Nutrition tips for the COVD 19 outbreak
Even with our current isolation strategies, it is likely that COVID-19 will be with us for some time. While there is not currently a vaccine or a cure for COVID-19, self-care becomes ever more important and likely be our best defense. In addition to practicing social distancing and hand hygiene, NUTRITION is a key component of self-care. Here are a few nutrition tips to help protect you against COVID-19 and strengthen your defenses in the case that you have either been exposed or suspect infection.
Stock up on fruits and vegetables
This is not a time to stock up on snack foods and sweets, but rather to increase your fruit and vegetables. Try to get a total of 5-9 fruit and vegetables in per day. Focus on eating at least one deep green vegetable per day, such as lettuce, kale, or collard greens. These can be added to smoothies, soups or scrambled eggs. Also aim to eat at least one high in vitamin C food per day (such as an orange, berries or broccoli). If you are concerned about going out to shop, there are many home deliveries options for fresh produce such as: Imperfect Foods, Full Circle organics, Target, Costco, Whole Foods/Amazon Fresh, and other local grocery stores.
Plain water is the best way to hydrate. Adequate hydration has many functions for protecting immunity. As we age we lose our thirst mechanism which means you may not recognize your hydration needs. Aim for a minimum of 2 glasses of water between meals. I like to recommend higher amounts of fluid between meals to help with better digestion of nutrients with meals.
Use herbs for immunity
Immune boosting herbs include turmeric, garlic, ginger, astragalus (use as a tea or herb on food), and green tea.
If you are diabetic maintain tight blood sugar control
High blood sugars negatively impact the immune system, as does a diet that is high sugar or processed food diet.
This is not a time to throw caution to the wind. Alcohol suppresses the immune system. Limit alcohol to one drink per day or avoid it altogether.
The following products (listed in order of potential effectiveness) are being recommended for COVD -19 protection:.
- Vitamin D supports immune protection. Aim for 5000 IU per day during the flu season. Other times of the year your needs may be less. Ideally check your vitamin D levels to determine the best dose. The recommended range for blood levels of vitamin D are 50-80 ng/ml.
- Vitamin C helps in the production of white blood cells that help fight infections. For prevention, start with 500 mg/day and increase to1000 mg per day. If you have active disease, aim for up to 4000 mg per day. NOTE: DO NOT TAKE THIS IF YOU HAVE KIDNEY DISEASE OR A HISTORY OF KIDNEY STONES. Again this dose is just for active flu season. This dose is not recommended on a regular basis.
- Zinc may be protective against respiratory infections. Aim for 15 mg/day.
- A multi vitamin: If concerned about the overall health of your diet, a multi vitamin can be helpful