Prevention is essential against the new coronavirus, respecting hygiene and distancing measures. Beyond this premise, however, it is also important to put our body in the best conditions to face every threat, including the viral one caused by the new coronavirus. Diet plays an essential role here too. Let's see what the latest scientific research on nutrition says to strengthen our natural defenses but also to reduce excessive inflammation that, as has been shown, causes a severe course of the disease and also opens the doors to Long Covid. Long Covid is a condition that appears even months after recovery from the new coronavirus infection and is characterized by symptoms such as mental confusion, loss of muscle mass, weight loss, pain in muscles and joints, fatigue and cough.
Green tea with antiviral action
Green tea has been shown to have an interesting antiviral action. Previous studies had already been able to demonstrate that the epigallocatechin gallate, the most powerful active ingredient in green tea, has a broad-spectrum antiviral action that is also effective in fighting respiratory viruses (Liu et al, Cell Biosci, 2021). Tests in the laboratory have shown that the antioxidants in green tea help inhibit the entry but also the replication of the influenza A virus. And this antiviral action of green tea is also observed against the new coronavirus. In fact, very recent studies have shown that the epigallocatechin gallatecan inhibit the infection but also the replication of the new coronavirus. Not only that, this substance is also able to reduce inflammation, thus lowering the hyperreactivity of the immune system, which would otherwise determine a more severe course but also important long-term consequences, even after healing, as happens in Long Covid ( Liu et al, Cell Biosci, 2021). Remember that to maximize the properties of green tea, some precautions must be observed during preparation. First of all, the water must not boil, but it should be around 60-70° C. The water must then be removed from the heat and only at that moment are the tea leaves added, a teaspoon of tea per cup plus a teaspoon for the teapot. The infusion is long, it should take up to ten minutes in order to extract all the catechins. Filter and drink the tea within the next hour.
Against viruses green light to polyphenols
Polyphenols are precious natural antioxidants, contained in fruits and vegetables, which can help in the fight against the new coronavirus, blocking the entry of the virus, its replication but also attenuating an excessive immune response. For example, quercetin and kaempferol, contained in berries, elderberries, cherries, but also in onion, asparagus, lettuce, oregano, spinach and kale, are antiviral and anti-inflammatory. Also worthy of note is the theanine of black tea, which is a powerful inhibitor of SARS CoV 2 replication. Phenolic compounds, such as chlorogenic, caffeic and gallic acids, contained in coffee, extra virgin olive oil, apples, artichokes, carrots, tomatoes, aubergines, kiwis, grapes and pomegranates, counteract the new coronavirus, as well as the herpes simplex, hepatitis B and C and influenza A viruses. Finally, don't forget the grape resveratrol, which effectively fights viruses (Da Silva et al, Biocatal Agric Biotechnol., 2021).
The role of diet against Long Covid
Long Covid can bring with it the loss of muscle mass and a marked weight loss, due to the high level of inflammation. Therefore, it is important to include a source of protein, both vegetable and animal, at every meal or snack. In addition, some amino acids, such as arginine and glutamine, contained in seeds, almonds, walnuts and pine nuts, but also fish and eggs, play an essential role in modulating the immune response (Barrea et al, Nutrients, 2022). Since Long Covid is the result of a high level of inflammation, omega 3 fatty acids are also important, since they reduce inflammation (Barrea et al, Nutrients, 2022). Foods that contain omega 3 are chia seeds, flax seeds, fish, such as salmon and sardines, and nuts. In addition to the above, it is important not to miss fruit and vegetables, especially if they are rich in quercetin and resveratrol, given the anti-inflammatory action. Finally, a role is also played by vitamin D, which reduces inflammation and strengthens the immune system. It should also not be forgotten that the new coronavirus infection reduces the levels of vitamin D, hence the importance of supplementing this vitamin. Sources of vitamin D are sun, but also cheese, fish and mushrooms. It is possible to use vitamin D supplements but in this case always ask your doctor for advice first (Barrea et al, Nutrients 2022).
Neem cortex, the future ally against the new coronavirus?
Finally, here is a very recent piece of news that paves the way for promising treatments against the coronavirus and its variants. Well, neem also takes the field in the fight against this virus. In particular, the neem cortex, thanks to its antiviral properties, has been shown to bind to the spike proteins of the SARS CoV 2 virus, thus preventing infection and its proliferation. Not only that, the neem cortex has been shown to bind to the virus in several places, paving the way for the hypothesis that this remedy may also be effective against variants of the virus (Sarkar et al, Virology, 2022). The next step will now be to develop neem-based medicines to counter viral infection.