Vegan rice bowl packed with protein

This rice bowl incorporates a rich inclusion of nutrients that help with muscle repair and immune function. It is a perfectly complete meal for the vegan or vegetarian. The edamame and tofu pack in the protein in this meal. And the Bok Choy and Bunapi mushrooms add the antioxidants and vitamins C and B which help boost the immune system. The red and brown rice mix further power this bowl with essential minerals and fiber as well. If you can’t find bunapi mushrooms then try this recipe with enoki mushrooms instead. I have used miso and brown rice vinegar to give it an umami taste. You can make it more spicy and if you want to give it a kick try adding fresh thai chillies.

Serves : 4

Ingredients :

  1. 1 cup shelled cooked edamame
  2. 1 cup diced hard pressed non-gmo tofu
  3. 4 cups bok choy chopped
  4. 2 cups white beech bunapi mushrooms or enoki mushrooms
  5. 1/2 cup fine green beans
  6. 1 cup brown and red rice
  7. 3 garlic pods minced
  8. 1 tbsp minced ginger
  9. 1 long red chilli pepper
  10. 2 tbsp sesame seed oil
  11. Pinch of cracked black pepper
  12. Pinch of dry red chilli pepper
  13. 1 tsp pink himalayan salt
  14. 1 tsp miso paste
  15. 1 tbsp water
  16. 2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
Prep for the rice bowl

Method :

  1. Chop the bok choy and beans
  2. Boil water in a saucepan put in a tsp of salt and throw in the bok choy and green beans to blanch and remove and strain
  3. Mince the ginger and garlic
  4. Slice the red chilli pepper in circles
  5. Dice the tofu and put aside
  6. Cook the rice
  7. Heat oil in a pan and brown the ginger and garlic
  8. Add the dry red chilli pepper, black pepper and salt
  9. Sauté the mushrooms, tofu, fresh red chilli pepper
  10. Add in the bok choy, beans and edamame
  11. Add in the cooked rice
  12. In a cup add the miso paste, 1 tbsp water, brown rice vinegar and pour over the rice and gently turn the rice over a couple of times and serve!

Beetroot, kale, cabbage and radish salad

Beetroot is known to have liver cleansing properties and it is considered effective in lowering blood pressure. It has antioxidants that help detox the liver allowing the liver to carry out it’s job of balancing the hormones in our bodies. It contains high levels of nitrates, which our digestive system is able to convert into nitric oxide, a compound that helps relax the blood vessels and therefore aids in lowering blood pressure. Beetroot is also a good source of the B vitamin folate and the mineral manganese.

Kale is an incredibly nutritious leafy vegetable rich in nutrients. It also contains a plant chemical called glucosinolate which is broken down into chemical compounds called isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol after chopping, chewing, or cooking. Glucosinolates are the first-line of defence for plants against insects, fungi and environmental stress like droughts. Isothiocyanates have been studied in the laboratory for their ability to prevent chronic conditions like cancer and heart disease in humans. It has been found that they have the profound ability to inhibit inflammation and the spread and growth of tumor cells in the body also providing protection to healthy cells.

Serves 4

Ingredients :

  1. 2 cups beetroot julienned
  2. 1 cup white or red cabbage julienned
  3. 1 cup radish julienned
  4. 2 cups kale chopped
  5. 1 cup chickpeas
  6. 3 tbsp cranberries
  7. 2 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
Prep for the salad

Salad dressing :

  1. 2 tbsp pure tahini paste
  2. 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  3. 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  4. 4 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  5. 2 tbsp sesame oil
  6. 1 tsp pink himalayan salt
  7. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  8. 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  9. 2 tbsp molasses sugar (or blackstrap molasses)
  10. 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Toss all the ingredients and pour over the Tahini salad dressing and you have got yourself a super delicious salad!

Beetroot, Kale, Cabbage and radish Salad

Brown Rice bowl with enoki, bok choy and tofu

Rice bowl with enoki mushrooms, tofu and bok choy

This delicious rice bowl is super nutritious! It has a lot of fiber and is rich in vitamins and minerals. I have used a good quantity of Enoki mushrooms in this bowl because they are highly nutritious being rich in vitamin B and other useful minerals like selenium, phosphorous and iron. They also have important amino acids that help improve the immune system. Enoki mushrooms have been used for centuries in Asian culture for medicinal purposes, as a remedy for high blood pressure, stomach ailments, high cholesterol and liver disease. The bok choy an equally nutrient rich asian vegetable provides an abundant amount Vitamin A and C in this bowl. In fact one cup of bok choy is sufficient for your daily requirement for both vitamins.

