- Health & Wellness
Try This Immunity-Boosting Sweet Treat!
Zinc is a major player in keeping us protected from diseases. Here’s how to have it every day
Our immune system comprises a complex machinery. The nutrients that we consume (both macro and micro) support the cells and the tissues of the body’s immune system. A deficiency in any of the supporting nutrients can negatively impact our resistance to infections.
For the immune system to function as intended, we require the following nutrients—Vitamins A, C, D, E, folate, and the micronutrients—zinc, selenium, magnesium and iron. Soluble fibre, probiotics and Omega 3 fats are also important players in our immunity toolkit.
Today, let’s take a closer look at the mineral zinc. Chicken is a good source of zinc, which explains why chicken soup is a time-tested food for fighting a cold or the flu. For vegetarians, good sources of zinc are dals, pulses and legumes, including soya bean. Nuts and oilseeds are another food group that provide a good amount of zinc. The requirement of zinc ranges from 8-12 mg per day, depending upon your age and gender. It is fairly easy to meet the body’s daily requirement for zinc by including some of its good food sources in the diet.
Recipe: Sweet & Nutty Bites
This recipe packs in a fair quota of zinc and also works as an excellent mood elevator. The seeds and nuts used in this recipe are valuable sources not just of zinc, but also of Omega 3 fats, proteins, selenium and magnesium. The vitamin B6 present in these nuts and seeds plays the role of a mood uplifter. During this ongoing pandemic, it is but natural that worry, anxiety and sadness are the predominant emotions many of us are experiencing. Practising calming breathing techniques, engaging in activities we enjoy, and regular physical exercise are some ways of countering these negative emotions.
Adding a small portion of sweet or dessert to the menu can also help uplift a low mood. Of course, make sure to keep a tab on your daily intake of added/processed sugar (it should be no more than 5 per cent of the total daily calories consumed).
Try this recipe which is a perfect fit for enhancing immunity and your mood.
Makes 10-12 small dumplings
¼ cup roasted peanut, ground
¼ cup seed mixture (sesame seeds - black or white)
¼ cup nuts (walnut/almond/cashew)
½ cup fruit (sun melon/papaya/apple, mashed to a smooth paste)
2 tbsp honey or jaggery powder
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
Grind the nuts and seeds to a smooth and fine consistency. Add the peanut powder, cinnamon powder and the mashed fruit paste. Mix well. Roll the mixture to form small round dumplings.
Instead of the fresh fruit, you could also use dried fruits such as dates, figs or raisins. You could chop these finely, or place them in the blender for a smooth consistency.
You could also choose from a wide range of seeds for this recipe. The seeds of watermelon, pumpkin, chia, garden cress (halim) and poppy are some good options.
Neelanjana Singh is a nutrition therapist with 30 years experience and the author of Our Kid Eats Everything.
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