Just as we thought we were seeing the light through the darkness, this pandemic is yet again on the rise. Many healthcare professionals, politicians, and even civilians are busy contemplating the remedies to combat this global battle on an individual level. Many ask themselves, 

“When will the vaccines become available?”, 

“What prescriptions do I take if I contract this nasty virus?”,

…and so on. 

When dealing with viral infections, prescription medicines help to ease symptoms. But, what about our immune system which is solely responsible for fighting the virus? The human body is naturally resilient and persistent when properly equipped, and the best way to prepare our bodies is through immune-boosting foods that we choose to consume. 

Food has always been the biggest problem during my adolescent years. Growing up in Spanish Town, Jamaica, I didn’t always have this choice. My life was a constant, recurring list of things to do to ensure my survival. The first thing one must do when you’re poor in Spanish Town is to find food. If there was no food to be had, I would forage like so many others in my town. I would make a small wood or charcoal fire, split open some green bananas, throw a little salt on top, roast and eat them. Or I’d grab a coconut, split it open and roast that as well. Every day I felt the pangs of hunger. Sometimes I’d feel impossibly empty, so much so that the second I got any food, I’d shove it into my mouth and eat as quickly as I could. The concept that a person could enjoy food was not a luxury that I experienced. 

Just how much food and a proper diet actually mattered, well, this was something that I discovered through my adult years. Now, living in Queens, New York, I am faced with this luxury of choosing what foods I consume. As I became more knowledgeable in the healthcare industry, I became aware of the power of our diet. Our diet determines our state of health, a concept that many realized as the pandemic plagued humanity. I began to wonder about the superfoods that were available in Jamaica. 

There are many antiviral herbs, vegetables, and foods that grow in the Caribbean, that boost the immune system and help to prevent viral infections. The following is a list that includes some of the best Jamaican immune-system boosters to fight off coronavirus.

The top antiviral foods include: 

  • Elderberry
  • Echinacea
  • Calendula
  • Garlic
  • Astragalus Root
  • Cat’s Claw Ginger 
  • GoldenSeal 
  • Licorice Root
  • Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, and cabbage)
  • Citrus fruits
  • Probiotic-rich foods and beverages (fermented)

Thankfully through persistence, I have learned the true meaning of “Your food is your medicine and your medicine is your food.”

By Patricia Smith, Founder and Author of I, Persist