Combat Covid-19 by Eating!

Updated: Oct 20

Now more than ever, it’s important for our immune systems to stay in top shape. Although your immune system alone cannot prevent you from contracting COVID-19 to the same extent as social distancing, washing hands and wearing a mask will, it still plays a major role. Did you know that a strong immune system can help you fight infection and make your symptoms less severe? One of the best ways to support your immune system is through food. According to registered dietitian Charlotte Hunter, “Balanced nutrition can enhance your ability to resist infections and remain healthy.”

Below is a collection of nutrients and their sources that were shown to improve the immune system. It’s important to remember that too much of any good thing may be harmful, and diet doesn’t replace practices such washing hands frequently! In order to minimize the chances of side effects, try to prioritize vitamins from food over supplements, and talk to your doctor.

Vitamin C



Stimulates the production of antibodies that help fight pathogensMay shorten the duration of colds and act as a natural antihistamine and anti inflammatoryTop sources: citrus fruits, strawberries, red bell pepper, kiwi, broccoli, and tomato juice
Stimulates the production of antibodies that help fight pathogensMay shorten the duration of colds and act as a natural antihistamine and anti inflammatoryTop sources: citrus fruits, strawberries, red bell pepper, kiwi, broccoli, and tomato juice


Stimulates the production of antibodies that help fight pathogens

May shorten the duration of colds and act as a natural antihistamine and anti inflammatory

Top sources: citrus fruits, strawberries, red bell pepper, kiwi, broccoli, and tomato juice


Vitamin D



Immune strengthening nutrient that reduces the risk of colds and fluMaintains strong bones and helps fight off infectionsTop sources: salmon, mushrooms, fortified milk, cereals and breads.
Immune strengthening nutrient that reduces the risk of colds and fluMaintains strong bones and helps fight off infectionsTop sources: salmon, mushrooms, fortified milk, cereals and breads.


Immune strengthening nutrient that reduces the risk of colds and flu

Maintains strong bones and helps fight off infections

Top sources: salmon, mushrooms, fortified milk, cereals and breads.


Vitamin A (Beta carotene)



Assists with health of your intestines and respiratory systemProtects from infections by keeping tissues, mucous membranes and skin healthyTop sources: carrots, sweet potato, apricots, spinach, broccoli and red bell peppers
Assists with health of your intestines and respiratory systemProtects from infections by keeping tissues, mucous membranes and skin healthyTop sources: carrots, sweet potato, apricots, spinach, broccoli and red bell peppers


Assists with health of your intestines and respiratory system

Protects from infections by keeping tissues, mucous membranes and skin healthy

Top sources: carrots, sweet potato, apricots, spinach, broccoli and red bell peppers


Vitamin E



Fights cell damagePromotes neutralization of free radicals as an antioxidantTop sources: nuts, vegetable oils, seeds and avocado.
Fights cell damagePromotes neutralization of free radicals as an antioxidantTop sources: nuts, vegetable oils, seeds and avocado.


Fights cell damage

Promotes neutralization of free radicals as an antioxidant

Top sources: nuts, vegetable oils, seeds and avocado.


Zinc



Works as an antioxidant and helps to heal woundsZinc deficiency is linked to immune dysfunction due to many zinc-dependent enzymesTop sources: beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry and seafood.
Works as an antioxidant and helps to heal woundsZinc deficiency is linked to immune dysfunction due to many zinc-dependent enzymesTop sources: beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry and seafood.


Works as an antioxidant and helps to heal wounds

Zinc deficiency is linked to immune dysfunction due to many zinc-dependent enzymes

Top sources: beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry and seafood.


Selenium



An antioxidant that lowers oxidative stress, which enhances immunityStudies show that higher blood levels of selenium are associated with a better immune response.Top sources: Brazil nuts, seafood, pork, red meat, chicken, eggs, mushrooms
An antioxidant that lowers oxidative stress, which enhances immunityStudies show that higher blood levels of selenium are associated with a better immune response.Top sources: Brazil nuts, seafood, pork, red meat, chicken, eggs, mushrooms


An antioxidant that lowers oxidative stress, which enhances immunity

Studies show that higher blood levels of selenium are associated with a better immune response.

Top sources: Brazil nuts, seafood, pork, red meat, chicken, eggs, mushrooms


Raw honey



Relieves minor inflammation of mucous membranesAntioxidant properties and microbial effects help with cough and sore throatCan be added to tea or hot water with lemon
Relieves minor inflammation of mucous membranesAntioxidant properties and microbial effects help with cough and sore throatCan be added to tea or hot water with lemon


Relieves minor inflammation of mucous membranes

Antioxidant properties and microbial effects help with cough and sore throat

Can be added to tea or hot water with lemon


Garlic



May reduce the severity of upper viral respiratory infectionsMay help prevent viral infectionsCan be taken fresh, as a supplement or aged extract
May reduce the severity of upper viral respiratory infectionsMay help prevent viral infectionsCan be taken fresh, as a supplement or aged extract


May reduce the severity of upper viral respiratory infections

May help prevent viral infections

Can be taken fresh, as a supplement or aged extract


Probiotics



Contain good bacteria that support gut health and function of immune systemCan reduce the number of respiratory infections, especially in childrenTop sources: yogurt, kefir, kimchi,tempeh, miso, kombucha, sauerkraut
Contain good bacteria that support gut health and function of immune systemCan reduce the number of respiratory infections, especially in childrenTop sources: yogurt, kefir, kimchi,tempeh, miso, kombucha, sauerkraut


Contain good bacteria that support gut health and function of immune system

Can reduce the number of respiratory infections, especially in children

Top sources: yogurt, kefir, kimchi,tempeh, miso, kombucha, sauerkraut


Protein



Specific amino acids found in protein are necessary for T cell functionT cells protect the body against pathogensTop sources: Meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds
Specific amino acids found in protein are necessary for T cell functionT cells protect the body against pathogensTop sources: Meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds


Specific amino acids found in protein are necessary for T cell function

T cells protect the body against pathogens

Top sources: Meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds


Look out for the listed products and sources when making or buying lunch in the cafeteria to boost your immune system!

Sources:

https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/covid-19/2020/06/want-a-defense-against-covid-19-strengthen-your-immune-system/

https://www.umms.org/coronavirus/what-to-know/managing-medical-conditions/healthy-habits/boost-immune-system

https://health.ucdavis.edu/good-food/blog/nutrients-to-help-prevent-illness.html

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