Updated: Jun 15
Amar Chandnani from Herbs of the Earth share essential tips and hacks to support our immune system
New strains of COVID-19 continue to surface as the COVID-19 virus mutates to adapt to its environment. As we continue to expediate mass vaccination across the nation, many Filipinos are asking about ways and means to protect themselves against this dreaded virus apart from the mandatory health protocols that are already in place. According to Amar, who took Nutrition Science in Stanford University in the USA, nutrient dense food and supplementation of certain vitamins, minerals and herbs are critical to support our bodies’ natural defenses against pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. “As we navigate through this pandemic and go about our daily routine, Filipinos that have a stronger immune system can ward off diseases better than others,” says Amar. “When we go out, we expose ourselves to pathogens around us but if our immune system is at its peak, infection is highly unlikely. How do we make sure our immune system is in tip top shape? Since 2019, Amar and I, have been conducting weekly live streams under their company, Herbs of the Earth, via Facebook, YouTube and through merchant sites such as Lazada. We have been giving hacks, tips and recommendations on health, wellness and wellbeing and boosting the immune system is one that is most sought after. In the middle of the surge in infections last year, Herbs of the Earth donated food supplements, vitamins and minerals to Doctors, Nurses and other front liners in hospitals and government institutions to help them ward of Covid-19. These food supplements from Herbs of the Earth are Philippine FDA registered.
During the Herbs of the Earth live streams, the Chandnani’s shared some recommendations—that are applicable to all Filipinos.
“Food is the primary source of macronutrients that our bodies need to function optimally and so it’s imperative to consider food groups that contribute to boosting our immune system and our overall health.
“Become Whole again”
“I believe there is a term we often hear – “Rice is Life” and it’s true isn’t it. I mean you’re not a Filipino if you don’t eat rice. However, the quality and processes done with commercial rice nowadays strip the grains of the much needed fiber we used to get generations ago. So choose whole grains such as red rice, black or brown rice. Avoid white rice as this has been refined to extend its expiration date. I know a lot of people cannot take brown rice because it is too tough, so go with red rice. Red rice is full of fiber and antioxidants that fight free radicals. So think of it as your anti-aging rice that’s super healthy. If you love pasta and bread, go for whole wheat grain pasta and whole wheat bread as well; again because they are rich in fiber that is beneficial to our digestion, gut flora, gut cleansing and lowers your risk of constipation. The nutrition industry is in one accord when it comes to choosing whole foods because this type of food is definitely nutrient dense.
“More vegetables – French fries do not count”
When I was growing up in Baguio, there was an abundance and a variety of vegetables to choose from but, in the Metro though, not all those vegetables find their way in the palengke. Nonetheless, Filipinos should be eating more vegetables. The portion size of vegetables should be at least 1/3 of the plate. Filipinos have been very creative when it comes to vegetable dishes especially because of this pandemic and I hope it stays that way.
“Fruits in season”
Every wonder why there are fruits that are only abundant seasonally? Well, God designed it that way for our benefit. This means that whatever fruit is in season should be consumed because it contains the nutrients our bodies need for that particular season or time of the year. Take for example mangoes. Mangoes are touted as the king of all fruits because it has tons of health benefits and they are in season during the summer months because it helps in preventing heat stroke. The enzymes in mangoes also help us lose weight.
“Go for a better protein source”
One of the most common reasons why Filipinos love red meat such as pork and beef is because we grew up being told that red meat is the best source of protein and protein gives us energy. But the truth is, we also get protein from vegetables and lean meat such as chicken or fish. “In terms of nutritional value, vegetables, particularly legumes, pulses and lentils, actually contain all the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Thus debunking the belief that , that we can only get protein from red meat” Chandnani said. “The emergence of plant based meat alternatives in our country is actually an answer to the growing demand for better protein sources that are not meat based and is also for those who crave for the consistency of meat in their diet. The main advantage of this health wise is that we rid ourselves of the unwanted saturated fats and trans fats that cause an increase in cholesterol thereby leading to many ailments such as heart disease and diabetes.
“Choose the right cooking oil”
Being on extended lockdowns have taught Filipinos to adapt and adjust. The type of food we intake should also be part of the paradigm shift starting with the oil we use for cooking. Most Filipinos love to fry their food but unfortunately, they do not know which type of oils are healthy for frying. Many oil sources, especially those containing trans fats, have been found to contribute to heart disease. Canola oil is a much better alternative as well as grapeseed oil.
“House chores = exercise”
Although some Filipinos love to exercise, majority of Pinoys would rather binge on Netflix or YouTube. If you think about it, doing house chores actually burns calories and that really is what exercise does as well. So when we take care of our house hold by cleaning, sweeping and mopping the floor, we are actually already exercising. In fact doing chores can burn up to 190 calories per hour.
“Shutdown for at least 8 hours”
Like shutting down a computer that’s been running the whole day, sleeping is our body’s way of rebooting and physiologically recharging itself. “Sleeping for at least 8 hours is the ultimate energy and immune booster,” Amar says. We often neglect the importance of sleep and the miracles that it can do to our bodies. In fact Filipino teens should get at least 9-10 hours of sleep for optimal health, mental alertness and overall wellbeing. Unfortunately, many Filipinos on average get only 6.5 hours of sleep and that’s simply not enough. “It’s like a cellphone charged at 70% and will only last for 5 hours but the tasks needed to be done daily requires at least 8 hours. Bad sleeping habits sacrifice our wellness and wellbeing and can lead to many lifestyle diseases.”
“Fuel-up with water”
The real fountain of youth is good old water but, with the many types of beverages, including alcohol, that is available, we often neglect taking in as much water as our bodies need. “Water is actually a vital nutrient needed by every cell in our body and so, when we think of water as a nutrient, we give drinking it more importance. Up to 60% of our body is water and so replenishing with at least 10 glasses of water daily is critical.
“Supplement with vitamins, minerals and herbs”
The global pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of taking food supplements to boost our immune system to fight Covid-19. Food supplements have always been a convenient source for micronutrients that are critical to the optimal functioning of our organs.
So which supplements boost our immune system apart from the common Vitamin C?
“Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex, Quercetin, Selenium and Probiotics are among the most studied vitamins and minerals that support our immune system. Then you have herbs such as Turmeric, Garlic, Ginseng, Olive leaf, Rhubarb Root, Burdock Root, and also mushrooms like shiitake, maitake and reishi. These ingredients can all be found in food supplements that support our immune system.
Not all supplements are equal and so make sure to choose supplements that do not compromise on quality and are reputably sourced. Also, choose supplements that have multiple ingredients that complement each other and pick supplements that are not genetically modified ( NON-GMO ). Go for supplements that are free from extraneous binders, fillers or artificial ingredients and potentially harmful preservatives.
For more health hacks, catch Amar and Cherisse Chandnani and the Herbs of the Earth team every week on Facebook, YouTube and Lazada Live stream. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook @herbsoftheearth. You can also chat with them via messenger or through their website at www.herbsoftheearth.com