Coronavirus: Immunity Diet
Posted on Aug 20, 2020
COVID-19 is a tenacious virus. In California, we currently have over 640,000 cases of coronavirus with over 11,000 deaths. Since early March, we have been sheltering in place, social distancing and wearing masks. Yet the numbers of infected are staying high. I’m sure we are all thinking: how can I keep myself healthy until we have a vaccine?
Despite claims you may have seen in the news, there’s no magic pill that is guaranteed to boost your immune system and protect you against this coronavirus. But there are ways to keep your immune system functioning optimally, which can help to keep you healthy and strong as we weather this pandemic.
- Proper handwashing, wearing a mask, social distancing.
- Maintaining good nutrition.
- Being physically active.
- Meditating and managing stress.
- Getting 7 ½ to 9 hours of sleep a night.
- Diet is one of the most effective ways to keep your immune system strong.
Fill your plate at every meal with immune-boosting nutrients. One of the easiest ways to get a big dose of immune-boosting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is to fill half of your plate with a variety of colorful vegetables and a little fruit.
Beta carotene: Carrots, kale and apricots
Beta carotene gets converted to vitamin A, which helps our antibodies respond to toxins and foreign substances. Good sources of beta carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, apricots, spinach, kale, broccoli, squash and cantaloupe.
Vitamin C: Oranges, strawberries and broccoli
Vitamin C increases blood levels of antibodies and supports protective lymphocytes (white blood cells.) You can easily consume 200 milligrams of vitamin C from a combination of foods such as oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, red and green peppers, broccoli, cooked cabbage and cauliflower. Please avoid juices because excess sugar in the juice causes inflammatory mucus.
Vitamin D: Fatty fish, tofu and mushrooms
Vitamin D regulates the production of a protein that “selectively kills infectious agents, including bacteria and viruses,” explained Dr. Michael Holick, an expert on Vitamin D research from Boston University. Good food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon and sardines, eggs, tofu and mushrooms.
Zinc: Beans, nuts, cereal and seafood
One distinct COVID symptom is the losing the sense of smell. This is also a sign of zinc deficiency. Sources of zinc include beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, nuts, seeds, wheat germ, oysters, crab, lobster, beef, pork chop and dark meat poultry.
Protein: Eggs, nuts, beans, legumes and seeds
Protein is a key building block for immune cells and antibodies and plays a crucial role in helping our immune system do its job. Protein comes from both animal and plant-based sources and includes fish, poultry, beef, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.
Prebiotics: Bananas, beans, fermented foods
Probiotics and prebiotics help boost the health of the microbiome, supporting our immune system. Sources of probiotics include fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and sourdough bread. Sources of prebiotics include whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes and beans.
Hydrate: Water, fruit, soup
Finally, stay hydrated. Mild dehydration can be a physical stressor to the body. In addition to drinking water, choose water-rich foods and bone broth soups to keep your immune system strong.
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