The Hobart

Diet And Immunity – What You Can Do

by Benedict Freudenmann
Diet And Immunity – What You Can Do

Although we’re learning more about Coronavirus everyday, there’s currently no accepted conventional treatment or prevention of Covid-19. Because of this, natural alternatives are worth investigating.

Your immune status determines your susceptibility to infection and your overall health outcome. While there are many things we don’t know about this virus, it does seem to be following similar patterns to other viruses, affecting those who are elderly, immune compromised or have comorbidities such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. This means dietary and lifestyle practices that support your immune system are going to have a generally protective effect and will also increase your baseline happiness, resilience and sense of well-being. Nothing is going to guarantee complete protection, but boosting your immunity certainly won’t hurt. And remember, stress is arguably one of the most potent immune suppressors on the planet.

So let’s get practical, what are basic dietary and lifestyle practices to support your immune system? Eat your vegetables. Vegetables contain so many essential nutrients that support our immune system. We are blessed to live in a country filled with fresh produce. Ensure you’re getting at least five servings of vegetables each day. That means vegetables with every meal of the day! Also, drink plenty of water, get out into the sunshine, exercise, get at least seven hours of quality sleep and make sure to laugh everyday.

Some natural substances have been specifically studied for other Coronavirus infections. But I’d like to highlight – Garlic.

“Nothing is going to guarantee complete protection, but boosting your immunity certainly won’t hurt.”

In 2016, the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, researchers found that garlic extract had inhibitory effects on Coronavirus-associated infectious bronchitis “IBV,” in a chicken’s embryo, suggesting this treatment might work for other coronavirus diseases like SARS and MERS.

Nothing beats fresh, local, Tasmanian garlic. Luckily it’s currently in season, so incorporate it into your diet as much as possible. If you want to get the most from the garlic, have it raw. The primary active ingredient in garlic is called Allicin, which is created when garlic is crushed. By cooking, garlic we lose some Allicin.

One teaspoon of freshly minced raw garlic with Manuka honey taken daily is an easy way increase your intake. You can also make this ahead of time and store in the pantry for up to a week. Although all honey has some antiviral properties, research has shown that Manuka honey is the most effective against influenza viruses in vitro.

Always consult your doctor or relevant health professional before starting any major dietary, lifestyle or supplemental change. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. ■

Benedict is a clinical nutritionist who practices at in Hobart.

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February 2024

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