By: Holly Carranza – Nutrition Coach for Gateway Counseling Center
How do you coexist with Covid-19 and keep you and your family healthy?
We know that this virus is not going anywhere so what are some things you
can proactively do to keep your immune system functioning at its peak
There is a lot of information out there concerning this topic. Some ways
doctors and nutrition experts agree upon to keep your immune system
running smoothly has to do with vitamins, foods and activities.
Let’s first take a look at the essential nutrients your body needs. If your
body does not get them your immune system suffers. Many nutrients are
involved in promoting healthy immune system function. The best way to get these nutrients is in the foods you eat, according to dietician Kathleen
Zelman, MPH, RD/LD. “Supplements can help but you should rely on food
for most of your nutrition”, Dr. Zelman states. That is why you should eat a
variety of foods. Otherwise you might be missing out on certain vitamins
We have all heard that antioxidants are good for us and fight off free
radicals but what are they exactly? Here is some food that are rich in them
and should be included in your diet.
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene: pumpkin, squash, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, dark leafy greens and mangoes
- Vitamin C: citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and asparagus
- Vitamin E: vegetable oil, almonds, whole grains, wheat germ, sweet potatoes, and yams
- Selenium: salmon and haddock
If you are not getting enough of these nutrients in your diet, a supplement
would be a good way to get them.
There are many different supplements on the market. Some are great,
some do not live up to their advertising. So, do your research when it
comes to purchasing a quality supplement. Always speak to your doctor
before taking a supplement. Your doctor can guide you with what you need
and the right dosage.
According to an article by Peter Schelden, “there is some evidence that
shows vitamins C, D, E and zinc supplements are beneficial for respiratory
infections with symptoms that are similar to COVID-19’s, although no major
studies have been published on their effects on the novel coronavirus.”
Zinc has been found to show evidence that it reduces the length of some
viral infections when taken right away.
If one is eating a broad based whole food diet. They should be getting most
of the vitamins and minerals needed. But vitamin D has recently stood out
as the exception, says dietician and Medicine Net medical author Betty
Kovacs Harbolic, MS. RD.
It seems that vitamin D deficiency is a global public health problem. Kovacs
Harbolic goes on to point out that people who are deficient in vitamin D are more prone to infection.
Foods that contains Vitamin D are: mackerel, salmon, fortified foods
(mushrooms, milk, orange juice, tofu, soy beverages, some cereals), and
Kovacs Harbolic says that you only get 20% of your needed vitamin D from food. The rest if from good old fashion sunshine.
Healthy activities work in conjunction with a healthy diet and proper
nutrition to boost your immune health as well.
Many people exercise to look good, but there are additional benefits that
exercise provides. According, to Medicine Health News exercise has been
shown to improve the flu-fighting power of vaccines in seniors.
Since social distancing is in effect some solo exercise includes, jogging,
jumping rope, and a variety of at home workouts from yoga to HITT.
It also reduces stress and releases endorphins to give you that positive
mood. This is important because stress actually suppresses the immune
system which makes you more susceptible to viral illnesses.
Some ways to reduce stress are through breathing exercises, working out,
talking to a therapist or friend. One of my personal favorites is just to get
outside. Being outside has a powerful calming effect.
I cannot emphasis how important sleep is to your immune health. We live in a culture that is constantly on the go. It is vital to get enough sleep because it is the only way the body can restore some of its systems like the
endocrine system. There is no other way to restore the body. For most
adults that is 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
If it is hard to settle down try a nightly routine. Whether that is playing soft
relaxing music, diffusing a calming essential oil like lavender, or lowering
the lights. One thing that I do is have no light of any kind in my room on
when I go to sleep. No phone, computers, or TV. Any kind of light will
cause the body to wake. I get a much deeper sleep by wearing a mask
over my eyes. You can try different things and see what works best for you.
Schelden, Peter. Boosting Your Immunity From Covdi-19? These Roods, Vitamins, Routines Work Best, Medicine Net Health News, Web.medicinenet.com/script/main/art, accessed 30 June 2020. 2 April 2020.