Are there foods that could fight the coronavirus?

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 10:30

Coronavirus seems to be all we hear about lately. This little microbe has instilled fear in millions globally. I’m not a doctor (obviously) and I’m not going to weigh in on any aspect of this beyond the scope of my knowledge. Therefore, this blog is all about nutrients to boost your immunity and fight viral infections! Now for me personally, I have two strategies. The first is what I do to avoid getting sick and the second is what I do when I’ve gotten sick to help speed my recovery. Let’s start with the first.

Presuming many of those nasty little bugs out there are viral the goal is to consume nutrients with anti-viral properties. Obviously it goes without saying staying hydrated and getting your sleep are top priorities, but here’s what’s beyond the obvious…  

  • Vitamin C! Yes, grandma wasn’t wrong. Vitamin C has been shown in many studies to help boost your immune system by strengthening your t-cells and phagocytes, which play a role in destroying pathogens that invade your body. Plus, a number of studies have shown that high amounts of vitamin C are directly “virucidal” significantly reducing the expression of viral antigens and the cellular viral load. Bottom line, get lots of vitamin C rich foods like citrus, berries, kiwi, mango, cantaloupe, cherries, greens (spinach, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts etc.)
  • Zinc is our next big one. Zinc is an essential mineral required for wound healing, vision, reproduction, and it supports the function of our immune cells. For this reason, during cold and flu season I make a concentrated effort to eat foods rich in zinc: grass fed beef, shellfish, whole grains, organic yogurt, eggs, nuts and seeds once daily. Zinc supplementation is a bit controversial, however. As a dietary supplement, zinc is found in many forms including zinc gluconate, zinc acetate, zinc citrate, zinc sulfate, zinc carbonate, and zinc picolanate to name a few. Not all forms are effective in reducing cold symptoms and the delivery mechanism is also in question (nasal spray, lozenges etc). It has also been suggested that zinc supplements are only effective within the first 24 to 48 hours of contracting the virus because it may prevent the virus from multiplying as quickly. Keep in mind, zinc in high amounts can be toxic and block the absorption of other minerals, so that’s definitely something to be aware of, which is why I personally get my zinc from food.
  • Drink tea! Ginger, Ginseng, Dandelion, or Green and add a spoonful of raw honey and a squeeze of lemon. All are excellent at boosting your body’s immune response. The antioxidant catechin in green tea is known to be a powerful antibacterial and antiviral and can help kill off cold-starting bacteria and the influenza virus. Compounds in ginseng called ginsenosides have also shown antiviral effects in numerous studies. Specific compounds in ginger, such as gingerols and zingerone, have been found to inhibit viral replication and prevent viruses from entering host cells. And, dandelion is another big one that has evidenced an ability to inhibit viral replication. Personally, I don’t love the taste of dandelion so I recommend getting it in an organic greens supplement instead of drinking it. Last, raw honey has been used literally for thousands of years to fight bacterial, viral, and even fungal infections.
  • Eat Italian! This one is all about the garlic. Garlic contains allicin, which is known to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and even anti-parasitic properties. Here’s the kicker… To get the health benefits it needs to be consumed raw and in the amount of roughly 2-3 cloves a day. There is NO way I can pull that one off personally, and I bet you aren’t super interested in that scenario either. Stink city. So, when I’m sick I take a supplement that has garlic in it (see my recommendation below). This doesn’t upset my stomach or make me stink to high heaven. 
  • Supplement! Honestly, it’s pretty hard to go after each and every food / micronutrient that can help to boost immunity and fight viral infections. So finding a supplement from organic whole foods with many of the nutrients mentioned in one product is ideal. Here are my two favorite go-to products.
    • One for maintaining a strong immune system and one that I take when I start to feel sick -- Alaya Naturals Organic Greens Super blend. (**See below for discount). This product has everything from moringa leaf, dandelion, matcha green tea, blackberry, blueberry, pomegranate, cranberry, maqui berry, black currant, broccoli, wheat grass, spirulina, etc. So you get many of the nutrients mentioned above in one shot – literally. I take this daily for overall wellness, energy, and immunity. 
    • Now, when I’m sick or starting to feel like I’m coming down with something I take I take a product called Dr. Schulze Cold & Flu Herbal Shot. It is designed specifically for fighting viral infections and contains everything from echinacea, elderberry (sambucol), garlic (allicin), sage, licorice, fennel, thyme, holy basil or tulsi and more. All of which have all been shown to have powerful anti-viral properties in numerous studies. And trying to get each one of these foods in on it’s own would cost a fortune, be extremely time consuming, and likely make you sick to your stomach. Again, this is where supplementation really benefits you – the ability to get lots of good stuff in one product. Now, this one is NOT cheap. But, before you buy a bunch of over the counter remedies at the local pharmacy this should be one you consider. I have NO affiliation with this company or this product. I make zero dollars off it. As stated, this is just what I take when I start to feel sick.

Bottom line, practice common sense with your self care. Get your sleep. Hydrate. Wash your hands often. Eat good foods. Drink tea. Consider supplementing!


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