As the coronavirus spreads across the country and the world, you might be wondering how to stop the virus. And while there aren’t foods that can prevent you from contracting the coronavirus, there are ways to make viral symptoms less painful. In the same way you’d do during flu season, now’s a great time to load up on nutrients like vitamin C, as well as to practice hygiene measures like proper hand-washing.
Of course, the best way to stop coronavirus is by practicing social distancing and staying home as much as possible. But you can also protect your body from coughing and sniffles by loading up on these 5 immune-boosting foods. And while you’re keeping yourself healthy.
Top Immune Boosting Foods
CITRUS FRUITS AND RED BELL PAPERS
Vitamin C, the superstar nutrient in citrus, is famous for its role in supporting the immune system. While vitamin C can’t prevent illness, it has been studied in people with respiratory infections, with benefits primarily seen in those who had suboptimal blood levels.
It’s unclear if this is partly cause or consequence, but research does appear to support a goal of consuming about 200 mg per day for infection prevention. This is the amount shown in studies to saturate the body, meaning any more vitamin C will be excreted. One medium orange provides 70 mg, a grapefruit contains almost 90 mg, and a medium raw red bell pepper packs 150 mg. Eat citrus as is or paired with nuts, use sliced red bell pepper to scoop up hummus or guacamole.
This spice is more than just a delicious kick to your next dinnertime meal; it contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. (This same compound is what lends turmeric its signature vibrant orange-yellow color.) According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology, curcumin activates the production of T-cells, which are the main cells fighting for your health in your immune system.
SWEET POTATO AND CARROTS
These veggies are top sources of beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. This nutrient aids the immune system by helping to produce white blood cells, which fight bacteria and viruses. It also helps form the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract, which acts as a protective barrier to keep germs out of the body. A baked sweet potato packs over 150% of the daily vitamin A goal, and a cup of raw carrots over 100% of the recommended intake. Top a baked sweet potato with nuts or seeds, and munch on carrots with healthy dips, like nut butter or tahini.
Tomatoes are a great food to eat when you’re sick due to their high concentration of vitamin C. Just one medium tomato contains more than 16 milligrams of vitamin C, which is a proven fuel to your body’s immune system. In a German study published by Medizinische Monatsschrift fur Pharmazeuten, vitamin C was shown to be a vital part of the strength of the body’s phagocytes and t-cells, two major components of the immune system. The researchers also noted that a deficiency in this nutrient can lead to a weaker immune system and lower resistance to certain pathogens that can lead to illness.
. BAKED BEANS AND PUMPKIN SEEDS :
Zinc influences multiple aspects of the immune system. The production of certain immune cells is limited when zinc intake is low, and adequate zinc is crucial for the normal development and function of the immune system. One cup of vegetarian baked beans provides over half of the recommended daily intake for zinc, and an ounce or quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains 20%. Combine the two: opt for baked beans as your protein source, paired with cooked veggies sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.