Ingredients :

  1. 1 cup Non-GMO tofu cubed
  2. 4 cups organic bok choy
  3. 1 cup scallions
  4. 2 bunches coriander leaves
  5. 3 bunches of enoki mushrooms
  6. 1 large red chilli sliced
  7. 1 tbsp sesame seeds toasted
  8. 3 garlic cloves
  9. 2 tbsp thinly sliced ginger
  10. 1 tbsp sesame oil
  11. Pink himalayan salt
Prep for the rice bowl

Sauce :

  1. 1 tsp miso paste
  2. 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  3. 1 tsp mirin
  4. 1 tsp soy sauce
  5. 1 tsp ume shiso (plum vinegar)

Rice :

  1. 1 cup brown rice or 3 cups cooked brown rice
  2. 2 tbsp onion chopped
  3. 3 garlic cloves
  4. 2 big green chilli
  5. Pinch of himalayan

Method :

  1. Slice the bok choy, scallions, garlic and ginger
  2. Cut the tofu in cubes
  3. Lightly cook the tofu in sesame oil
  4. Remove the cooked tofu and put aside
  5. Add garlic and ginger to the same oil and cook until soft
  6. Throw in the mushrooms, scallions and sliced red chilli pepper
  7. Toast sesame seeds in another frying pan
  8. Boil water in a saucepan and add a tsp of himalayan salt
  9. Once boiled throw in the bok choy for 5 seconds and then once blanched remove it and strain the water
  10. Cook the brown rice once the garlic and onion have been sautéd with the ingredients above
  11. Once cooked mix the rice, tofu and vegetables in a wok
  12. Add the sesame seeds and coriander leaves
  13. Pour the sauce over the mixture and give it a toss!

Brown rice bowl

Zucchini and bean salad

Bean salad with asparagus and zucchini

This salad is a complete and filling meal packed with energy and fiber. A most nutritious salad rich in protein and other nutrients. Zucchini is high in antioxidants especially like carotenoid which is great for eye and heart health. These antioxidants are most prevalent in the skin of the zucchini so be sure to eat the zucchini whole. The presence of cumin seed powder not only gives it a delicious mediterranean kick but, also further enhances the nutritious value of this salad. Cumin seeds have many health benefits including fighting infections, enabling a healthy digestion and also have anti-inflammatory properties. Cayenne pepper is another spice that has great nutritional value. It is known for it’s ability to boost metabolism, improve digestion and may also help lower blood pressure.

Serves 4

Ingredients :

  1. Organic red kidney beans 400 gms
  2. Organic black beans 400 gms
  3. 1 big zucchini quartered
  4. 5 thin stalks of asparagus
  5. 3/4 cup scallion chopped
  6. A bunch of coriander leaves
  7. 2 tbsp of cubed feta cheese
  8. 1 tbsp olive oil
  9. 1 tsp garlic minced
  10. 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  11. 1 tsp sea salt

Salad dressing :

  1. 1 tsp tahini
  2. 1 tsp sea salt
  3. 1 tsp cumin seed powder
  4. 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  5. 1 tsp raw honey
  6. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  7. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  8. 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Method :

  1. Cut zucchini into quarters and lay the pieces out on a baking pan
  2. Place the asparagus stalks next to the zucchini
  3. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt, black pepper, and the chopped garlic
  4. Bake zucchini and asparagus in the oven at 180C for 20 mins
Grilled Zucchini
  1. Slice the scallion into 1/2 inch pieces
  2. Cut the asparagus into small pieces
  3. Separate the coriander leaves from the stalks
  4. Make the salad dressing
  5. Toss everything together pour the salad dressing over and serve it warm!
Protein packed salad!

Nutrient-dense kale salad!

Kale, Chicken, Apple, Sweet potatoes, feta cheese, walnuts and sunflower seeds

This salad has sufficient protein, good fats and nutrient rich kale. The chicken and quinoa both provide a good amount of protein for this meal and kale is packed with a wide range of nutrients like calcium, vitamins C and K, antioxidants and fiber. It is an energising and satiating meal to have for lunch. It will keep you going for the day.

