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Coronavirus, the role of diet and lifestyle

Coronavirus, the role of diet and lifestyle

April 21, 2020
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A very recent study, published a few weeks ago in the journal Clinical Immunology by a Norwegian, French and Thai team (Gasmi et al, 2020), analyzed diet, lifestyle and hygiene rules that help in the fight against coronavirus.

First of all, scientists highlighted the importance of the social distancing that avoids the contact with salivary droplets emitted by infected persons. Essential is also to wash often the hands with water and soap for a minute, to not touch the face with dirty hands and to use solutions to disinfect hands and surfaces. The most effective solutions against coronavirus should contain alcohol, in a quantity that varies from 62 and 71% or, but only for surfaces, 0,1% sodium hypochlorite. For what concerns the lifestyle, smoking is considered a worsening factor in case of COVID-19 infection. Luckily, this is a habit that you can modify, for this reason, if you are already smoking, this could be another could reason to stop it now! Then, there are situations, such as hypertension and diabetes, that may cause complications in case of infection. In these cases, of course, since they are unchangeable conditions, what to do is to follow strictly the treatment prescribed by your doctor and to observe scrupulously indications and hygienic rules.

Finally, let’s speak about diet and microbiota, namely the bacteria of our gut, whose health is linked to our lifestyle and diet. A healthy microbiota guarantees the wellbeing of the body and supports the immune system while an unbalanced microbiota may cause or worsen body inflammations. For this reason, according to the study, it is important to include, in our diet, sources of prebiotics (for example asparagus, garlic, chicory, onion, banana, rye and barley), probiotics (yogurts that report on the label that they contain probiotics, sauerkraut, kefir) and antioxidants (berries, dark chocolate, black and green tea, cabbage, broccoli). Then, it is also important the intake of micronutrients that help the immune system. For example, vitamin D (sun exposition, mushrooms, cheese, egg, anchovies) that may play a role in preventing the acute infection of the respiratory tract, vitamin A (leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, papaya, eggs) that supports the immune response, and vitamin C (oranges and citrus fruits, kiwi fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers). A vitamin C deficiency is indeed associated to cases of pneumonia. Take into account also selenium (Brazil nuts, garlic, onion), helpful in viral infections, and zinc (milk, cheese, seafood, legumes such as chickpeas and lentils, dry fruit such as almonds, pine nuts and cashew).

However, you should not think that some supplements of vitamins and mineral salts are enough to counteract the virus. This article is useful to understand that we need to use a wide range of weapons to counteract this emergency, from hygiene, to safe distance but also diet and lifestyle. All helps to prevent infection or make our response more effective in case of aggression.

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