The ASPEN Task Force against coronavirus released a metastudy indicating the most prevalent factors of one’s predisposition to COVID-19. The poorest prognosis comes from malnutrition. Along with malnutrition, another indicator of one’s ability to handle the COVID virus is the cardiometabolic state, such as their predisposition to heart disorders, including “hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.”
While researchers found that hospitalization rates for COVID‐19 were associated with these aforementioned factors of obesity, blood sugar regulation issues, and heart disease, the most “key risk factors are directly nutrition‐based.” The gastrointestinal symptoms associated with COVID “can impair nutrient delivery, digestion, and absorption.” If you get COVID, it may be too late to try and recover those lost vitamins and minerals.
A balanced diet is important to ensure the body can fight off any invading virus. These 5 daily additions to your life can help you have a COVID-safe lifestyle.
1. Getting a daily vitamin D intake
Sources ranging from the Boston Herald to NPR are talking about the newest addition to the COVID prevention discourse: vitamin D. While experts seem generally skeptical about the sure-fire anti-COVID guarantee of any vitamin supplements, science is quickly finding ways to combat that uncertainty.
Corroborating Boston University Medical School’s findings, a health data collection app from the King’s College London called the COVID Symptom Study has spent the past year amalgamating data about their users’ vitamin use, including those who were infected with COVID.
“In the UK cohort,” Science Alert reports, “users regularly supplementing their diet with multivitamins had a lower risk of testing positive [for COVID] by 13%.”
Meanwhile, vitamin D in particular lowered risk by 9%.
The ironic part about vitamin D being the most helpful aid against coronavirus is that for many self-quarantined Americans, it’s impossible to get out of the house and soak up the one vitamin that will help take down COVID. Supplements, mushrooms, and butter are all places to get vitamin D, but the best way would really be an hour in your backyard, a socially distanced walk in the park, or even a sun lamp.
2. Yogurt for breakfast
The next addition to your daily COVID-fighting regimen might be something as simple as a bowl of yogurt in the morning. Researchers at the Ben Gurion University at the Negev found that the gram-negative bacteria and fungus-secreted metabolites in yogurt, called tryptophol acetate, can be effective in the defense against viruses and immune responses.
This improvement in gut immune health could also be an indicator for how one’s system if bolstered by these metabolites, could fight off a cytokine storm, the term for an “extreme immune response triggered by a pathogen” that COVID tends to trigger.
The ASPEN Task Force report indicates something similar: that “micronutrient supplementation” such as fatty acids or probiotics assist in “maintaining the gut epithelial barrier, and optimizing immune function.”
The COVID Symptom Study’s data also supports this claim, and in their research, they found that those who take probiotics, such as those found in yogurt, were 14% less likely to contract COVID.
3. Orange beef for dinner
It’s not a joke – your favorite dish at a Chinese restaurant can help fight COVID using two important nutrients: vitamin C and iron.
While vitamin C’s place in a self-care routine is hotly contested, and it certainly isn’t a cancer-curing, age-reversing wonder supplement like some doctors might state, it’s still an incredibly effective immune booster. A study on vitamin C and COVID prevention in the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences notes the controversy about supplements, but reports that “it is necessary to be aware of the specific types of food that can improve our immune system in order to combat COVID-19.”
The Huffington Post offers some more specific guidance for how vitamin C can be enjoyed. Iron helps the absorption of vitamin C in the body, so to make both nutrients more bioavailable, vitamin C-rich foods like oranges, capsicums, chili, cauliflower and brussels sprouts can be paired with iron-rich legumes, tofu, red meat or dried fruit. So whip out your favorite orange beef recipe, or a Grubhub coupon, and give your immune system a leg up.
4. Drink from a half-gallon of water
As per the ASPEN Task Force’s report, cardiovascular issues are a secondary cause of COVID. And ultimately, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute reports, “dehydration causes strain on your heart.”
When you’re dehydrated, your blood circulation and blood volume decrease, and as a result, your heart rate increases. 20% of all COVID patients experience heart issues, 40% of which contribute to COVID deaths, according to this JAMA Cardiology study.
In addition to maintaining heart health, water is also vital to support the absorption of the many aforementioned vitamins and minerals in this list. Many vitamins, including vitamins C and D, are water-soluble, meaning that their ability to dissolve in water “is what makes them accessible to cells and the transporters that bring them into the body.” Huffington Post reports that this really can “make or break our digestion,” and without enough water, “our blood cannot transport nutrients” throughout our bodies.
Many doctors recommend 6-8 glasses of water per day, but it can be hard to keep track of how much water you’re drinking. The easiest solution is to get one gallon or half-gallon water bottle that doesn’t require refills throughout the day. Though it may be heavy, that’s all the more incentive to drink it all – if COVID prevention wasn’t enough of an incentive already.
5. Drink a cup of green tea
This preliminary study from Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, though much more controversial and preliminary, shows that EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) in green tea has prevented the growth of coronavirus enzymes that break down proteins, also called proteases.
ECGC is notably dangerous if taken in supplement form, and its effects on COVID are still debatable. However, ECGC consumed as it naturally occurs in foods is known to help naturally aid weight loss and has been proven to improve heart health in various studies.
Green tea itself is generally a healthy inflammation-reducer and digestion aid, so as long as it’s not ingested at toxic levels, ECGC is a practical addition to an immune-boosting diet.
Are you ready to put these go-to additions to the test? Go for it! We hope you stay healthy, happy and safe.