In light of this difficult time period and due to the struggle to understand and contain the COVID-19 outbreak, I want to send all of you, on behalf of Longevity Escapes, some general nutritional recommendations on how to boost your immune system with specific foods, herbs and supplements that we believe are worth trying and are cost-effective. For a more personalised approach, you can always book a free nutrition appointment to check for side effects and contraindications that might be unique to your health condition. Please also note that the information displayed on this post does not substitute the advice provided by your healthcare professional or physician. For safety reasons, supervision from a qualified practitioner or nutritionist should always be a must before attempting to supplement with higher doses than the daily recommendations.
Let’s first recap the essentials.
10 Steps to Protect Yourself:
Sanitising solutions and tissues should be kept in handy when heading outdoors.
Regularly clean the screen on your phone and computer keyboard. If sharing a computer, wash your hands after touching the surface.
Ventilate on a daily basis in each room at home.
Diffuse in each room a blend of antiviral essential oils mixed with purified water: tea tree oil, oregano, clove, lemon balm, rose etc.
Use an all-in-one humidifier, ioniser and air purifier when possible to clean the air and maintain a good level of negative ions and humidity. Negative air ions and air quality improvement can inhibit the growth of viruses and pathogens. Remember that viruses thrive in toxic environments but struggle with warm temperatures and humidity.
Sleep no less than 7 hours and no more than 9 hours per night. For a good rest switch off wifi router and mobiles, and keep away from your bedroom.
Avoid stress as much as possible as can suppress immune function.
Buy a new toothbrush. Toothbrushes can harbor viruses and prolong the illness if you experience symptoms.
Stick to a Mediterranean diet and lifestyle that includes plenty of sunlight, fresh air, daily walks, 6 to 8 servings per day of fresh vegetables, fruits, pulses, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish, eggs, and drink 2 litres of filtered water preferably.
Boosting Your Immune System with Essential Nutrients
Numerous aspects of cellular metabolism are zinc dependent, which makes zinc an essential mineral in maintaining the integrity of the immune system. For best absorption, zinc should not be taken alongside foods high in calcium, citrus fruits or juices as this might diminish the effectiveness of the mineral.
A word of caution: It seems that vegans are more susceptible to mild zinc deficiency due to the amount of phytic acid found in whole grain products and plant proteins that makes it less bioavailable. We heartily recommend vegans supplementing with zinc to ensure good levels.
Best bioavailability sources of zinc are seafood, red meat and eggs.
Please also note that Zinc supplements can interfere with the absorption of certain medications, especially with certain antibiotics. Do not supplement with extra zinc if you are unsure and do contact your practitioner or nutritionist for advice and suitability.
According to several studies, Vitamin D can protect against acute respiratory infections overall by enhancing innate immunity. According to a study published in Thorax, Vitamin D deficiency is apparently common in people who develop Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which is also a condition that can take place in COVID-19 infected people. See below our recommendations on how to best use Vitamin D.
Supplementing with Vitamin C is probably the most commonly recommended strategy for cold and flu prevention. What probably most people don’t know is that Vitamin C can stimulate both the production and the function of leukocytes (white blood cells), especially neutrophils, lymphocytes, as well as phagocytes. To get the most out of these benefits, you should know that not all vitamin C supplements are equally bioavailable with some supplements having a reduced intestinal absorption rate. In order to purchase supplements with increased cellular accessibility, please use our recommendations below.
A warning on high vitamin C intake: it may cause excessive absorption of iron, therefore, we do not recommend the intake of high vitamin C doses with iron supplements or if your blood test results show higher rate than normal.
Has shown to stop replication of seasonal flu and is essential for making the powerful antioxidant Glutathione needed during detoxification. Might also help to relieve symptoms of respiratory conditions.
Andrographis herb is also used in Ayurvedic medicine sometimes known as the Indian echinacea. Its compound Andrographolide has been found to have antiviral properties over many types of viral infections.
Elderberry extract is probably one of the top-selling herbal supplements worldwide. According to some studies, flavonoids found in elderberries can block the ability of the viruses to infect host cells and reduce the duration of cold and flu symptoms but it is unclear if it is effective on treating Covid-19. There have been some reports on the increase of cytokine storms by elderberry supplements. To avoid potential side effects, it should be used only as a preventive strategy or at the very early stages of the disease.
Other foods and herbs to consider:
Glutathione (GSH) is required by the immune system for two important reasons: it protects host immune cells through its antioxidant mechanism and it provides the optimal functioning of lymphocytes and other cells of the immune system.
While garlic is one of the most classic precursors herbs to enhance production of GSH, asparagus, avocado, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, chives, tomatoes, cucumber, almonds, and walnuts can also add to the equation.
The following herbal teas can reduce the likelihood of upper respiratory infections, reduce symptoms and are a healthier option than coffee during these difficult times.
Liquorice root or more specifically its powerful antiviral compound, glycyrrhizin*, has been tested and found effective against SARS, HIV and AIDS.
*Please note however, that glycyrrhizin is a powerful compound that can also inhibit certain enzymes, increase cortisol serum levels, elevate sodium and reduce potassium levels. It is highly recommended to speak with your practitioner or nutritionist before using liquorice – especially if you have been on any other medications.
We advise against eating dairy products or mucus-forming foods if you currently suffer from cold or flu symptoms or have an upper respiratory infection. If you do not display symptoms use dairy products in moderation such as kefir.
Recommended probiotics: Miso soup and fermented vegetables.
Prebiotics are a type of fibre that the human body cannot digest. They serve as food for probiotics including bacteria in the GUT.
Here are healthy prebiotic foods you can should include in your diet:
Artichoke, Green banana, Apples, Onions and leeks, Dandelion Green, Barley, Oats, Seaweed
Organic chicken and/ or vegetarian broth and hot soups in general are highly recommended to boost your lung health, especially if you are a smoker. Add a bit of cayenne pepper to help prevent or break up infection.
To ease your online search for the right supplement, we have made a list with notes which include the above recommendations and that you can buy directly on our website with a 10% discount. Please note that due to the recent high demand, you may experience delays with your orders.
Vitamin C blend:
Mix in 1 glass of water, 500mg of Vitamin C Bioflavonoids in powder with 1 Tsp of Liposomal. Stir vigorously. Drink twice daily.
Depending on your gender and health condition you might want to opt for one of the following supplements. To make sure you buy the right supplements please book a free consultation here.
Vitamin D + K
We hope the above recommendations are useful to you and if you need a more personal approach be in touch. In the meantime, please take care of yourself and your loved ones.