We call it “coronavirus”, “covid-19”, “Sars-Cov-2”, (or “nest of troubles”), no need to introduce it to you, that’s the one, the invisible, horrible, unpredictable virus that has been leading our lives for the last few months. I don’t have the miracle recipe or even the vaccine, but what is certain is that it is possible to boost your immune system to protect yourself by adopting a few good dietary practices.
If you’re lucky enough not to be too old or have a chronic disease, help your body fight Covid-19 by boosting your immune system, because it’s the body that defends you against germs and viruses. Taking care of your gut and microbiota is essential to boost your immunity. According to the English immunologist Sheena Cruickshank, interviewed by The Guardian newspaper, you must eat a varied and balanced diet, rich in fibre like in legumes, pasta or wholegrain rice, fruits and vegetables. But also fermented foods such as sauerkraut (a quick thought for my Alsatian friends in France).
It is recommended to take a short course of vitamins C and D. You’ll find Vitamin C in some fresh fruits as well as vegetables and vitamin D in fatty fish.
The top 5 of foods you should prefer:
1. Citrus fruits
You should binge oranges and lemons. Rich in vitamin C, they help you absorb the iron you get from vegetables. Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties and stimulates the production of a molecule capable of destroying microbes, which is rather useful these days isn’t it? So, at brekkie, get the lemon or orange juice pumping to stay fit and toned up.
In a quarantine situation, I admit that it’s not the type of food that you’d want to keep in your diet, but it’s what you need. And you should know that under its smell, a bit off-putting, hides a food with many therapeutic virtues. Indeed, it allows you to fight against all kinds of infections and protects you from viruses and cancer. Don’t hesitate to mince it raw and add it to your salads, fish or meat.
Stock up on legumes, they help produce antibodies. Lentils, seeds, they also have satiating virtues that will prevent you suddenly feeling knackered.
If you want to boost your immune system, you’re going to need to eat lots of vegetables, especially green ones. Iron-rich spinach also has a high content of vitamin A, which stimulates the production of antibodies and the proliferation of white blood cells. Besides, carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, especially if you eat them in juice. So now you know which drink will accompany your meal! Make yourself a colourful plate of raw spinach, pumpkin and grated carrots. A vitamin cocktail that will boost your body!
5. Oily fish
Vitamin D is essential for a top-notch immune system. Eat fatty fish rich in omega 3, such as smoked herring, sardines, mackerel, salmon. You can vary the flavours with mix herbs.
What to drink?
Aside from carrot juice, which you might get tired of over time – even if it’s rather appetizing spiced up with a few spices – green tea will be excellent to stay hydrated! In addition to its draining and diuretic effect that keeps your kidneys functioning and cleanses toxins, it is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols and thus preserves your youthfulness and health. Also, it boosts your energy.
My remedy every morning to boost my immune system: green tea with one tsp of honey, one tsp of turmeric (powder) sprinkled with a few shavings of fresh ginger! You mix everything, and you drink the Holy Grail! When I feel weak and tired, this remedy is radical and works wonders. I will write an article soon on the benefits of ginger, turmeric and honey, (in the meantime find all my healthy recipes here).
Consume green tea in moderation (opposes the assimilation of iron, so it is contraindicated in case of anaemia), and of course drink water!
A few tips
- Fighting stress
Stress weakens our immune system, so it is important to stress as little as possible. A very recent study conducted by Sophie Ugolini, Inserm research director at the Marseille-Luminy immunology centre and specialists from the CNRS and Aix-Marseille University has just proved this.
Again, not so easy when quarantined! Exercise as much as you can, it releases endorphins, the happiness hormone, and lowers your stress level.
- Sleep well, because sleep recharges our defenses.
- Drink alcohol with moderation because excessive alcohol consumption weakens your immune system and can make disease symptoms worst, according to a study published in BioMed Central’s BMC Immunology journal.
- Respect hygiene measures
Of course, if boosting your immune system can allow you to fight more against the virus, there is no doubt that the only genuinely effective measures are the rules of hygiene (washing your hands, keeping your distance, wearing a mask, sneezing/coughing in your elbow etc.) Finally, avoid getting tested if you are not sick so as not to overburden health services that are already overworked.
Tutorial – “Homemade” protective mask
Finally, I prepared a tutorial for you to realize your homemade protective mask. I insist on the fact that this mask does not replace an approved mask. It’s merely to deal with the shortage and it’s always better having a paper mask than nothing. A doctor recommended to me this method in case of lack and advised me recently to add several layers of paper for better protection. This video is in French but it’s easy to follow the different steps.
You just need a stapler, paper towel and rubber bands. This mask will protect you against sprays and droplet projections but doesn’t filter the air.
Good luck and take care. I think of you!