The corona virus has many uncertainties and none of us can completely rule out the risk of developing COVID-19. But one thing we can do is eat as healthy as possible.
When we catch COVID-19, our immune system is responsible for fighting it. Research shows that improving nutrition supports optimal immune function.
Micronutrients that are essential to fight infections include vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, and the minerals iron, selenium, and zinc.
Vitamin A maintains the structure of the cells in the skin, respiratory tract and intestine. This forms a barrier and is your body’s first line of defense. If fighting infections were like a soccer game, vitamin A would be your goalkeeper.
We also need vitamin A to make antibodies that neutralize the pathogens.
Vitamin A is found in oily fish, egg yolk, cheese, tofu, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes.
Your immune system has some “special powers” in the form of white blood cells. These cells produce specialized proteins, so-called antibodies, which search for and destroy invading viruses and bacteria. Because antibodies are proteins, you need enough protein in your diet to ensure this.
You can make the antibodies your body needs.
Healthy protein foods such as fish, poultry, lean meat, soy foods and low-fat dairy products form the building blocks that your body needs to produce these special proteins.
Keeping your digestive system healthy is also important for supporting immune function. There are trillions of bacteria in your digestive tract that have numerous health-promoting functions. Some strains of bacteria help you break down the fiber in your food, others consume intestinal gas, while others produce vitamins like vitamin K and vitamin B12.
When your system is populated with these “good” bacteria, they also serve to displace the potentially harmful bacteria that could get into your digestive tract. Some of the best sources of these friendly bacteria are cultured dairy products like yogurt and kefir.
Vitamin D is necessary for the proper functioning of your immune system. This is your body’s first line of defense against infection and disease.
This vitamin plays a crucial role in promoting the immune response. It has both anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties and is crucial for activating the immune system’s defenses.
Vitamin D is known to improve the function of immune cells, including T cells and macrophages, which protect your body from pathogens.
Vitamin D supplements have also been shown to reduce mortality in older adults who are at greatest risk for developing respiratory diseases such as COVID-19.
Keep in mind that there is no scientific evidence that taking extra vitamin D can protect you from developing COVID-19. However, deficiency in vitamin D can increase your overall susceptibility to infection and disease by affecting immune function.