The Link Between Covid 19, Nutrition and the Immune System
The Link Between Coronavirus, Nutrition and the Immune System
This article is based on an interview of Dr. Kate Allen who is the Executive Director of Science and Public Affairs at the World Cancer Research Fund International. Dr Allen oversees the science and policy programs at the World Cancer Research Fund International and was part of the executive team overseeing the publication of the WCRF/AICR Third Expert Report, Diet, nutrition, physical activity, and cancer: a global perspective. Previously, Dr. Allen worked at The Institute of Cancer Research in London and Sutton.
How does the immune system work?
Dr. Allen states that the immune system is one of the most complex systems in our body. Its components include cells, molecules, tissues, and organs. This complexity means that it “cannot be modified acutely by specific nutritional intervention”. Instead, a healthy and nutritious diet can provide support to the immune system and reduce the process of its deterioration as we age. Our immune system naturally decays as we get older, this is why it is so critical that you ensure that it always stays at peak performance. This small fact eludes so many until they inevitably pay the price of tiny suboptimal decisions over decades. Abuse of our immune system is truly a slow yet deadly killer.
What are the important nutrients for the immune system?
The important nutrients for the functioning of the immune system include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
What is your advice on maintaining and promoting the immune system?
The most important things you can do to ensure a healthy immune system are as follows:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Be a healthy weight
- Eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
- Minimize eating fast food
- Minimize eating red meat and processed meat.
- Reduce sugar-sweetened drinks
- Limit alcohol consumption
Dr. Allen ends the session by stating that:
“Good nutrition supports the body throughout the life course, from birth to old age. A balanced diet, including all food groups, supports an effective immune system and may provide protection against infections, cancers and other diseases.”
In conclusion, I would like to point out the importance of the point Dr. Allen brings up about processed and red meats. They are undoubtedly silent killers whose effects deserve more awareness. While proper nutrition and hydration are helpful, they are not magic bullets or solutions in and of themselves. If you have a chronic illness or Covid 19 symptoms, you must consult a healthcare professional. However, if you do not, proper nutrition, hydration, and maintaining good levels of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants is essential.
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First published on January 21, 2021