Can Eating Healthy Fight COVID-19?
We have all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” In this case, a well-balanced diet might keep more than the doctor away but COVID-19 as well. Nutrition is the foundation of good health because it supports our immune system. When your body’s immune system is operating in top condition, your chances of fighting off viral infections increase.
Why is eating healthy important?
While eating healthy foods is not a foolproof cure for COVID-19, it does help in many ways. A good diet can boost your immune system and it serves as the best defense against chronic illness. People with preexisting conditions, such as diabetes or lung, kidney or cardiovascular disease can reduce their inflammatory response through healthy eating. A daily supplement is also a good idea, such as vitamins A, B6, B12, C, E, zinc and iron.
How has the pandemic affected nutrition?
COVID-19 has made things difficult when it comes to staying healthy. Between adapting to new lifestyle changes, isolation and avoiding the virus, life has become more hectic than ever. After a busy day managing Zoom calls and helping children with schoolwork, dining out might seem like a quick fix to alleviate the stress of planning and cooking a meal. But grabbing a burger and fries can affect more than your weight. It will weaken your immune system over time. The pandemic has also eliminated many activities, which is fostering a more inactive lifestyle. Exercise and eating are both needed for a strong immune system.
What are the types of foods we should be eating?
There are several simple things you can incorporate into your diet to boost your immune system.
- Fresh fruits: Avoid canned fruits
- Vegetables: Fresh or frozen are both nutrient-dense
- Nuts and unprocessed whole grains
- Stay well-hydrated
- Healthy fats such as avocados, salmon, olive oil, nuts and seeds
What things should we avoid?
- Mindless snacking
- Limit red meat to once or twice a week
- Limit salt intake
- Soft drinks and fruit juices
Food is medicine. What you eat today will affect your health down the line. Don’t let the thought of switching your diet overwhelm you. Start by taking small steps like drinking fruit-infused water instead of juices or switching your bag of chips for some almonds. These small changes will ultimately lead to a complete lifestyle change. It’s good to know that food consumption is something we still have control over during these uncertain times and can help our bodies fight off COVID-19.