Hippocrates said it first, “let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.”
Most people consume food for satiation.
Where satiation involves satisfying hunger, nourishment is about fulfilling the requirements the body needs in order to operate at a healthy level. Eating to satiate covers the basic nutrient requirements. Eating to nourish, however, provides the body with the capacity to function at its highest potential.
So how does this have anything to do with the coronavirus?
What we know about the novel coronavirus is that it is affecting the immunocompromised the most, and leaving the healthy, for the most part, alone. Therefore, with no vaccine currently available, it is important to stay on the healthy side of the spectrum.
The key to staying healthy is nourishment—specifically, nourishment rich in phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are a group of compounds found in plants that contain bioactive properties responsible for various health benefits, including antiviral properties.
The following three superfoods are packed with phytochemicals and have shown promising results in fighting viruses. Additionally, each of these foods can be grown right at home with just water.
1. Mung bean sprouts
Mung bean extracts have shown to be effective against both respiratory syncytial virus (seasonal cold) and herpes simplex virus. In addition to its antiviral properties, mung bean sprouts have also demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, and anti-cancer properties.
How to grow mung bean sprouts in a plastic water bottle:
Soak a quarter cup of mung beans in a bowl for 12 hours. After being soaked, the mung beans should begin to expand.
Grab an empty plastic bottle and poke a few drainage holes at the bottom. Drain the mung beans and place them inside the bottle. Screw on the lid, and place the bottle upside down in a glass bowl (to drain excess water). Store it in a dark area that does not receive sunlight. Rinse the mung beans with water 2 or 3 times a day, ensuring that the water gets drained through. Within a week, the mung beans will have sprouted and will be ready to be eaten.
2. Green Onions
When observed as a treatment in mice for the H1N1 influenza, consumption of green onions showed to improve the innate immune response against viral replication and spread, and increase antibody production.
How to grow green onions from cuttings:
Cut a bunch of green onions about three inches from the base. Place the cuttings (with roots at the bottom) in a mason jar and fill the jar with enough water to cover the roots. Place the jar in a sunny area. Monitor water levels and replace the water every few days. Within a week, new shoots should emerge.
3. Broccoli sprouts
Broccoli sprouts are the best source of sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is a potent phytochemical with antiviral properties against Hepatitis C, H1N1, and HIV viruses. In addition, sulforaphane has shown protective effects on the lungs when consumed via broccoli sprouts. In a 12 week study, participants who consumed sulforaphane showed immediate and sustained urinary excretions of airborne pollutants. In a 14 week study, consumption of sulforaphane improved the respiratory condition of asthmatics.
Sulforaphane content is compromised when heated so broccoli sprouts are best eaten raw. Mustard seed powder can be sprinkled onto broccoli sprouts to increase sulforaphane content.
Growing broccoli sprouts is similar to growing mung bean sprouts. Alternatively to a water bottle, a mason jar with a sprouting lid can be used instead.