Below is our initial summary of COVID-19 and nutrition to help support your immunity. Your immune system is your body’s defence against illness. Following general health guidelines are the best way to keep your immune system strong and healthy. Here are the key evidence based guidelines.
Fruit and vegetables are high in many vitamins, minerals, fibre, and water. These key nutrients all play a role in your immune system. Eat a wide range of colours to maximise your intake. Aim to eat 5-10 portions per day (approximately 80-100g per portion). These foods also contain prebiotics which help to nourish your gut bacteria. Highly processed food typically does not provide these benefits.
Being dehydrated impacts your immune system negatively. Maintain hydration by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This is 6-8 glasses per day, or approximately 2 litres per day.
Alcoholic drinks can weaken your immune system’s responses and contribute to dehydration. Persistent use can lead to serious health conditions. Remove or reduce alcohol from your diet as much as possible.
Do not smoke. If you are a smoker now is a good time to stop.
Getting adequate sleep means approximately 7-9 hours per night. This allows your body to rest, recover, and deal with infection and inflammation. Good sleep hygiene might mean you use black out blinds, maintain a cool temperature in the room, and remove screens 2 hours before you go to bed.
There is a lot of misinformation around supplements including herbal ones. Whilst there are many claiming to ‘support immunity’, and some have found to alter components of immune function, thus far science struggles to demonstrate that they can actually bolster the immune system. They should not be used as a substitution for a quality balanced diet, or when medical care is required. A quality diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, protein, fats, and carbohydrates can provide your body with all essential nutrients.
If you want further advice please seek guidance from Registered Dietitians, or Registered Nutritionists.