Serving size 4

Ingredients for salad :

  1. 1 cup cooked organic tricolor quinoa (1/3 cup uncooked quinoa)
  2. 4 cups kale leaves
  3. 1 small organic apple
  4. 1 medium size sweet potato
  5. 1 free range chicken breast
  6. 1 tsp rosemary sprigs fresh or dry
  7. 2 garlic pods
  8. 2 tbsp feta cheese
  9. 16 raw walnuts
  10. 1 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
  11. 1 tbsp olive oil
  12. 1 tsp himalayan salt
  13. 1 tsp cracked black pepper

Ingredients for salad dressing :

  1. 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  2. 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  3. 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  4. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  5. 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  6. 1 tbsp raw unfiltered organic honey

Method :

  1. Boil quinoa with a 1/2 tsp of himalayan salt
  2. Place the chicken breast with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, pinch of black pepper, 1/2 tsp himalayan salt, garlic pods whole and rosemary in the oven at 180 C for 15 mins
  3. Once cooked cut the chicken breast into long strips
  4. Dice the sweet potato and grill it with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of black pepper at 180C for 5 mins
  5. Bake the walnuts and sunflower seeds at 180 C for 2 mins
  6. Chop kale leaves to desired size
  7. Thinly slice the apple
  8. Dice feta cheese
  9. Make the salad dressing
  10. Mix all of above, dress it and serve!
Nutritious Kale Salad

Satisfying and nutritious Nutty Brown Rice Bowl!

Veggie rice bowl

Brown rice does not only have a nutty and wholesome flavour but, it is also as you must know a super healthy low GI food. It’s high fiber content allows it to be a favourite for heart health, optimum digestion and promotes fullness in small quantities.

Tofu used in this bowl is a non-gmo hard pressed one which is easy to sauté and does not break easily when mixed in rice. It is high in protein with all 8 essential amino acids – the ones we do not make in our body. So, it is a great protein option for vegetarians and vegans.

Sesame seed oil is my preferred choice for wok cooking, especially in this particular dish where I want the nutty aroma and the taste of asian flavour. It is a healthy oil as it is high in unsaturated fat. The sesame seeds are a powerhouse for minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

The ample quantity of vegetables makes it super nutritious! Packed with vitamins A, B and C and anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

Serving size 4

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup organic brown rice
  2. 2/3 cup chopped carrots
  3. 1 cup chopped yellow and red bell peppers
  4. 1 cup chopped fine green beans
  5. 2/3 cup organic corn
  6. 1 cup bok choy (steamed and chopped)
  7. 1 cup tofu (lightly sautéed in sesame oil)
  8. 1/2 tbsp garlic chopped
  9. 1 tbsp ginger chopped
  10. 6 thai basil leaves
  11. 2 tbsp sesame seeds (lightly roasted)
  12. 2 tbsp Sesame oil
  13. 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  14. 1 tbsp fish sauce (non-veg)
  15. 1 tsp heaped dry red chilli pepper
  16. 1 tsp heaped cracked black pepper
  17. 2 tbsp big green chilli chopped
  18. Poached egg (non-veg)
Boiled rice, steamed book choy, lightly cooked tofu, toasted sesame seeds and chopped veggies

Prep:

  1. Boil rice
  2. Steam bok choy – leaving it a bit crispy
  3. Boil corn or use from a tin with no sugar added
  4. Chop carrots, beans, green chilli pepper, red and green bell peppers
  5. Separate 6 basil leaves
  6. Finely chop garlic and ginger
  7. Saute tofu in 1 tbsp sesame oil
  8. Lightly toast sesame seeds till light brown

Method:

  1. Pour 2 tbsp sesame seed oil in a wok and warm
  2. Add garlic, ginger and basil and cook for 3 minutes
  3. Add red chilli pepper and cracked black pepper and cook for 1 minute
  4. Throw in the carrots, green beans, green chilli, and cook until soft but still a bit crispy
  5. Add the corn, bell peppers and rice and toss together a few times
Tossed rice and veggies
  1. Thrown in the bok choy and tofu
  2. Pour in the soy sauce and if you are using fish sauce
  3. Add himalayan salt to taste
  4. Toss together for 3 mins
  5. Spoon into a bowl and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top
  6. Poach and egg if you like and place it on top of the rice.
Rice bowl with tofu, nourishing veggies with sesame seeds sprinkled on top

Lean Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie came about in the late 1700s and early 1800s in Ireland. It was created in households as a simple yet nutritious meal that was meant to incorporate the leftovers in the house. It has since then been cooked using different kinds of mince meat and leftover vegetables in the fridge. This combination of meat and vegetables is sealed with mashed potato on top. Once in the oven a golden crispy potato covering forms and it blends in beautifully with the meat and veggies inside. I make different combinations but the two I like the most are, chicken mince with spinach and the lamb mince with carrots and celery.

