You’ve heard the old wives tales about citrus fruits improving your immune system. But before you start guzzling down fresh orange juice, it might be useful to know what foods, drinks, and supplements are beneficial. Express.co.uk hears from Dr Michael Barnish MBChB, Head of Nutrition and Genetics at REVIV to find out what you need to be consuming to keep the virus at bay.
What to take to boost your immune system
Vitamin D deficiency has become a modern problem, said Dr Barnish.
We are lacking in vitamin D due to poor diet, sunscreen use during the day, avoiding the sun, and spending most of our lives indoors.
Dr Barnish said: “Vitamin D is extremely important for normal immune function”.
He advised: “Try to up your intake of eggs, mushrooms and oily fish.
“Sun exposure helps to give your body a vitamin D boost, so get out for a walk if you can.
“Not only will you get a dose of this sunshine vitamin but even a small amount of exercise can boost your immunity.”
Vitamin C is important immune system player and powerful antioxidant
While it isn’t proven that consuming lots of Vitamin C will prevent coronavirus from spreading or ease symptoms, clinical trials are currently assessing its powers.
“Vitamin C is important immune system player and powerful antioxidant,” said Dr Barnish.
He recommends eating fresh, organic fruit and vegetables containing vitamin C (even potatoes contain it).
It’s also worth thinking about taking a supplement.
Dr Barnish said: “Many clinics around the world now offer intravenous vitamin C, to utilise much higher concentrations, very safely, to bypass gut bioavailability, flooding the blood stream with this powerful antioxidant”.
Antioxidants are essential for our bodies to neutralise toxins (or free radicals0 and to keep ourselves fighting fit, Dr Barnish said.
In today’s world, we are exposed to more toxins than ever before- we need more than we are getting from our modern, over farmed diets.
Dr Barnish suggested taking an antioxidant supplement, such as Coenzyme Q10 or Alpha Lipoic acid- but make sure you buy from a reputable retailer!
Alternatively, you could eat foods that are high in beta-carotene, selenium and lycopene. Examples include:
Leafy green vegetables
Electrolytes are tiny charged particles that are essential for normal functioning of the immune system.
Dr Barnish recommended taking a magnesium supplement, or a restorative salts solution if you have recently been ill.
Bananas are another great way to get your electrolyte fix.
Bananas are another great way to get your electrolyte fix
What to avoid to protect your immune system
Pro-inflammatory food excess
Dr Barnish warns against eating too much inflammatory food.
He explained: “Avoid highly processed items full of chemicals and preservatives.
“Try to go organic or cook from scratch to limit exposure to pesticides”.
That means cutting down on sugary sweets, desserts and drinks.
Unfortunately, you also have to avoid saturated fats- so steer clear of pizza, cheese, and red meat!
Alcohol is a huge culprit when it comes to inflammation, so it might be time to have a break from cocktails and beers until the coronavirus situation has calmed down.
Alcohol is a huge culprit when it comes to inflammation
Burnt food and cigarettes
Anything that allows the toxic substances Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (or PAHs) to accumulate in cells is a no-no.
Dr Barnish explained that this means laying off the ciggies and making sure you don’t burn the food you are consuming.
Over-exercising and over-indulging
We’ve got some good news, and some bad news.
Dr Barnish said: “Over-exercising and over-indulging can all deplete the immune system”.
So stick to light exercise, counting your steps, and consuming enough calories but not too many.