Agriculture chief lists malunggay, tomatoes, local fruits, veggies that help fight off infections like novel coronavirus

HSBC Philippines
Fruits Veggies for nCov
Locally available tomatoes are among the fruits and vegetables recommended to boost the immune system. Photo from Bureau of Plant Industry.

Fruits and veggies a day help keep infections and nCoV away – borrowing from the familiar Western saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” – thus says the Philippines’ agriculture chief who recommended locally available agricultural products to boost the immune system.

Department of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said that people should be consuming more readily available agricultural products to stay healthy amidst the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (nCoV).

“We have a lot of native, nutritious fruits and vegetables that are known to help the body fight off diseases. Hence, Let’s try to consume more to boost our health—more so now, with the outbreak of influenza and the 2019 nCoV,” the DA chief said told media on February 7, 2020.

Secretary Dar has the right idea and his advice is just common sense: “Let’s heed and support the call support of the Department of Health’s call to boost our body’s immune system to fight virus and bacterial attacks and reduce the risks of disease infections.”

“We have long been taught that the immune system helps the body fight off infections caused by viruses and speed up the recovery process after an infection,” the DA chief added.

In a time of uncertainty as the novel coronavirus continues to spread and infect more and more people each day and with no vaccine nor cure in sight, it is just practical to remind people to keep themselves healthy and fit.

Like in the song “Bahay Kubo”, Secretary Dar reminds us that there are a lot of herbs, vegetables, and tasty fruits out there that we can enjoy and at the same time keep us healthy and help our immune system.

The agriculture chief recommends the following:

• Vitamin C tops the list of immune boosters and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C are papaya, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, and citrus fruits like guava, calamansi, and dayap.
• Malunggay or moringa—also known as the miracle vegetable—tops them all. According to studies, three tablespoons of powdered malunggay leaves contain 27 percent (%) Vitamin A and 22% Vitamin C, which is equivalent to seven oranges.
• Vitamin A contains beta-carotene and retinol, which are important to immune function. The best sources are carrots, sweet potatoes, and mangoes; green leafy vegetables as well as red fruits and vegetables, like watermelon and tomatoes.
• Garlic is an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial immune booster. Aside from being useful in the kitchen, it has been proven to heal infection because of its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
• Honey also has anti-bacterial properties for cold, flu, and sore throat.
• Lagundi or the five-leaf chaste tree (Vitex negundo), has been scientifically proven to be effective in reducing cough, colds, and fever.
• Another plant rich in Vitamin A, potassium, calcium, and Vitamin C is tawa-tawa or asthma plant (Euphobia hirta). A 2014 study listed it as beneficial when it comes to maintaining the health of the upper respiratory system and increasing the blood platelet count.
• Serpentina or sinta (Rauvolfia serpentine) is known for its antiviral and antibiotic properties, making it good for infections. It is often used to help treat cough and colds. It is also used as an expectorant to help release mucus in the respiratory system.

Secretary Dar added that eating a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, coupled with whole grains and lean protein – in addition to drinking sufficient amounts of water – help boost our body’s immune system against illness and stress.

The leaves from the humble backyard tree, Malunggay, have been identified as packed with nutrients that fight off infections from viruses such as the nCoV.

Coconut oil derivatives have also been presented as potential agents to fight off bacteria and virus like the nCov.

TELL US in the comments below which are your favorite Philippine fruits and vegetables?

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