Coronavirus: how to boost your immune system
Written by Oliver Little on 24 mars 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has been sweeping across the world, and the epicenter of it is now in Europe. Is there anything you can do to prevent yourself from catching the virus ? We are speaking to Jo today, who is a natural chef and an expert on boosting your immune system. Hi Jo.
<< Hi >>
So tell me, is it more important than ever now to be eating healthy ?
<< It’s like a high performance sports car – if you put in rubbish petrol the car would not operate. Whether that be strengthening the immune system through eating specific food, but also taking in a wide array of micronutrients that play lots and lots of different roles in the body. >>
Obviously we know how contagious the virus is, is it avoidable by boosting your immune system do you think ?
<< There are certains foods you can eat that will help make you stronger and help to either avoid the virus or lessen the symptoms that you might otherwise have got. Oats and mushrooms, which are high in complex sugar molecules that help to operate messages to the rest of our immune system. These mimic pathogenic materials, and so their presence in the intestine can fire up the immune system. >>
Say someone who has Coronavirus, are there things you can do to help the symptoms to ease up a bit or to potentially speed up recovery ?
<< Make sure that you are eating foods that help fight inflammation – foods like ginger, turmeric, oily fish and berries and lots of greens. Conversely, avoid foods that can trigger information in the body, the number one being sugar, but also cheap vegetable oil, fried foods, and meat not in excess. >>
All of the cooking you do is plant-based – you don’t necessarily recommend that a plant-based diet is the way to go in times like this?
<< There are a lot of beneficial nutrients in animal products – oily fish is full of omega 3 fatty acids which trigger production of anti-inflammatory compounds. I just would advise them not to be the focus of your diet – plant-based, fruits and vegetables should be the predominant ingredients on your plate. >>
And obviously at the moment, supermarkets are not exactly well stocked. So for someone who is listening to this and maybe can’t get hold of products that you’ve mentioned, are there any alternative ways, be that food supplements or something else, to help boost your immune system ?
<< Everybody between October and March should be taking a Vitamin D supplement, key to maintaining cell structure and helping your body make antibodies, but also supplements such as Zinc, very important for immune cell growth. Vitamin C for fighting inflammation and combating oxidative stress – the stress from everyday life. But also, enough sleep. The body needs downtime and rest. Very important to get some sort of physical activity, which could just be a stroll around the garden. And then in times like this, stress can also exacerbate inflammation – meditating, breathing, laughing, dancing, a family game whatever works for you. >>
The internet is full of resources – do you have any good recommendations for nutrition guides to follow?
<< I would focus on people who are qualified functional medicine practitioners. >>
Obviously there’s the reliable on the internet, and there’s the not so reliable. I’ve read countless attempts at coronavirus cures, from the slightly less ridiculous such as eating garlic, to bathing in cow poo. Are there any that you’ve seen that you would like to debunk ?
<< The eating garlic is actually very good advice – garlic has very strong anti-viral potential. I’m not so sure about the cow poo! I would start reading labels on products that you buy – if you can’t pronounce the ingredients you probably don’t want to be eating them. >>
And at a time like this, what’s your go to meal or one of your go to meals for example ?
<< A huge tray of any vegetables I can find tossed in a bit of olive oil and salted and roasted and a piece of oily fish like salmon. Another of my favourites is a lentil curry full of spices – getting spices into curry-based dishes helps anti-inflammation. >>
I don’t know if you have kids at home, but if you do what are you encouraging them to eat if they’re maybe a bit fussier ?
<< You need to think about clever ways of hiding them in dishes – something like a bolognese-type dish, they just disappear and the kids won’t have a clue that they are eating them. I’m always hiding vegetables even in brownies and cookies! >>
Very interesting stuff, and obviously a lot of the advice, like you say is more important than ever. Thank you for speaking to us today and all the best with continuing to spread the message of positive health.