You begin by cooking the meat, which is cooked on low fire in a rich bed of sliced onions, garlic, ginger and herbs. It’s cooked in olive oil which is high in omega 3 fatty acids and is therefore a heart healthy oil to cook in. The vegetables are sautéed separately and then added to the minced meat. The mashed potato contains extra virgin olive oil instead of butter! It is spooned on top of the cooked meat and vegetables which have been infused with herbs and spices and then placed in the oven. The result is a truly comforting and delicious meal. The crispy yet soft texture of the potato with the succulent minced meat and vegetables makes this dish most satisfying! In this recipe I have used free range chicken mince, frozen organic spinach leaves and sautéed Shiitake mushrooms, just because I had some in the fridge.

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:

  1. Chicken – 900 gm
  2. Potatoes – 5 large
  3. Frozen Spinach – 450 gm
  4. Onion – 1 large chopped
  5. Garlic – 6 pods
  6. Ginger – 2 tbsp
  7. Mushrooms – 3/4 cup
  8. Rosemary – 1 tsp
  9. Coarse Black Pepper – 2 tsp
  10. Himalayan Salt – 2 tsp
  11. Fresh red chilli – 1 chopped
  12. Dried red chilli flakes – 1 tsp
  13. Cayenne pepper – 1 tsp
  14. Olive oil – 3 tbsp
  15. Virgin olive oil – 1 tbsp
  16. Free range chicken stock – 1 cup
  17. Worcester sauce – 4 tsp
  18. Rice flour – 1 tsp
  19. Pre-heat oven to 180 C with the grill on
Ingredients: Onion, garlic, ginger, himalayan salt, black pepper, dried rosemary, red chilli

Method:

Mash the potato :

  • Boil the potatoes
  • Mash with a stainless steel masher
  • Add 1 tsp himalayan salt
  • Add 1 tsp black pepper
  • Add 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Mix it all thoroughly into the mashed potato

Cook chicken and spinach :

  • Put 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and add the onion, 4 garlic pods, ginger
Onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli pepper, rosemary, salt and pepper cooked in olive oil
  • Cook on low fire until soft
  • Add rosemary, salt, black pepper, fresh red chilli and cook for 1 minute
  • Add the chicken mince
  • Add the stock with the rice flour dissolved in it
  • Sauté the spinach separately in another pan with 1 garlic pod, 1 tbsp of chopped onion and 1 tbsp olive oil
Sautéed Spinach
  • Add the cooked spinach to the chicken mince and cook on low fire for 10 mins
Chicken mince and spinach cooked
  • Sauté the mushrooms in olive oil separately
  • Add them to the chicken and spinach

Layer the Shepherd’s pie

  • Then spoon the mixture into a pyrex or any baking dish and cover with the mashed potato
  • Smooth and flatten the mashed potato and then with a fork make grooves
  • Place the dish in the oven under the grill
  • As the potato turns golden in colour you can take it out
  • Let it stand for 2 minutes and then serve!
Shepherd’s pie with a golden crispy layer of potato on top

Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella

As we are all working on boosting our immunity, I thought of preparing a wholesome and nutrient rich Seafood Paella for the family! The shellfish in this recipe are rich in iron, zinc, magnesium and vitamin B12. Zinc in particular helps fight off colds and upper respiratory infections, acts like an anti-oxidant and reduces inflammation due to bacterial or viral illnesses. Vitamin B12 is great for mental health and also ensures that we are building enough red blood cells to carry the oxygen we need for our energy and hence immunity. Shellfish are also rich Omega-3 fatty acids which provide brain and heart health.

Ginger and garlic both have anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. A dose of them everyday is great for boosting your immune system.

In this recipe I chose to use Cobia fillets, however you can use any other firm white fish like Cod, Haddock, Monkfish amongst others. The mussels I used were farmed and so did not need brushing and bearding like you would need to do for wild mussels. The squid just needed to be washed and have it’s beak and eyes removed. I cut it into pieces – this time instead of cutting them into circular pieces I cut them into long pieces. If you are not too fond of squid, you can use scallops instead.

