By Panch Paul MD*
Many of my patients are asking what they should during this time to protect themselves against the virus. Today, I am going to talk about foods that will boost our immunity and help protect against the coronavirus. Out of 100 people getting exposed to coronavirus, 75 people will not have any problems. Food is our best way to build immunity against viral infections, bacterial infections, and protect against all other pathogens.
As a doctor going to work every day, coming in contact with a lot of patients, staff, and multiple people, I am trying to incorporate these food into my diet regularly. Fortunately, for the last four months, I have been able to remain healthy and serve all my patients.
So, without further ado, let’s start:
1. Vitamin C: The most important food at this time is vitamin C. Linus Pauling, a two-time Nobel laureate postulated that a high dose of vitamin C could protect against the common cold and other infections. Vitamin C is present in all raw natural whole foods. Cooking destroys vitamin C. Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, grapefruits, berries, limes are rich in vitamin C. At this time, it may also be an excellent option to take vitamin supplements for extra precaution.
2. Probiotics: Our body harbors billions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, which exist in a symbiotic relationship with human genes. As there are bacteria and viruses outside, a higher number of germs and bacteria live inside our bodies. These so-called good bacteria live inside us as long as we are alive and help in various body processes. Good sources of probiotics are yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kombucha, and any fermented food. You can also take over-the-counter probiotics to replenish your gut bacteria, especially if you have recently taken a course of antibiotics. Besides, consuming food rich in fiber will also boost gut bacteria. Good sources of dietary fiber are apples, broccoli, carrots, beans, pulses, plantains, and sprouts.
3. Soups and Stocks: During this time, try to consume more vegetable soup, chicken soup, broth, and stocks. The broth is a valuable drink at this time. When we simmer the bones for a long time and prepare a stew, many nutrients otherwise not available in the regular diet becomes accessible. The hyaluronic acid and collagen present in the broth help fight against germs. Soups containing vegetables are powerhouses of vitamins and minerals. For vegetarians, a healthy alternative is a curry made with turmeric, ginger, garlic, onion, yogurt, and other herbs.
4. Cod Liver Oil: It is rich in vitamin A, D, E, K, and Omega 3 fatty acids. These boost immunity and help the body fight infections. Cod liver oil has been consumed for thousands of years in many cultures. Other alternatives are krill oil, skate liver oil, and salmon oil. As there is a concern of mercury in fish oil, make sure to try reputable brands. I use fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures company.
5. Saturated Fat: Increase your consumption of fat at this time. Taking food rich in saturated fat will boost up the levels of fat-soluble vitamins and help your body fight infections. Make sure to take good quality fat, which are avocados, palm oil, organic grass-fed meat, egg, and dairy.
6. Honey & Bee Pollen: Honey is rich in antioxidants and nutrients, which help in immunity. Local raw honey is especially crucial as it can boost protection against the local germs in your area. Try to have one teaspoon of honey every day, either in tea or warm water. Honey has been used since biblical times as a healing remedy. The World Health Organization, as well as the British and Canadian health bodies, have recommended the use of honey to treat cold and cough for young children.
7. Onion & Garlic: Onion and garlic belong to the family Allium. Many traditional medicines employ garlic and onion to kill germs. They generate heat in the body, which is used to kill germs.
8. Vegetables: Vegetables and plant-based products are an excellent source of antioxidants. They contain phytochemicals that help the body fight against infection and carcinogens. Try to have as many vegetables as you can in your diet. Try to choose vegetables from different colors. Green vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach, and red vegetables like beet, carrot, and tomatoes are excellent sources of phytochemicals they are rich in vitamin B and vitamin C also. Try not to overcook the vegetables as many nutrients are destroyed during the cooking process.
In summary, following a healthy lifestyle has become even more critical in the coronavirus epidemic. Try to have a diet rich in proteins, fats, and vegetables. Try to reduce the consumption of simple carbohydrates, sugar, gluten, and other processed foods. Stay positive. Follow all the necessary precautions. Remember, there is no escape from the threat of the virus at this time. A healthy diet will boost immunity, which will not only fight against the coronavirus, but also protect against many other new threats we may not know, but which may come in the future.
*Dr. Panchajanya ‘Panch’ Paul, MD, ABIHM, ABPN, FAPA – is triple Board certified – Child, Adult, and Holistic Psychiatrist; and a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Panch Paul is the medical director of the Southern Live Oak Wellness, and Atlanta Recovery Center. Dr. Paul holds an adjunct faculty position at Emory University, University of Georgia, and the University of Central Florida. He has authored several articles, research, and two books – Stress Rescue and Sleep Coaching available at Amazon. To schedule an appointment with Dr.Paul – call 678-250-8883 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.