COVID-19: Nutritional Strategies to Support Immune health

I see lots of ads and campaigns on expensive supplements claiming to protect against the Coronavirus and most of these are just companies trying to prey on our fear. Know that there is no magic pill or a specific food guaranteed to boost your immune system and protect you from the Coronavirus!

It is implicit in the WHO advice for preventing and protecting against the Coronavirus that optimal lifestyle practices (sleep, activity and diet) can support health and may prevent ill health. However, they do not advocate the use of any supplements!

If you are unfortunate enough to contract Coronavirus, it will be down to your immune system to fight it off! Yes, your immune system has a number of ways to detect and destroy anything it recognises as foreign to your body. We battle bacteria and viruses every day without even knowing it. The strength of the immune system varies from person to person and, what’s more, from day to day because its ability to fight off infection fluctuates depending on many factors.

Here are a couple of things you can do to keep your immune system in check during the COVID-19 outbreak:

1. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.

Fruit and vegetables provide anti-inflammatory antioxidants, as well as key nutrients known to help the immune system function, including vitamins A and C and folate. They also provide bioactive compounds that provide a chemical signal that optimises immunity in the gut; the location of 70-80% of immune cells.

  • Vitamin C: a powerful antioxidant which supports the body’s ability to fight infection. We know that vitamin C shortens the duration of the common cold, and can significantly reduce mortality in patients with severe sepsis and septic shock.
  • Green tea: contains flavonoids that are believed to help block the production of virus-spreading enzymes in the body. It’s also extremely high in antioxidants and can give our bodies a much-needed boost to help fight viral symptoms when we become infected by a virus.
  • Garlic: has been found to fight viruses and encourage faster recovery from viral infections. Allicin, a compound in garlic, is known to boost the white blood cell’s response to illness.
  • Ginger: provides antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action to relieve the unfavourable symptoms of flu.

2. Look after your gut health.

Beneficial species of gut bacteria have been shown to influence both the innate and acquired immune systems.

  • Eat less sugars & sweeteners.
  • Eat more fruits & veggies.
  • Take foods rich in probiotics, fermented foods like yogurt, miso soup 🍲, kimchi…
  • Eat prebiotic fibers: green bananas, wholegrains…
  • Avoid taking antibiotics unnecessarily.
  • Exercise regularly.

3. Get some sunshine.

It’s mainly for the Vitamin D which is as important as vitamin C when it comes to the immune system!

Eat Smart. Be Healthy. 🍍 xx

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