Serves 6.

Ingredients:

  1. White fish – 200 gms
  2. Mussels – 1 kg
  3. Prawns – 200 gms
  4. Squid – 200 gms
  5. Tomatoes – 2 medium size
  6. Carrots – 1 1/2 large size
  7. Onion – 1 medium size
  8. Ginger – 2 tbsp
  9. Garlic – 1 tbsp
  10. Fresh long Red Chilli peppers – 2 tbsps
  11. Basil leaves – 5-6
  12. Lemon juice – 1/4 cup
  13. Cracked black pepper – 2 tsp
  14. Pink Himalayan salt – 2 tsp
  15. Saffron – pinch
  16. White wine – 1 glass
  17. Jasmine rice – 1 1/2 cup
  18. Bunch of coriander
  19. Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  20. Fish or vegetable stock – 2 cups

Preparation:

Chopped vegetables
  • Chop tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, ginger and long red chilli
Mussels, Prawn, Squid, White Fish
  • De-vein the prawns
  • Slice the squid into long pieces
  • Cut the Fish into small pieces

Method:

  • Cook all chopped vegetables in 1 tbsp of olive oil on low heat
  • Add a pinch of saffron to the wine and leave for 5 minutes
  • Then add basil to the veggies, 1 tsp salt, wine and saffron, stock, lemon juice, 1 tsp black pepper and continue cooking till half cooked
Chopped veggies cooking on low fire with salt, wine, water, saffron, black pepper
  • Cook all fish except mussels in a another pan and add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper till the fish gets it’s colour, then close the lid
Prawns, Squid and White Fish with salt and black pepper
  • Add mussels to the fish and cover and cook till the mussels open up – around 30 seconds
  • Add the uncooked rice and the partially cooked fish to the pan with the veggies
  • Sprinkle coriander leaves on top, cover and cook on low fire for 10-15 minutes
Fish cooking with rice

And it is ready to be served!

Seafood Paella

Easy Chicken Casserole

Serves 6

This is an easy to prepare, wholesome and comforting food. It is a delicious inclusion of commonly bought healthy immune boosting foods without the hassle of buying ingredients that put you in a spin! Here are some nutritional values of the foods going into this beautiful dish:

Carrots – rich in Vitamin A which strengthens the immune system, eyesight and is beneficial for the optimum functioning of heart, lungs and kidneys

Mushroom – is a food touted for it’s health benefits since the earliest history. The ancient Greeks called it the “Food of the Gods” and thought that it provided strength for the warriors in battle. The Chinese culture has considered it an “elixir of life”. Mushrooms are nutrient rich with high amounts of selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D, proteins, and fiber. Mushrooms have antibacterial properties, boost the immune system and lower cholesterol

Free-range chicken – is a complete protein with no added hormones and antibiotics, as it has been a healthy bird having been allowed to roam freely

Ingredients:

  1. Carrot – 1 big
  2. Mushrooms – 5
  3. Tomatoes – 3
  4. Capsicum – 1/2
  5. Celery Stick – 1
  6. Onion – 1 medium
  7. Garlic – 5 cloves
  8. Ginger – 2 tbsps chopped
  9. Rosemary – 1 tsp dried or fresh
  10. Chilli pepper flakes – 1 tsp dried
  11. Coarse black pepper – 1 tsp
  12. Pink himalayan salt – 1 tsp
  13. Miso – 1 tbsp
  14. Balsamic Vinegar – 2 tbsp
  15. 2 tbsp Olive oil
  16. Free range chicken – 1.5 kg
  17. Water – 2 cups
  18. 1 tbsp brown rice flour

Method:

Cut chicken into 10 pieces

Chop onions, ginger and rosemary (if fresh) into fine pieces

Slice the capsicum, celery and mushrooms

Chop carrots and tomatoes into small pieces

Mix 1 tbsp Miso in water enough to dissolve it

Preparation

Add olive oil into a pan and sauté the onions, garlic, ginger and add in the rosemary, chilli flakes, pepper and salt

Onions, ginger, garlic and spices

Add in the vegetables and cook for 2 mins

Put the chicken and all the contents from the pan into the casserole dish

Pour the miso liquid mix, water with brown rice flour dissolved in it and balsamic vinegar into the casserole, cover it and and place it in the oven at 180 C for 40 mins

Chicken Casserole

Remove and serve with homemade sourdough garlic bread!

