Brunch

Chef Iro talks immune-boosting food

The global pandemic has escalated an already growing trend for health products, especially immunity-boosting food and drink. Taru Villas (Pvt.) Ltd. Corporate Executive Chef Uditha Iroshan Wijewardana, better known as Chef Iro, shared with us his thoughts on how people could remedy their pandemic blues with food that is not only delicious, but also nutritional, complete with immune-boosting properties.

While the only real recommendations are what medical health professionals endorse, along with getting oneself vaccinated, there really is no harm in making sure you’re fuelling yourself the right way to better face these extraordinary circumstances.

Chef Iro himself reiterates the importance of following preventative measures. “Many people have wondered how to overcome this situation – whether to stay safe or how to live with the pandemic. Preventive measures must be implemented and followed through. Wearing a mask, sanitising, taking vitamins, getting vaccinated, proper handwashing, social distancing, avoiding indirect contact, and following good hygiene practice can take you a long way, helping you reduce the risk for Covid-19 as well as other viruses, bacteria, and pathogens.”

Chef Iro provided that there is evidence that nutrition and other lifestyle measures influence immune strength and susceptibility to infectious diseases. “There are reasons to put what we know about the food and immune defences to use. As a chef, I suggest proper nutrition balancing is the best thing to do at this time.”

He shared that for numerous reasons, Sri Lankans tend to ignore the importance of nutrition and eating a balanced diet. “I feel people are busy with their own dreams, and a lack of real food knowledge has resulted in them trying to supplement their hunger with anything tasty and easily found nearby. This generation, chasing success without thinking to fuel their machine or providing the proper maintenance for their body, is going to face difficulties in the near future.”

He also added that celebrity culture has inspired the rapid spread of misinformation, diet culture, and other harmful practices, resulting in a younger demographic that consumes online celebrity content being manipulated into making potentially incorrect and unhealthy choices. “Unfortunately, most humans are susceptible to this; if any famous character says something is good, people will grab it without checking twice. I think everyone should think before doing, and look at how it’s going to be beneficial to them.”

Chef Iro stated that when it comes to nutrition, it is quite simple for people in countries like Sri Lanka, where there is an abundance of nutritional foods available. In doing so, he added that not only do you protect yourself, but you also lend a hand in furthering the local economy by supporting our farmers. He shared a host of fantastic immune-boosting foods readily available to us all, such as pumpkin, organic grains and seeds, Ceylon cow’s yoghurt, fresh milk, wheat flour, garlic, red onion, bananas, sweet potatoes, soups, eggs, ragi flour, avocado, natural Sri Lankan spices, citrus fruits, drumsticks, local spinach, red thampala, saarana, pomegranate, broccoli, mulberries, meat, and fish, all of which are incredible sources of immunity and support for your system.

“I feel everyone should avoid the use of artificial food products and junk food, which also might be causing you harm in their potential unsafe food wrapping, package, cups, containers, bottles, etc. The chemicals used in the production of these items will have direct contact with your food,” he said, adding: “These chemicals in plastic-like lead, cadmium, and mercury can directly bleed into your food and these toxins can cause cancers, congenital disabilities, immune system problems, and even childhood development issues.”

Chef Iro said that consuming nutritional foods can provide an extra layer of protection to us all, especially to those of us who may be suffering from any immunocompromising disorders.