The coronavirus presents many uncertainties, and none of us can completely eliminate our risk of getting COVID-19. But one thing we can do is eat as healthily as possible.
If we do catch COVID-19, our immune system is responsible for fighting it. Research shows improving nutrition helps support optimal immune function. Micronutrients essential to fight infection include vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, and the minerals iron, selenium, and zinc.
Here’s what we know about how these nutrients support our immune system and the foods we can eat to get them.
5. VITAMIN A
Vitamin A maintains the structure of the cells in the skin, respiratory tract, and gut. This forms a barrier and is your body’s first line of defense. If the fighting infection was like a football game, vitamin A would be your forward line.
We also need vitamin A to help make antibodies that neutralize the pathogens that cause infection. This is like assigning more of your team to target an opposition player who has the ball, to prevent them from scoring.
Vitamin A is found in oily fish, egg yolks, cheese, tofu, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes.
Further, vegetables contain beta-carotene, which your body can convert into vitamin A. Beta-carotene is found in leafy green
vegetables and yellow and orange vegetables like pumpkin and carrots.
4. B VITAMINS
B vitamins, particularly B6, B9, and B12, contribute to your body’s first response once it has recognized a pathogen.
They do this by influencing the production and activity of “natural killer” cells. Natural killer cells work by causing infected cells to “implode”, a process called apoptosis.At a football match, this role would be like security guards intercepting wayward spectators trying to run onto the field and disrupt play.