5 ways you can boost your immune system…

As we find ourselves flung into these most uncertain times, everything we have known and are accustomed to has come to an eerie halt. With countries reeling from illness and death, all we can do is isolate ourselves and look on hoping that it will end before more lives are taken away.

I had a tough time accepting this new reality and coping with it. In experiencing feelings of fear, sadness and helplessness I found that acceptance was the first step to change this mental state. Once I accepted this conundrum that we had been presented with I was then able to move forward with my daily responsibilities, appreciating each day as it came. I began to work harder on building my immunity and found that this had a profound impact on my stress levels helping me feel happier, fitter and mentally stronger.

A healthy body helps fight off infections or at least lessons the severity of infections. If there is anytime in your lives you need to step up your efforts towards bettering your health both physical and mental, it is now. I have therefore listed below 5 simple ways you can boost your immune system:

  1. Sleep
Shuttershock

Try to catch 8 hours of the sleep cycle mostly between 9 pm to 9 am. This is when our melatonin levels are highest and we get the most restful sleep. Since, these days our cortisol levels (stress hormones) are raised and serotonin levels (happy hormones) are low we may need to assist ourselves to sleep. There are foods that are rich in micronutrients that can help with reducing cortisol and increasing serotonin levels. These are Magnesium, Vitamin D, Zinc, Vitamin Bs and Melatonin. Try to eat foods that are rich in these vitamins and minerals:

Magnesium

  1. Green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach, kale and kailan)
  2. Avocado
  3. Bananas
  4. Salmon
  5. Whole grains (e.g., brown rice, whole wheat and quinoa)
  6. Legumes (e.g., beans and lentils)
  7. Cashews, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts
  8. Raw cacao, or dark chocolate

Vitamin D

  1. Salmon, sardines, tuna and herring
  2. Cod liver oil
  3. Egg yolk
  4. Fortified dairy products
  5. Mushrooms

Zinc

  1. Beef (grass-fed), lamb, and chicken (free-range)
  2. Crab
  3. Oysters
  4. Legumes – beans and lentils (soaked overnight)
  5. Sesame, pumpkin, flax and hemp seeds (roasted or sprouted)
  6. Almonds, cashews, pine nuts, peanuts (roasted or sprouted)
  7. Dairy (organic or free-range)
  8. Eggs (free-range)
  9. Oats, brown rice, quinoa
  10. Raw Cacao, or dark chocolate

Vitamin Bs

  1. Leafy vegetables
  2. Salmon and trout
  3. Oysters, mussels, and clams
  4. Beef (grass-fed), lamb
  5. Organ meats (liver)
  6. Eggs (free-range)
  7. Dairy products (free-range)

Melatonin

Together with the above micronutrients taking a supplement of natural melatonin can be useful for aiding you to sleep. Fruits that may contain melatonin may help you fall asleep faster and wake up less often during the night:

  1. Tart cherry juice and whole tart cherries (contain a lot of melatonin)
  2. Bananas, pineapple, and oranges

An hour before you plan to sleep, avoid watching the news or reading articles pertaining to this present situation on your tablet, or updates of the cases in your city. Instead get into a book and read yourself to sleep.

2. Exercise and Movement

Discover magazine

Now more than ever we are leading more sedentary lives. So try to get in an hour of cardio (Treadmill, elliptical, stationary bikes, online apps) three times a week and an hour of strengthening exercises (yoga, pilates, weights) twice a week.

Exercise helps expand the lungs and eliminate bacteria, decreasing the possibility of getting colds, flus and viruses. Exercise reduces levels of cortisol and it helps stimulate endorphins – these are chemicals that help make us happy. It also promotes good circulation, which aids the cells of the immune system to function efficiently.

In addition to planned exercise a concerted effort needs to be made to move around the house during the day. You can also do some arm exercises and leg stretches while sitting at your desk.

ARM EXERCISES

For shoulder and posture:

Raise your arms to the same level as your shoulder to form a T shape with your body. Extend the arms with the palms facing down and do 20 forward circles – then flip your palms to face upwards and do 20 backward circles with your arms. Do these 3 times.

LEG EXERCISES

For hips and thighs:

Sit on the edge of your chair and extend one leg straight and flex your foot with your toes pointing to the sky. Lift it up as high as you can and hold for 5 counts and repeat this with the other leg. Do at least 10 reps with each leg.

