Protecting Your Body Against COVID-19


Image by CDC

By now, we’re sure you’ve heard about the new Coronavirus that’s spreading across continents. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness that can range from the common cold to more severe diseases. The current outbreak that is all over the news is a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans, identified as COVID-19. As with many viruses, there are a lot of preventable measures we can take to help protect us against infection. Whether it’s a coronavirus, the common cold, or the flu, taking these easy everyday actions can help prevent the spread of viruses. To strengthen the immune system, that starts with good nutrition!

Easy Everyday Precautionary Steps To Take

  1. Always wash your hands with soap and water!

  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when out in public places until hands are washed.

  3. If possible, avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  4. Stay home when you are sick. If you have a scheduled appointment with a Simplex Dietitian but are under the weather, know you can always switch your appointment to a virtual session! These appointments still allow you to check in with your dietitian to receive ongoing support when an in-person visit isn’t possible.

  5. Always cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.

  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces at work using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Give Your Body the Nutrition & Lifestyle It Needs Fight Off Viruses

Healthy Diet: Follow a Simplex approved diet focused on whole, nutrient-dense foods. To strengthen your immune system, it is important to eat a well-balanced and healthy diet focused on real food. Food should be free from added sugars and processed foods. The good news is that every Simplex Health protocol is developed to optimize your immune system.

Sleep: Aim for around 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function and renders our ability to fight off infections. Studies have shown that t-cells (white blood cells that hunt and destroy germ infected cells) go down, and inflammatory cytokines go up when you are lacking sleep, which could potentially increase your risk of getting sick.

Reduce Stress: When we are stressed, a hormone called cortisol is released. Although we require some cortisol under normal conditions, chronically elevated cortisol can become problematic. High cortisol levels can lead to impaired immune function, putting you at a higher risk of getting the flu. To reduce stress, practice mind-body techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to reduce stress and enhance your immune system. *Want more information on stress management? Ask your Simplex Health Registered Dietitian.

Limit Alcohol: Alcohol dampens the immune system and can affect the way gut bacteria interact with the immune system. Alcohol consumed in excess can disrupt the gut barrier leading to leaky gut. While regular consumption is not encouraged, when consumed in moderation, alcohol should be limited to no more than a drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

Immune Supporting Nutrients

Vitamin D3: Vitamin D plays an essential role in our immune health, and low levels can weaken our defenses, increasing susceptibility to cold and flu viruses. Living in the northeast, most of our vitamin D levels will drop between the months of November and March because we are limited to sun exposure. Obtaining adequate vitamin D through the diet can also be challenging. If unable to get adequate sun exposure, talk to your Registered Dietitian about supplementing with vitamin D during the cold and flu months.

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is vital in your body’s natural defenses by maintaining mucus barriers in your eyes, lungs, gut, and genitals to help trap infectious agents and bacteria. It also assists in the production and function of white blood cells. The best food sources of Vitamin A include cod liver oil, liver, egg yolks, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, pink grapefruit, and broccoli.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C enhances many immune system functions and it is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage generated during inflammatory conditions such as the flu. Boost vitamin C levels by squeezing lemon or lime juice in your drinking water, and by including more green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, strawberries, kiwi, and citrus fruit in your diet.

Zinc: Zinc is important for activating t-cells to help control and regulate immune responses and hunt and destroy germ infected cells. Zinc deficiency can lead to increased susceptibility to viruses. Foods rich in zinc include seafood such as oysters, crab, and lobster, grass-fed beef, chicken, beans, and pumpkin seeds.

Selenium: Selenium is another important antioxidant that is known to influence the ability of the immune system to respond to infections. Increase selenium by adding Brazil nuts ( just 2 per day can get you the Recommended Dietary Allowance), other nuts and seeds, and wild-caught fish and seafood to your diet.

Prebiotics & Probiotics: Your microbiome houses approximately 70% of your immune system. Therefore, having good gut health supports a healthy immune system. Include both probiotic-rich foods and prebiotic-rich foods in your diet. Probiotic-rich foods include coconut kefir, kombucha, and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut. Prebiotics are the food that feeds the good bacteria in the gut. Foods rich in fiber, such as asparagus, onions, leeks, and Dandelion Greens, are examples of prebiotics.

Meet with Simplex Health

Want to learn more about how to boost your immune system? Schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with a Simplex Health Registered Dietitian. Schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation with a Simplex Health Patient Success Coordinator today. SCHEDULE HERE


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