Updated: Apr 19, 2020
Not to be a "downer" here but as "Eating to Prevent Coronavirus" posts escalate across social media, I thought a dose of reality was warranted.
Don't get me wrong, eating a diet rich in certain nutrients can optimize the function of your immune system, but short-term nutrition shifts are not going to prevent the coronavirus. The key thing to keep in mind is that your immunity is linked to a SYSTEM - it is not just one thing or a simple equation of "do this and this will happen." It is so much more complex and involves things somewhat outside of your control [e.g., genetics, medication use and stage of life], but influenced by modifiable lifestyle factors.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
As an evidence-based practitioner, my advice is more pragmatic. Most importantly - follow CDC guidelines for hand washing, use of sanitizing products, and contact with others. Navigating nutrition may become more difficult if we need to rely more on pantry and frozen ingredients for meal preparation. With this in mind, here are my top 4 food nutrition guidelines to support your immune system to fire on all cylinders in the upcoming months:⠀
Eat more vitamin C-rich foods [fresh or frozen]: citrus fruits, bell peppers [all colors], strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, and kiwi and fresh herbs, including parsley
Keep zinc-rich foods on hand: beans [canned or dried and cooked], cashews [raw], shellfish [frozen or fresh], seeds, especially hemp seeds
Consume more vitamin E: almonds [raw], sunflower seeds [raw], peanut butter [unsweetened, natural]
Increase omega-3 intake: salmon [frozen or fresh], chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, canned fish [i.e. sardines, anchovies, mackerel]⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Overall, focusing on colorful, plant-foods will increase circulating blood levels of antioxidants which will support your immune system. Avoiding processed foods, added sugars, and limiting alcohol is also recommended.⠀Join me on April 26 at 4:00 PM MST when we will do a deeper dive into culinary solutions, your kitchen toolbox and the immune system. Read more...