is more suitable to eat fruits after a heavy meal to aid digestion. No. The best time to eat fruits would be in the morning before cereals, eggs, and bread, when you have an empty stomach. It’s the best time for your body to absorb the fruit nutrients.
Develop a “lemon” habit
The benefits of lemon cannot be underestimated, from weight loss to fighting inflammation. Some people suggest lemon with everything you eat, you put in a few drops such as soups, meats, seafood, and even your drinks. When I have my chamomile tea in the morning, I always squeeze a few drops of lemon. You can also add them in your salad. After you cook the vegetables, you can always squeeze a few drops of lemon on top.
Vital items always available in your fridge
My fridge is always stocked with lemons, garlic, and ginger. Those key ingredients are essential to your health. Never run out of them.
Almonds are the only nut on the fight-Covid list. Almonds contain antioxidants. You can add almonds in your cereal and salads. You can also cook almonds with seafood and meat. Remember, to get the best effect from almonds, buy the raw ones. If you like them roasted or salted, it may taste great, but it defeats the purpose of eating them as a healthy food.
Yogurt and green tea
The last two on the list are yogurt and green tea. Unfortunately, I don’t eat yogurt so I have no wise tips. But if you are a yogurt lover, you already know and have been eating them consistently.
And I don’t drink green tea, even though it has many health benefits. My stomach just doesn’t agree with green tea as I age. The stronger the green tea, the more my stomach resists. Still, I want you to know that they are good for you. In the game of battling Covid, green tea is a good choice. Its price ranges from reasonable to the expensive kind.
Expand your Covid-fighting food list
The list my friend gave is not the most complete one. You can write or increase your own list. For instance, salmon with Omega-3 fat is a good one since it supports bone health, muscle growth, and bodily functions repair.
It will be fun to compare your list with your friends and find out what you’ve missed.
Take good care of yourself. Think of “total care” for your health. Eating the right food is just one of them. After a while, you may even notice the difference in your body.
Assunta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.