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The headlines around nutrition and COVID-19 are bold and forceful and many have tried to capitalise on people’s vulnerability and fear of contracting the virus.  Let’s have a look at the facts and set the record straight. This blog will provide you with a look into the role nutrition plays in the prevention and quicker recovery of COVID-19.

We cannot control all the risk factors for contracting COVID-19, but let’s have a look at what we can modify and to what extent. Your immune system aka defence system is responsible for fighting anything it identifies as a threat to your body. Your immunity is the ability of your body to perform this job. Your immunity is influenced by a wide range of factors, not only your diet. One major factor is your gut microbiota (GM).

Your GM is the trillions of microbes living along our digestive tract, which train our immune system from birth and are in constant communication with our immune cells. Starting from birth, you are coated with microbes from your mother’s vaginal cavity. In addition, you also received beneficial microbes, which entered your gut through breastfeeding. As you grow, your exposure to the environment builds your gut microbe diversity further and each person is uniquely exposed.

Your diet and lifestyle then compliment these gut microbes, by providing the environment they need to flourish. A good diversity of microbes  is associated with good immunity. In order for your GM to flourish, it needs to be fed the food it loves and these are foods rich in fibre (the indigestible part of plants). We can achieve this by following a well-balanced diet that includes foods from all the major food groups.

There are also some key nutrients involved in immunity that a well-balanced diet will ensure you are not lacking. These include Vitamin A, B, C, D, Iron, omega 3 fatty acids, selenium and Zinc to name a few. However, if you do not have a deficiency of any of these nutrients, supplementing with large doses will be of no use. It is worth mentioning that you don’t want to have an overactive immune system, as this can lead to autoimmune conditions.

“Immune boosting” is the most used health claim by products on the COVID-19 market. As we have learnt there is no magic pill or single food that will boost your immune system in a short space of time. Instead, there are many factors that influence this.

Stress, sleep and physical activity all too play a role in our immunity. Any stress on the body can also weaken the immune system. This could be poor sleep, ongoing illness or even high stress work environments that lead to sedentary lifestyles. Self-care, taking time to relax and a good night’s sleep can help significantly.

From this we can understand that a well-balanced diet and other lifestyle factors can influence our risk for contraction and severity of COVID-19. However, these need to be well established habits. Good Hygiene practices, wearing a mask and social distancing remains the best method.

To learn more about how to manage COVID-19 symptoms through nutrition have a look at our FREE resource. HYPERLINK or reach out for a one on one consultation for personalised advice.


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