Facts or Fiction: Nutrition and COVID-19
There is a lot of confusing information out there regarding COVID-19 and nutrition. Many people have questions such as “Can Immune Boosting Supplements Prevent COVID-19?” and “Can I Get Coronavirus From Food or Groceries?”
Fiction: Certain nutritional supplements can protect you from contracting COVID-19.
Fact: As of today, there are no proven treatments or cures for the coronavirus.
Many natural health and supplement companies claim that they have the “cure” to COVID-19. Unfortunately, these companies are promoting these claims without adequate and appropriately measured research to back it up. Some common immune-boosting supplements consumers turn to are zinc, vitamin C, green tea, or echinacea.
While there are certain nutrients that can help prepare you to fight a viral infection if contracted, there are no nutrition supplements, herbal remedies, or health products that are approved by the FDA to cure COVID-19. Taking high doses of certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C or zinc, can cause nausea and diarrhea especially if they exceed the daily recommended doses.
The best and most cost-effective way to get nutrients needed for immune support is to eat a balanced diet filled with fruits and vegetables ranging in every color of the rainbow.
Fiction: What you eat doesn’t affect coronavirus risk.
Fact: Eating a balanced diet and adopting overall healthy habits can improve your outcome if you contract the coronavirus.
As mentioned above, taking a bunch of vitamins and herbs to boost your immune system is unnecessary. Everything our immune system needs can be found in food, adequate hygiene and sleep.
To ensure you are getting what your body needs to stay healthy follow these tips:
- Eat fresh or frozen fruits of every color. By eating plants that are different colors, you are giving your body a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which are all crucial components of keeping us healthy.
- If you can’t access fresh or frozen vegetables, used drained and rinsed canned goods.
- It is also beneficial to include food sources of zinc (beans, beef, seafood, nuts) and probiotics, (yogurt, fermented foods) in your diet.
Fiction: I can catch coronavirus from contaminated food.
Fact: The good news is, according to the FDA and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through your food or the way that its packaged.
It is still important to practice usual food safety. Follow these tips:
- Wash your hands every time you handle a new food.
- Wash fruits and vegetables you plan to eat, cooked or raw
- Separate raw meats, fish, seafood and poultry from ready-to-eat foods.
- Make sure all raw foods are cooked to proper temperatures and leftovers are put into the refrigerator within two hours.
Reducing stress levels, maintaining good sleeping habits, and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet are the pillars of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While following these guidelines don’t guarantee you won’t catch COVID-19, maintaining a good balance of each can help to improve your immune system and improve your overall health.
Here are five proven ways to protect yourself against catching COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Take social distancing seriously.
- Wear a mask when you go out (grocery shopping, at the park, etc).
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces often.
The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.