Healthy Foods & Nutrients to Optimize Your Immune System During the Coronavirus Outbreak
As the number of coronavirus (COVID-‐19) cases continue to rise, there is growing concern over public health and safety. Global efforts are being made to help contain the spread and impact of the virus, as direct contact with infected individuals is believed to be the most likely route of transmission. While people of all ages can be infected by the coronavirus, the most vulnerable population appears to be older individuals as well as people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease). It is advised that people of all ages take important protective measures to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections.
Because the coronavirus is new, we are still gathering important data about just how dangerous and contagious this virus is. At this time, there are no proven medical treatments or vaccines available. The CDC and WHO recommend taking precautionary measures to avoid being exposed to the virus. While this is critical, it is also so important to support your immune system so that your body is best able to combat any infections that you may come in contact with.
When it comes to supporting your immune system, maximizing your diet is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your health. Choosing anti-inflammatory, high quality, nutrient dense foods helps to arm your defenses against infections and diseases. However, it is just as vital to avoid or limit foods that burden the body with toxic chemicals and deplete important micronutrients. In addition to eating a healthy diet, supplementing with key nutrients helps to ensure powerful immune protection. Also important are good hygiene practices, stress management, regular exercise and adequate sleep.
EAT Immune System Optimizers
- Healthy fats and omega-3 rich foods – including nuts and seeds, coconut products, extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, MCT oil, organic/full fat dairy (if no allergies or sensitivities), olives, avocado.
- High quality protein – such as grass – fed / grass-finished beef and lamb, wild-caught fish, organic and pasture raised chicken and eggs, organic turkey, fresh shellfish, whey protein.
- Beans and legumes – such as garbanzos, lentils, black beans.
- Whole grains – such as brown rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat.
- Foods that feed the microbiome (fiber, fermented and cultured foods) – sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, miso, radishes, asparagus, cabbage, celery, kombucha.
- Detox foods – beets and beet greens, lemons, dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, broccoli sprouts, chlorella and chlorophyll, onions, garlic, leeks, artichokes.
- Antioxidant-rich, organic, colorful vegetables and fruits – red onions, fresh or frozen berries, apples, pears, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, citrus, pomegranate, red grapes, fennel, cherries, etc.
- Mushrooms – shitake, lion’s mane, maitake, enoki, cordyceps.
- Sea vegetables – wakame, nori, dulse, arame, hijiki.
- Herbs and spices – ginger, turmeric, oregano, rosemary, cinnamon, basil, thyme.
- Beverages – water, green and herbal teas, bone broth.
AVOID Immune System Offenders
- Processed foods and refined carbohydrates - such as potato chips, crackers, frozen meals, processed meats, baked goods, pasta, cereals, white rice.
- Added sugar - including soda, juice, candy, cookies, baked goods, ice cream.
- Artificial food dyes, additives, preservatives.
- Unhealthy fats - including refined vegetable oils, shortening, fried foods, hydrogenated fats.
- Conventional meat and dairy products.
- Farmed fish.
- Foods that you may be sensitive to (such as gluten, dairy, soy, corn, peanuts, eggs).
While eating a balanced and healthy diet is critical to immune health, taking high quality supplements can help ensure that nutritional needs are met. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and herbs can also provide targeted support for enhancing health. Although there have not been studies on nutrients specifically for the coronavirus, there is a lot of strong research regarding the role that certain nutrients have in supporting immune health.
Daily Immune Protection
These nutrients are recommended for daily ongoing immune system support.
- Vitamin D3 – Numerous studies show that this is one of the most powerful nutrients for supporting the immune system. (Pathway Vitamin D3 2000 IU)
- Zinc Lozenges – This mineral plays an important role in boosting immunity and has been shown to reduce the frequency, duration and severity of infections. (Pathway Zinc Lozenges)
- Elderberry Syrup – Studies show that elderberry has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and provides immunoprotective and immunostimulating support. (Pathway Elderberry Syrup)
- Probiotics – Beneficial bacteria plays a critical role in influencing GI health and immune system functioning. (Pathway 35 Billion Probiotic)
- Vitamin C, vitamin A, astragalus, echinacea – These immune boosting vitamins and herbs boost the body’s defenses against viral and bacterial infections. (Pathway Immune System Support)
Acute Immune Support
These remedies are best initiated at the first sign of respiratory discomfort and can be combined with the daily immune nutrients, which are also highly recommended for acute support.
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – This amino acid stimulates glutathione production and promotes detoxification. For respiratory illnesses, NAC has been shown to have powerful mucolytic properties. And, it has been found to reduce the frequency and severity of viral infections. (Pathway NAC)
- Allicin – This bio-‐active component of garlic offers strong protection against a variety of infectious pathogens. (AlliUltra)
- Colloidal Silver (combined with olive leaf and oregano) – Studies demonstrate that colloidal silver has broad spectrum anti-microbial properties. When combined with herbs, it has even stronger infection fighting ability. (Pathway Colloidal Silver Plus)
- Respiratory herbs (osha, lomatium, Oregon grape root, wild cherry, oregano) – This combination of herbs provides powerful immune support and specially promotes lung health. (Pathway CongestEeze)
At Village Green Apothecary, we have naturopaths and nutritionists available to provide personalized support. However, if you are feeling sick, please contact your doctor.
Photo from here, with thanks.
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Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
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