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Melatonin and Proper Diet to Combat Coronavirus?

By Teddy S. Manansala, RND, D/MENRM, MSc

While the world is confronted with uncertainties brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, we should also remember to focus on revitalizing our immune system, which acts as our natural defense against this virus.


The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recommends following the principle of a balanced diet using the Pinggang Pinoy as a menu planning guide, which emphasizes various portions of Go, Glow, and Grow food, complemented by fats and oils and high intake of water.

Melatonin likewise revitalizes the immune system. It regulates human physiological rhythm, alleviates related disorders like insomnia, acts as an antioxidant, enhances the immune system, shows anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects, and facilitates the control of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity.

Enrich your diet with these food sources of melatonin:

Non-glutinous black rice contains twice the level of melatonin while the concentration is reduced to a third when rice is polished. For other cereals, melatonin is found relatively high in wheat, barley, and oats. Meanwhile, bread crumbs have higher levels than the crust.

These are the highest containing in decreasing order: skin of grapes, cherry, and strawberry. Others include pineapple, kiwi, apple, pomegranate, mulberry, and cranberry.

Legumes and seeds such as white and black mustard, and sautéed mung bean sprout (togue) are good sources. Meanwhile, melatonin is also found in lentils, kidney beans, barley seed, alfalfa, coriander, green cardamom, fennel, anise, flax, and almond.

Pistachio and walnuts are the top sources from this group of food.

Tomatoes and peppers contain relatively high concentrations. Other vegetables with varying levels of melatonin content are onion, garlic, ginger, black olive, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, cucumber, carrot, radish, beetroot, purslane, spinach, asparagus, chungitsu, taro, Indian spinach, Chinese cabbage, and Japanese butterbur, ashitaba, and radish.

Coffee, roasted beans, orange and grape juice, cacao, and balsamic vinegar are all high in content.

Top contenders are refined linseed and virgin soybean oils. Others include refined olive, sunflower oils, and extra virgin olive oil.

Eggs and fish have a higher content than lamb, beef, pork, and chicken.

Consumption of melatonin-containing food enumerated above may gain health impacts and revitalize one’s immune system by increasing circulating melatonin in the bloodstreams, increased body antioxidant capacity, and where domino of good health effects may be enhanced.

Teddy S. Manansala, a registered nutritionist-dietitian, was a scholar of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and holds two master’s degrees—from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde and University of the Philippines (UP). He is an assistant professor at the School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management (SHRIM) of DLS-CSB where he teaches Culinary Nutrition, Wellness, Food Safety, Sanitation, and Security, among others.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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