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To boost immunity, focus on diet and lifestyle. Pixabay

By Puja Gupta

Due to the fear of Covid-19 pandemic, ‘immunity’ has replaced weight loss as the new ‘It’ word. Everyone is either talking about ways to boost it or what to eat to keep immunity levels high. And rightly so, as prevention seems to be the only way to give the rampant infection a skip.

The only way we ensure a robust immunity is to work actively at boosting it and focus on one’s diet and lifestyle.

To get a tough immune system, we need to follow a few lifestyle course corrections like ensuring you get enough sleep, exercising regularly, keeping stress in check and eating the right foods that provide macro and micronutrients.

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We need to focus specifically on protein, as this macronutrient is made up of amino acids which are utilized by the body to manufacture antibodies to protect us against a wide range of infections states Kavita Devgan, Nutritionist and weight management consultant.

Focus specifically on protein, as this macronutrient is made up of amino acids Pixabay

Unfortunately though this is a challenge that needs to be taken head on as a recent study done by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and CGIAR research program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) has revealed that across all strata of society, Indians have excess consumption of cereals but not enough proteins, fruits, and vegetables in their diets, and thus on the nutrition front Indian diets are below optimal, she points out.

To mark Protein Week 2020 that begins on July 24, Devgan suggests how you can ensure you score enough:

Definitely include a good protein source in all three main meals of the day and additionally have a protein snack every day too.

Look closely at your plate to check whether you are eating enough foods such as meats, eggs, dairy, seafood, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans that deliver a good amount of protein.

Include mixed nuts and seeds in your diet. Cashews, almonds, walnuts, peanuts and all seeds are loaded with protein, so mix them up, sprinkle a bit of herbs and pepper and munch on them. Blend them into nut butters and spread on bread and crackers or toss them into your bowl of oats or muesli.

Focus on lentils and beans. At 15-18 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml), lentils are a great source of protein.

Not all food sources of protein contain all the nine essential amino acids our body requires. Pixabay

Include high protein grains like quinoa, bajra, buckwheat and amaranth that deliver good amount to your diet.

Not all food sources of protein contain all the nine essential amino acids our body requires. Food of animal origin such as egg, milk provide high quality protein while plant sources are low in protein quality. As majority of the protein in Indian diets comes from vegetarian sources, our diets tend to be low in quality protein.

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A balanced diet is the way to ensure enough protien. Balance your protein. Combine plant foods wisely to cover all essential amino acids. For example, legumes (cooked dried beans, dried peas, and lentils) are low in sulfur-containing amino acids (such as methionine), but they are high in another amino acid called lysine. Grains (rice, wheat, bajra, etc.) are just the opposite. So, by eating both together or during the course of a day, you can get what you need. Dal chawal, khichri, pita bread with hummus are good examples of complementary proteins.

If your protein need is not being met by your diet or the needs are high (like in the elderly, the teenagers, the pregnant and lactation women or those recovering from an illness), supplementation with a high-quality protein source could help to bridge the gap.

It’s time to take protein seriously, add it adequately to your daily diet, to prevent serious health issues and keep your immune function optimum. (IANS)



K'taka Hijab Row Triggers Debate.

By M.K. Ashoka

The issue of wearing a hijab (head covering worn in public by Muslim women) to the colleges along with the uniform has sparked a debate in Karnataka over religious practices impacting the education system in the state. The matter has also snowballed into a controversy on whether the hijab could be considered as part of the uniform. The ruling BJP is deliberating on whether to take a call on allowing hijab as part of the uniform of college students. State Education Minister B.C. Nagesh, while opposing the wearing of hijab to classrooms, has said that a decision would be taken on the issue soon by the government.

The experts as well as students are divided over the issue. Those who are in favour state that the dress code in classrooms should not indicate faith or religion as it creates barriers between students as well as teachers. Those who support the wearing of hijab say that hijab should be treated as a scarf. Hijab is black in colour and it can't be a religious symbol as Islam is identified with the green colour. The hijab should be treated as a symbol of chastity, they maintain.

The denial of permission to six girls in the Government Girls' Pre University College in the communally sensitive district of Udupi in the state has created a controversy. Nagesh dubbed it as a political move and questioned whether centres of learning should become religious centres. Meanwhile, the girl students have decided to continue their protest until they are allowed to attend classes wearing hijab.

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Police have come under sustained attack around the country. | Unsplash

An Indian-American police officer, who has been on the job for just over six months, is being hailed a hero for rushing to neutralize a gunman who shot a police officer and wounded another. Sumit Sulan, 27, shot the assailant who surprised the officers opening fire on them in his mother's flat on January 21 where police were called because of a domestic dispute. Jason Rivera, 22, was killed and Wilbert Mora, 27, was wounded, but Sulan who was in the police party advanced and shot the alleged gunman, Lashawn McNeil, 47, according to police.

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The most common allergen in India are milk, egg and peanuts.

By Dr Nidhi Gupta

Motherhood comes with its own mixed bag of emotions; we want to save our child from every little peril that comes their way, including allergies. The most common allergen in India are milk, egg and peanuts. According to the IAP survey, 11.4 per cent children under the age of 14 years suffer from some form of allergies and they usually peak around the month of May.

The symptoms of allergy range from runny nose, sneezing, coughing, rashes, watery and red eyes to swollen tongue and breathing difficulties. A child experiences serious discomfort and it leaves the parents hopeless at times. Allergies develop slowly over time; parents need to have patience and commitment towards managing them. However, there are certain ways in which we, as parents, can contribute in prevention and possible alleviation of the problems.

* Do Not Stress

Staying stress-free and calm is very important during this time. Creating panic will only add to the misery. Once we know about the symptoms, our mandate must be to keep a first-aid antiallergic kit at home. We can make this kit with the help of our paediatrician.

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