It’s important to note that there is absolutely no “magic bullet” vitamin, mineral, or food item that will protect you from coronavirus or any other virus that may come our way. (So no, don't buy into the supplements, tinctures, or oils being touted on Facebook. ) However, there are foods and steps we can take to help our minds and bodies prepare to fight off illness and feel stronger. “What we have to do is let people know that there is so much they can do to reduce their risk and improve their health overall,” Terry Wahls, M. D. , a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and author of The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles, says. “Just feeling in control can be calming.
Vitamin A, the authors wrote, "has both promoting and regulatory roles in both the innate immune system and adaptive immunity; therefore, it can enhance the organism’s immune function and provide an enhanced defense against multiple infectious diseases. “We have to choose foods we enjoy,” says Willow Jarosh, a registered dietitian. “Within enjoyment, aiming to balance meals with a combination of fruit and veggies, protein-rich foods, and carbohydrate-rich foods can help us meet nutrient needs to keep the immune system working well and also help us keep our energy and blood sugar levels stable.
Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are some of the best protein sources for packing in extra micronutrients like vitamin D. “The key micronutrients consumers should be ensuring they try to get enough of are vitamin A, vitamin D, and zinc,” says Mike Rogowski, Ph. D. , senior nutrition scientist at Plexus Worldwide. “These nutrients are particularly important in the activation of our immune cells. ”
And if you don't eat fish or meat, that's okay as other vitamin-D-rich foods include fortified milk and mushrooms.
It’s not only key to keep up vitamin intake if you’re sick, but to push protein too, Rogowski adds. “In order to mount an immune response to an infection, the body needs to rapidly ramp up its numbers of white blood cells, including macrophages and T cells, as well as producing antibodies from B cells,” he says. “If the body doesn’t have enough protein available, it will cannibalize muscle to meet its needs to fight infection.
She also suggests everyone buys fermented foods without added sugars (sorry, no sweet pickles here), and if you can, make your own. “If you're a meat eater, that's meat, fish, and poultry," says Wahls. "If you’re not, then have gluten-free grains and legumes. ” This is because protein is a building block for our body's tissue and organs, making it imperative when trying to rebuild healthy cells.
And in case you needed a little science to back up the claims to stay away from sugar, alcohol, and other healthy foods, we’ve got you: According to a 2018 study by researchers at the University of Bonn, the body’s immune system reacts similarly to high-fat and high-calorie foods as it does to a bacterial infection, causing “acute inflammation,” which worsens the body’s ability to fight true disease.
Can your diet prevent coronavirus? No. Will living healthier help? Yes. https://t.co/E54czBObfi— Glamour (@glamourmag) March 18, 2020