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April 13, 2020

Eat These Foods to Fight Viruses

foods to fight viruses
Photo by Chantal Garnier on Unsplash

With the outbreak of COVID-19 it is now more important than ever to boost your immune system and consume foods to fight viruses, not just COVID 19, but any virus.

Perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic will serve as a more motivating factor to improve your diet than say simply a New Year’s resolution. It is easier to stay motivated if you know your life may depend on it.

Challenging and stressful times like we are all going through with the COVID-19 pandemic tends to upset one’s daily routine. Many of us have probably engaged in emotional eating and gravitating to our comfort foods. Many are working from home and have a refrigerator nearby them all day and can easily indulge and overeat.

Be careful not to develop any bad eating habits during this pandemic. They will be hard to break when it is over.

What to Eat

Focus on eating foods that are high in antioxidants, are anti-inflammatory, and provide the necessary building blocks to strengthen the function of the immune system. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients will come from fruits and vegetables, and immune enhancers from high quality protein.

Much of our immune system is found in the gut so it’s important to maintain gut health by consuming foods the are prebiotics or contain probiotics which would be your fermented foods. Prebiotics and probiotics maintain the microflora (gut organisms) which support the immune system.

In addition, there are specific nutrients you will want to make you are consuming. These include vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty (anti-inflammatory) acids. Magnesium helps white blood cells attach to viruses. Spinach, avocados, and pumpkin seeds and other seeds/nuts are high in magnesium.

Now for specific foods.

Specific Foods to Fight Viruses

Below is a list foods and the vital nutrient(s) each contains that help fight viruses.

  • Oranges. Oranges are high vitamin C which is a critical antioxidant.
  • Apples. Apples are high in phytochemical antioxidants.
  • Eggs. Egg yolk in particular contain immune boosting nutrients and excellent source of high quality protein.
  • Spinach. Spinach is high in fiber and magnesium.
  • Green tea. Green tea is high in flavonoids which are antioxidants. Green tea is also anti-inflammatory.
  • Ginger tea. Ginger tea is also high in antioxidants.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is high in anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • Fish. Fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation.
  • Blueberries. Blueberries pound for pound are considered the most powerful food. They are very high in antioxidants.
  • Tomatoes. Tomatoes are high in vitamin C.
  • Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is high and magnesium and an antioxidant called theobromine.
  • Broccoli. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that boost immunity and well suited to fight viruses and cancers.
  • Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics and protein.

These are just some of the immune boosting foods that can help you get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay healthy! Stay young! Live long!

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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