• Pauleen Flake, RND

Top 5 Food to Support Immunity Against Omicron Variant

We're midway through January 2022 and instead of having our focus on our resolutions and goals, COVID-19 has taken the spotlight yet again. Truly, the pandemic has forced us to live differently and enabled us to take a different turn on the way we do things. We’ve witnessed mutation after mutation and now with the COVID-19 Omicron variant around us, we have to do the best that we can to protect ourselves in all aspects, from the physical to the emotional.

Top 5 Food to Support Immunity Against Omicron Variant

Food is and will always be essential in maintaining our bodily functions. In a time where people left and right are testing positive for COVID-19 Omicron variant, dietary habits are an important factor to look into when trying to support our immunity. Just as how important it was to sustain our immunity during the delta variant surge, here are the best 5 foods you can add to your diet this season for a stronger immune system.

1. Broccoli

One great reason to eat broccoli is for the immune system-strengthening properties it holds. Unbeknownst to many, broccoli is rich in vitamin C which is known to increase the body’s resistance against infection and diseases, making it one of the most ideal foods for immunity against COVID-19. Broccoli also contains sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is typically found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and kale and is known to also reduce the tendency to acquire cancer and diabetes.

  • Optimal Serving Size: 1 cup (24.3 kcal)

  • Vitamin C (as per optimal serving size): 40.5

  • Vitamin C Recommended Nutrient Intake (19-50 yrs.old): 60-70 mg/day

  • Vitamin C Upper Limit: 1000mg.

Alternatives to Broccoli: Malunggay leaves (231 mg vit C), Katuray (148 mg vit.C)

2. Green Tea

While there could be an array of choices on which fruit is the best for COVID-19 immunity, did you know that green tea can also help strengthen the immune system? Apart from its caffeine content being relatively low compared to coffee, green tea is known to contain flavonoids. Flavonoids are found in various plant species and possess a handful of upper respiratory tract infection fighting properties. In short, they can help reduce the risk of getting a cold. This is definitely a must-add to your immunity food items for the COVID-19 Omicron surge. Remember to limit your green tea intake as this drink contains caffeine. The ideal time to drink green tea is once a day, either before bed or upon waking up. Too much caffeine can result in palpitations and sleeplessness.

  • Optimal Serving Size: 1 cup (2kcal)

  • Flavonoids (per optimal serving size): 133 mg

  • Recommended Nutrient Intake: 150mg/day

Alternatives to Green Tea: Red onions (415 mg flavonoids), Dark Chocolate (206 mg flavonoids) Soy beans (5-30 mg of isoflavones, a type of flavonoid).

3. Spinach

If you’re looking for a good reason to eat your green leafy vegetables, this is it. Spinach is rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants, namely flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C and E, making it a good COVID-19 immunity booster food. Flavonoids help reduce the tendency to acquire a common cold and carotenoids also enhance the immune system. Studies show that vitamin C strengthens the body’s immunity while vitamin E is an antioxidant that prevents oxidative stress that increases inflammation and disease spread in the body.

  • Optimal Serving Size: 2 cups (83kcal)

  • Vitamin C: 36 mg

  • Vitamin E: 6-7 mg

  • Upper Limit (both Vitamin C and E): 1000mg

Alternatives to Spinach: Malunggay leaves (231 mg vit. C), Sayote leaves (20 mg vit. C), Guava (158 mg vit. C), Kamatsile (143 mg vit. C)

4. Red Bell Peppers

Another reason to add red bell peppers to your quarantine cooking options. This immunity power food for COVID-19 omicron variant contains almost three times as much vitamin C as citrus fruits and are beta-carotene rich. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A which in turn helps protect the eyes and maintain skin health, a good bonus apart from keeping your immune system strong.

  • Optimal Serving Size: 1 pepper (32 kcal)

  • Vitamin C(as per optimal serving size) : 118 mg

  • Vitamin A(as per optimal serving size): 1.52 mg

  • Upper Limit (Vitamin C): 1000mg

  • Upper Limit (Vitamin A): 2.997 mg.

Alternatives to Red Bell Peppers: Carrots (1.67 mg vit. A), Cassava (2.40 mg vit. A), Saluyot leaves (1.23 mg vit. A)

5. Papaya

It’s more than just a beauty product! Certainly, papaya is rich in nutrients, making it one of the best COVID-19 immunity boosting foods.Papayas contain double the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, along with its digestive enzyme papain which has anti-inflammatory properties. This versatile fruit can be served as a shake or part of a salad, with other health benefits including reduced cancer and heart disease risk.

  • Optimal Serving Size: 1 cup (cut up into 1 inch pieces; 55kcal)

  • Vitamin C (per optimal serving size): 86.5mg

  • Vitamin C Recommended Nutrient Intake: 60-70mg/day

  • Vitamin C Upper Limit: 1000 mg.

Alternatives to Papaya: Rambutan (91 mg vit.C), Strawberries (97 mg vit. C), Manggang hilaw (65 mg vit. C), Anonas ( 90 mg vit. C)

The Bottom Line

We’ve heard it all before. Follow the COVID-19 safety health protocols such as wearing a mask and sanitizing frequently, as well as maintaining social distancing. We’ve been told to get tested and to quarantine. Constant reminders to get the COVID-19 vaccine have been reiterated left and right. Health care workers and officials tirelessly remind us to take care of our health to save both our lives and others. The best measures to stay safe are still to wear a mask, sanitize frequently, practice social distancing, and get vaccinated.

Just like when you’re trying to lose weight, remember that there is no magic food to cure or permanently shield you from COVID-19. Eating these in right or even excessive amounts won’t guarantee that you will never get COVID-19. These foods are a means to somehow improve our health and bodily functions.


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