Wash your hands AND feed your immune system

Washing hands is great, and social distancing is interesting, but everything our body does, including immunity, it does with the components (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients) it gets from food.  Let’s add ‘eating your fruits and vegetables’ to the list of how to survive the corona virus (Covid 19) and it may just help prevent lifestyle related diseases at the same time. 

DIET

  1. Those on a plant based diet had more white blood cells (source of antibodies to combat bacteria and viruses) compared to non-vegetarians (pcrm.org).
  2. The Mediterranean Diet still rates high for providing plenty of vegetables, fruits and other plant-based foods that are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E that can boost immune function.  Check out “Sick and Tired, to Healthy and Inspired” for a list of foods on this diet  (Amazon or abbykurthnutrition.coach).  

HELPFUL NUTRIENTS

  1. Beta-Carotene: Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body. Excellent sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables. Beta-carotene is a building block of vitamin A, which contributes greatly to lung health.  Ideal is 5,000 iu of vitamin A daily. 
  2. Vitamins C and E: Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help to destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response. Humans don’t make our own vitamin C like other animals, so diet is important. Sources of Vitamin C include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, mangoes, lemons, and other preferably raw fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E sources include nuts, seeds, spinach, and broccoli.  Ideal is 3,000 mg of vitamin C daily.
  3. Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that can help boost white blood cells, which defend against invaders. Sources include meat, nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beans, and lentils. Try to get 20 mg of zinc daily. 
  4. Vitamin D.  We can let other animals eat the plants and provide us with immune enhancing Vitamin D – Fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, and salmon), cheese, and egg yolks are high in vitamin D.  Ideally 2,000 iu daily is recommended, or more based on blood testing and your doctor’s recommendation.  

OTHER FOODS

Emerson Ecologics has educational topics and supplements on line (wellevate.me/abby-wilson-kurth) and suggests loading up on food and spices with antiviral and immune supportive properties, including raw garlic, coconut oil, oregano, ginger, kimchi, fermented foods, walnuts, pomegranates, green tea, apple cider vinegar, and mushrooms (shiitake, reishi, cordyceps, and turkeytail).  Beta-glucans are the active ingredient in mushrooms, which are thought to “prime” our immune system.  

HERBS

1.  Black Elderberry or Sambucus nigra

A study on Pub Med says that a black elderberry extract was shown to be effective in the lab against 10 strains of influenza virus. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, a black elderberry extract  reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518

2.  Astragalus

Astragalus is an herb that has been found to have some anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24325861

HOMEOPATHY

You can read the history of homeopathy’s success in epidemics over the last 200 years.  If searching ‘genus epidemicus’ for 2020, sources will list the most common remedies for the current virus.  Combination remedies are available at wellevate.me/abby-wilson-kurth or the health food store.  Personally, I look for  a combination homeopathic product that contains Eupatorium perfolatum, which is helpful for body aches with the flu.  Scientific evidence for one homeopathic combination, Engystol, is available on Pub Med (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2998502/).

I’m hoping that this will be of help – me just sitting at home doesn’t seem like enough.  Any other nutritional support you have found helpful in the past and are willing to share?