Everyday Nutrition to Build the Immune System
Updated: Oct 25
Your immune system is your first line of defense against the COVID-19 virus (or any illness) trying to invade your system . . . and nutrition can play a vital role preventatively! Let's take a look at Nutrition. We all get bored when we’re stuck at home. Some of us stress eat. However, this is not the time to indulge in processed foods, sugary treats and junk food. Take this opportunity to retool your eating habits and choose whole foods. When deciding what to eat, try to include a protein, a vegetable and just a bit of whole grain in each meal. Cook at home (even if you don’t normally cook), and please don’t overeat as a way to deal with your stress. We want your gastrointestinal system to digest well. You’re already trying to “digest” more than you can handle. Don’t overwhelm your system. It will have an adverse effect on your immunity. Plan your meals and move forward with structure. It will help your mental and emotional state as well, to do so. Who knows, maybe some of this will carry over to when life gets back to normal? Vitamin A, C, E and D are all antioxidants which support a whole host of health-promoting, disease-fighting activities in the body. Choose foods that are rich in antioxidants, as they are essential for optimal immunity and health. Antioxidant-rich foods include: Vitamin A and beta-carotene: pumpkin, squash, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, dark leafy greens, and mangoes Vitamin C: citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and asparagus Vitamin E: vegetable oil, almonds, whole grains, wheat germ, sweet potatoes, and yams Selenium: salmon and haddock Vitamin D: cod liver oil, salmon, sardines, tuna, shiitake mushrooms, egg yolks, fortified milk or yogurt, fortified orange juice, cheese.
The Role of Vitamins
If you feel your body requires extra help, supplementing nutrition with high quality Vitamins can give you an added immunity boost.
Some key vitamins might be:
Multivitamins: A daily "multivitamin" is a great start! Be sure it integrates a full spectrum of B Vitamins as well as daily iron.
Vitamin C (at least 500 mg.) strengthens your immune system and kills pathogens, including viruses, when taken in high doses. As much as 3000 mg of Vitamin C per day, in doses of 1000 mg at a time is fine. Too high a dose all at once will disturb your digestive system and cause cramping and discomfort.
Vitamin D, Magnesium and Zinc are all important immune boosting nutrients at their daily recommended doses. Most multivitamins include doses accordingly. Regarding Vitamin D - we want to recommend no more than 1000 iu’s unless you have Vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL (Nanograms per milliliter).
Important Re: Vitamin D: Recently we've come across conflicting information regarding the use of Vitamin D during the infectious stage of COVID-19. Some medical professionals are touting its use for prevention and intervention / treatment (Ireland Study, April 7th, 2020), while others are concerned that in "high doses" it may proliferate the infection.
In theory Vitamin D in high doses (above 1000 iu) could increase the expression of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE2) receptors. Since coronavirus gets into our cells by attaching to ACE2 receptors, it’s probably smart to avoid anything that might up-regulate those receptors.
The medical community is currently undertaking research trials to determine Vitamin D's best use in high doses. In the meantime we recommend a safe, low-moderate dosing (1000-2000 i.u.s) until the benefit/shortfalls become clear.
Beyond this, we can recommend Chinese Herbal medicine formulas on a case by case basis for stress management, insomnia and digestive challenges.
Send us a note - let us know how you're taking care of yourself!
Phil Veneziano, M.S., L.Ac.
Cristina R. de La Mar, M.S., L.Ac., Doula
Seven Point Wellness is an Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Clinic, located at 187 Millburn Ave., Suite #101 in Millburn, NJ, in the Trader Joe / CVS Business Complex.
We are an easy drive from Maplewood, South Orange, Short Hills, Livingston and most cities in Union, Morris and Essex County, NJ. We are also an easy walk from the New Jersey Transit via bus or train.
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