3. Mindful practice while lying in bed

Harvard Medical School article

Meditation has been known to increase immunity by lowering cortisol and inflammatory chemicals in our bodies. There are different kinds of meditation of which “Mindful practice” is one. This is a relatively easy way to meditate. This type of meditation is based on being mindful, or having an increased awareness of living in the present moment.

You can do this while lying in bed before you sleep. Relax your muscles (e.g., in your shoulders, neck, face, hips, stomach, feet). Then place one hand on your stomach and the other hand straight by your side on the bed and close your eyes. Then breathe gently through your nose and let your stomach expand, so that your hand rises and breathe out through your nose as your stomach contracts and falls. Keep this going for a minute and then gradually increase the duration over time. During this practice you need to keep your attention focused on your breath and though you don’t have to block your thoughts allowing them to come to you, you should try not to engage in them.

4. Breathing exercises

Diaphragmatic Breathing Kokju Ho Adem Abdomen PNG image

Before you begin these exercises use a Nette pot or a saline spray to cleanse your nasal passages. The main purpose of these exercises is to expand your lungs so that oxygen goes right down to the small air sacs and the lung is inflated optimally. We usually tend to engage in shallow breathing as we don’t want to expand our abdomen, which we are in a habit of pulling in. We do not breathe using our full lung capacity instead use the muscles in the neck, back and chest for breathing rather than our diaphragm (the main muscle of respiration). According to the American Lung Association we need to ensure that we are using our diaphragm to it’s full capacity so that it can expand our lungs and efficiently bring in clean oxygenated air.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Helps expand the diaphragm to it’s fullest allowing our lungs to fill up with oxygen and also enabling us to expel all the carbon dioxide from the lungs.

  • Sit up or lie down comfortably
  • Relax your shoulder, neck and chest muscles
  • Breathe in through your nose till you expand you stomach – like you are filling up a balloon
  • Breathe out through your mouth emptying your lungs – like you are blowing bubbles
  • Repeat this for a duration of 5 minutes in the day

Pursed Lip breathing

Aids in reducing the number of breaths and helps keep our airways open longer. This enables more air to flow in and out of our lungs so that we can keep up a physically active life.

  • Breathe in through your nose
  • Breathe out for at least twice as long through your mouth with your lips pursed
  • Try to do this at least twice a day for 10 counts each time

5. FOODS THAT HELP BOOST IMMUNE SYSTEM

The immune system helps fight off pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. When a pathogen enters the body the immune system triggers a response by releasing antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to the antigens on the pathogens to kill them. Including certain foods into our diet can help make our immune response stronger. See the foods listed below which help boost the immune system:

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  1. Blueberries – have antioxidant properties which play an important role in the respiratory tract’s immune defence system.
  2. Turmeric– has a compound called curcumin which helps fight inflammation in the body, enabling a strong immune response.
  3. Oily fish – like sardines, salmon, mackerel and tuna. These fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which also are important for ensuring that the immune system functions well.
  4. Broccoli – an excellent source of Vitamin C. It supports the immune system to function healthily.
  5. Sweet potatoes – a good source of Vitamin A which helps in the optimal functioning of the immune system.
  6. Spinach – contains a good amount of essential nutrients like Vitamin C and E and antioxidants which support the immune system to function well.
  7. Ginger – has antioxidant properties which can help with boosting the immune system defence of the respiratory tract.
  8. Garlic – has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that help fight colds.
  9. Kefir – is a fermented drink which is rich in live cultures of good gut bacteria and these influence the healthy functioning of the immune system.
  10. Sunflower seeds – are rich in Vitamin E which has antioxidant properties and help boost the immune system. A handful a day is sufficient.
  11. Almonds – are also an excellent source of Vitamin E. You need to have only a quarter of a cup a day.
  12. Oranges and Kiwis – are rich in Vitamin C and they help reduce the duration of colds and support the immune system to function well.
  13. Bell peppers – are an excellent source of Vitamin C and they are low in sugar. They are known to boost the immune system and fight off colds.

A combination of the above foods eaten in the recommended portions a day are essential for boosting the immune system. This includes eating 5 portions (80 grams per portion) daily of the fruit and vegetables mentioned above.

A portion of fruit is a whole banana or apple and a portion of vegetable is 1/2 cup of raw vegetables, 1 cup of leafy green vegetables or 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables.

Have fish at least 3 times in the week and a handful of nuts and seeds a day. Cook with garlic and ginger and periodically and add turmeric to your food.