Not to be a “Killjoy” here but as “Eating to Prevent Coronavirus” posts escalate across social media once again, I thought a dose of reality was warranted.⠀⠀⠀⠀

Don’t get me wrong, eating a diet rich in certain nutrients can optimize the function of your immune system, but short-term nutrition shifts are not going to prevent the coronavirus. The key thing to keep in mind is that your immunity is linked to a SYSTEM – it is not just one thing or a simple equation of “do this and this will happen.” It is so much more complex and involves things outside of your control [i.e. genetics and stage of life].⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

As an evidence-based practitioner, my advice is more pragmatic. Most importantly – follow CDC guidelines for hand washing, use of sanitizing products, and contact with others. Navigating nutrition may become more difficult if we need to rely more on pantry and frozen ingredients for meal preparation. With this in mind, here are my top 4 food nutrition guidelines to support your immune system to fire on all cylinders in the upcoming months:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  1. Eat more vitamin C-rich foods [fresh or frozen]: citrus fruits, bell peppers [all colors], strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, and kiwi⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  2. Keep zinc-rich foods on hand: beans [canned], cashews [raw], shellfish [frozen or fresh], seeds, and wheat bran⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  3. Consume more vitamin E: almonds [raw], sunflower seeds [raw], peanut butter [unsweetened, natural]⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  4. Increase omega-3 intake: salmon [frozen], chia seeds, canned fish [i.e. sardines, mackerel]⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Overall, focusing on colorful, plant-foods will increase circulating blood levels of antioxidants which will support your immune system. Avoiding processed foods, added sugars, and alcohol is also recommended.

To learn how to support your immune system click here and download my FREE eBook “Your Ultimate Guide to Nutrition for Optimal Immunity.”

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Constance Brown-Riggs

Registered Dietitian

An award-winning registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the author of the Diabetes Guide to Enjoying Foods of the World; The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes.

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