As we continue to keep an eye on COVID-19 and its new strains, now is a great time to strengthen our immune systems to combat the virus.
Those of us that have a better nutritional status can fight the disease better than others. We constantly have pathogens, such as virus and bacteria, coming into our bodies. If our immune system is working really well, we don’t get infected.
In general, nutrition affects our entire body. All body processes require enzymes, and many vitamins and minerals help enzymes work better. There is the saying,
‘We are what we eat.’
It’s true. If you want to be healthy, you have to consume certain nutrients.
So, how do we keep our immune systems healthy during this time?
Here are the top three supplements adults should consider taking:
1. Vitamin C. This vitamin has been hailed for years, as a go-to source for aiding the immune system. Vitamin C is vital for the health of leukocytes, a type of white blood cells that help fight infections. It is particularly important during a pandemic. Adults should take a supplement of 1000 mg twice every day.
Consuming foods rich in vitamin C is also recommended. These foods include the classics of orange juice and oranges as well as other citric fruits and vegetables including grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes and cranberries.
2. Vitamin D. Most often we get our vitamin D through the sun, but throughout this time, taking a supplement is a good idea. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D have been associated with a greater risk of developing respiratory conditions in adults and children.
In fact, studies have begun to show that people with vitamin D deficiencies are at a higher risk of being infected by the COVID-19 virus. The time to act is now.
Adults should take a supplement of vitamin D3 of 1000 International Units (IU) once or twice per day, consumed during meals.
Additionally, you can boost your intake of vitamin D by eating fish and other foods fortified with the vitamin.
For those who have a vitamin D deficiency, consult with your doctor or dietician for an accurate dosage of the supplement
3. Zinc: Zinc is crucial for normal development and functioning of cells mediating part of the immune system. Studies have shown that increased concentrations of zinc can inhibit the replication of viruses like poliovirus and SARS-coronavirus.
Adults should take a zinc supplement of 40 mg or less once a day.
Nutrients through Food
Adults work several other nutrients into their diet through foods. While the following nutrients have not been proved to help in the fight against COVID-19, they do boost the immune system in general, so consuming them through foods is the way to go.
Vitamin A – Consuming the vitamin through foods including milk, dairy products and eggs, as well as orange and yellow fruits.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – This vitamin helps the immune system by reducing inflammation and damage to the lungs. Foods high in Vitamin B3 include chicken, meats, fish, grains, beans and legumes and nuts.
Vitamin B9 (folate and folic acid) – Studies have shown this vitamin can prevent respiratory infections in children. You can consume foods with folate in leafy greens like spinach and folic acid in fortified foods including pasta and bread.
Probiotics – Certain strains of probiotics in specific situations can prevent upper respiratory tract infections. You can find probiotics in yogurt and fermented milk.