Every day, we’re learning more about the COVID-19.
Much of the media coverage of the coronavirus pandemic focuses on prevention through avoidance. The importance of handwashing and self-isolation is what we’re hearing every day.
Currently, about one in six people who get infected have extreme symptoms like difficulty breathing — resulting in hospitalization. The sheer number of people in this group is placing a huge burden on healthcare systems.
Yet some people, perhaps even most, get what feels more like the flu. And some aren’t even aware that they’ve gotten coronavirus and stay healthy and symptom-free.
Your immune system is your body’s network of organs, tissues, and cells that work together to keep you healthy by fighting off harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites.
It acts as a barrier between your body and the things that can make you sick.
Some of the healthiest foods for you and your immune health are what can be called G-BOMBS – a fun acronym that stands for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds.
Greens, such as spinach, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, broccoli, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts, are packed with the nutrients your immune system needs to function well.
Beans, peas, and lentils are full of fiber. The compounds in beans and other legumes can help enhance your gut microbiome, which is important because much of your immunity begins with the health of your digestive system.
Onions, which are part of a family of vegetables along with shallots, scallions, leeks, garlic, and chives, are full of organosulfur compounds.
Onions contain quercetin, a compound that may have particularly powerful bacteria-fighting abilities.
Mushrooms, even the common varieties like white, crimini, and Portobello, have been studied for their immune-modulating and enhancing abilities.
There’s so much evidence that mushrooms are good for your immune system that they’ve even been studied as a potential treatment for cancer.
Note that you should only eat cooked mushrooms to reduce a potentially carcinogenic compound called agaritine.
Berries of all kinds, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, are high in phytochemicals and vitamins that may help keep the immune system functioning at its best.
Seeds and nuts, like chia, flax, walnuts, and almonds, are rich in disease-preventing nutrients like fiber, healthy omega-3 fats, and nutrients like vitamin E, iron, and zinc.
Zinc — especially high in pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and hemp seeds — is a particularly potent nutrient that supports immunity. It’s even been called a gatekeeper of immune function.
Many of the best foods to prevent getting sick, and that can help you recover if you do, are high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are compounds that help prevent oxidative damage to your cells that can ultimately lead to the development of disease.
One of the best antioxidants for fighting and preventing any virus, including potentially COVID-19, is vitamin C.
There is a current clinical trial designed to test the efficiency of high-dose vitamin C therapy (delivered intravenously) in treating COVID-19 and secondary infections of pneumonia.
There are several herbs and spices that can benefit your immune system. These are easy to keep stocked in your kitchen and incorporate into a variety of meals.
While they haven’t been tested on COVID-19 patients specifically, based on their overall effect on immune health, they might be helpful.
Turmeric, an Indian spice known for its bright orange color, is rich in curcumin, a compound with known disease-fighting and antioxidant-rich characteristics.
Turmeric can reduce inflammation, boost heart and brain health.
Garlic and ginger have potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Cinnamon is full of antioxidants and is a known anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anticancer, and heart-healthy spice.
Hot peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which is not only responsible for their spiciness but also their remarkable benefits in bringing down excessive inflammation.
Echinacea is one of the most powerful herbs for fighting off upper respiratory infections. Studies have shown that taking it at the earliest signs of the cold or flu can reduce the severity of illness.
COVID-19 can land anyone in the hospital, even children. But most commonly the people with the highest level of risk, tend to be older populations and people with health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
All these health conditions are impacted by your diet and lifestyle choices.
These are crazy times we’re living in and none of us can control what goes on in the world around us.
But we do get some say in the choices we make. And our choices play a significant role in shaping our destiny.
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