How to ‘vaccinate’ your body in a fight with Coronavirus?

Centar za nutricionizam i dijetetiku inga markovic

Besides hygienic measures and washing hands, we need some diet measures to decrease the consequences that virus infections can leave us with.

The first line of defense in our body when it comes to all viruses, including the Coronavirus, is a strong immune system. We should actually ‘vaccinate’ our nutrition to deal with the consequences that this virus leaves in case we come in contact with it.

‘Vaccination’ with food represents a long-term intake of the following groceries. The most important ones are proteins, especially those from lean fish, beans, eggs, and yogurt.
Proteins are built in every important cell of the immune system like antibodies and white blood cells that destroy viruses. Also, most of the food high in proteins contains micronutrients like zinc, iron, and vitamins like B complex that are crucial for a strong immune system. Older people and vegetarians are in shortage of these groceries the most, which is concerning since the elderly population is most affected with this virus, according to the WHO that states that most cases that get infected end up in death when it comes to this group of people.
Lipids or fats from eggs named AL-721 make two active phospholipids from the egg yolk that repair broken immune function. Scientists believe that AL-721 protects human cells from the impact of the virus since it removes cholesterol from the membrane that surrounds the virus and makes it ineffective in the process.

The health of the immune system depends on the health of the gastrointestinal tract as well, considering that 70 percent of the immune system is in our bowls. Because of that, we need to consume probiotic yogurts daily. Alongside them, experts suggest taking probiotic supplements, as well. It is important to look for formulas that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium and to check the expiration date since only live cultures influence the boosting of the immune system.

Garlic as a natural antibiotic has a great effect on the immune system too. Studies show that people who continuously consume garlic rarely suffer from virus infections, but if they get sick anyway, their recovery is a lot faster and easier. Garlic is an edible antibiotic with a strong antivirus effect since its sulfur compounds contain a lot of antioxidants. We recommend consuming at least one clove of garlic a day.

Vitamin C is necessary for boosting the immune system as well. Our body can’t synthesize this vitamin since humans don’t possess an enzyme called L-gulonolactone oxidase, so it is important to take it into our body through food. The best source of this vitamin is fresh fruits and vegetables, especially bell peppers, lemons, oranges, kiwis, cherries, tomatoes, and cabbage. Considering that the Coronavirus causes serious airway infections, vitamin C is important when it comes to both prevention and treatment. Researches have shown that the increased intake of this vitamin reduces inflammatory processes in our airways and that consuming 200mg a day is enough to reduce the risk of upper airway infections.

Vitamin E, as a hydrophobic molecule, possesses antioxidant properties and creates stronger physical defense of the body in combination with vitamin C. It is one of the main building blocks of collagen, so it strengthens the mucous membranes, and the microbes have less chance to retreat. Together, they gather defense cells in the body, making them fight against the virus that entered the organs through the mucous membranes. The main source of vitamin E are olives and olive oil, seeds of plants, and plant oils like corn, soy, walnut, and peanut oil, as well as leafy green vegetables.

Carotenoids that represent the group of compounds responsible for the color of fruits and vegetables stimulate the boost of the immune system as well. The most common are alfa-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin, while we can find them in carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, spinach, pumpkins, broccoli, bell peppers, beans, lettuce, brussels sprouts, melon, avocado, olives, peaches, mandarins, mangoes, papaya, oranges, tomatoes, peas, cauliflower, and corn.

Zinc is a necessary mineral for keeping the immune system strong too. It is extremely important for the development and activation of T-cells – white blood cells that participate in the fight against infections. The main source of it is all types of meat, liver, fish, and other seafood, dairy products, eggs, and whole grains. It is also good to know that the usability of zinc from a plant-based diet is a lot lower than from animal products.

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