Foods To Help Build Your Immune System Fight the Corona Virus and Other Diseases.
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Precautions to Take with Food. The Corona Virus
Food Safety and Corona-virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Corona-viruses are generally thought to be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food, it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day, wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
In general, because of the poor survivability of these corona-viruses on surfaces, there is likely a very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that is shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.
A different kind of clean eating is on everyone’s mind during the time of the coronavirus.
Food presents a surface that the coronavirus can live on, which is why there is suddenly an intensely heightened importance to sanitizing everything when stocking up the refrigerator and pantry.
Grocery stores are doing their best to ensure shopper safety, like Whole Foods, which has enacted a 50-shopper limit. Many stores are even taking drastic measures to protect workers and customers alike with sneeze guards and plexiglass. Still, everyone is responsible for taking extra precautions to make sure groceries are safe before storing them at home.
Having purchased your groceries it is recommended to store them outside your home. I know this can be difficult in most situations. The recommendation is to leave groceries outside your home for three days — by storing them in a garage, on a porch, or in an entryway — in the hope that by the time you bring them in, they will be rid of the virus.
“When you go out to get your groceries, and you bring them home, try not to bring them into your house unless you absolutely need them”. Those who have their groceries delivered should do this, too. “Have the delivery person dump them outside, so you can bring them in when you need them.
This method for sanitizing groceries might not be possible for urban dwellers, especially when living in big cities or in apartment buildings, but there are other ways to ensure food is safe to eat.
All unnecessary external packaging should be discarded.
For bagged produce, if two people are available, one person can open the refrigerator’s crisper and the other can dump in the vegetables, disposing of the bag. Items like bread can be placed in sterile storage containers.
“We know that coronavirus can likely live on cardboard for 24 hours, but on the inside, no human hands have touched this for more than a few days,” when removing something like a cereal bag, put the cereal in a separate container, and throw out the box itself.
Before bringing groceries inside, designate a clean side and a dirty side of a table, sanitizing the clean half with any standard disinfectant. Then place the groceries on the dirty side of the table.
“Imagine that the groceries that you have been covered with some glitter, and your goal at the end of this is to not have any glitter in your house, on your hands, or especially on your face,” he says.
Using a sanitizing towel, “make sure your rag is good and saturated with disinfectant” and start wiping everything down.
“More hard plastic things that you’re not worried about disinfecting more liberally,” like medication bottles, can be sprayed directly and then wiped down.
“Now, you wanna wipe off the areas that you think humans’ hands were touching a bit more liberally than the areas that you don’t think human hands have touched.
The Good News
According to multiple health and safety organizations worldwide, including the CDC, the USDA, and the European Food Safety Authority, there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 has spread through food or food packaging. Previous coronavirus epidemics likewise showed no evidence of having been spread through food or packaging.
There’s not enough evidence to conclusively prove that food can’t transmit COVID-19, but the empirical proof that we have says that’s not the case. Even if food is contaminated while it’s being made or in transit, whatever amounts of the virus may be in, it will end up in your stomach, not your lungs.
Which is Safer. Shopping or Food Delivery?
It’s actually riskier to buy your own food because that involves getting out of the house, touching all sorts of surfaces, and interacting with people. But it’s not because of the food itself. You should avoid touching your face and any surfaces you don’t have to. Once you get home, wash your hands, change your clothes, and wash your hands again. Then start unpacking everything, and sanitize things in the process.
Then… you guessed it… wash your hands some more. The same goes for preparing your meals. Wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face. Finally, go for heated meals, as cooking or reheating food will also kill any SARS-CoV-2 that makes it on your food: Temperatures and times for corona-virus are not yet fully researched, but scientists suggest a temperature of 149°F (65°C) for at least 3 minutes is sufficient. Experts assume that the virus will respond like other pathogens and that hotter temperatures will require shorter times, but we currently do not have experimental data to prove it.
The Importance of Nitric Acid in Our Food
What Is Nitric Oxide?
Nitric oxide is used by the body for cell signaling, and blood vessel dilation to promote better blood flow and there’s evidence that it helps lower blood pressure and improve brain function. How can we get more nitric oxide? We can boost our nitric oxide simply by the foods we eat.
What Are These Foods?
- Beetroot Juice – Beets are the king of raising nitric oxide levels. Beets have a lot of nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide. According to one study, consuming a beetroot juice supplement raised nitric oxide levels in the subjects by 21% in 45 minutes. Another study showed drinking just 3.4 ounces of beetroot juice every day significantly raised nitric oxide levels in men and women. 3.4 ounces is about what TSA lets you take on the plane for carry-on liquids so it’s definitely not much.
- Garlic – Maybe this is why people have taken garlic for colds for centuries. Garlic boosts levels of nitric oxide by activating nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme involved in the conversion of nitric oxide from the amino acid L-arginine. So if you’re taking arginine supplements, garlic will help turn more of it into nitric oxide. One study showed that aged garlic extract temporarily increased blood nitric oxide levels by up to 40% within an hour and another study found that aged garlic extract also helped maximize nitric oxide absorption by the body.
- Leafy Greens – Green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, arugula, and celery are packed with nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide in your body. One study found that regularly eating green leafy vegetables was associated with healthy levels of nitric oxide in the body so this is the single best way to keep elevated levels of nitric oxide in your body. Time to start eating more salads!
- Citrus Fruits – Or anything high in vitamin C. But of course, oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit are all excellent sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a critical role in health and raises levels of nitric oxide by increasing its bioavailability and maximizing absorption. Research also shows that it may increase levels of nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme necessary for the production of nitric oxide.
- Nuts and Seeds – Almonds, cashews, walnuts, chia seed, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, and sunflower seeds have a lot of arginine, a type of amino acid that assists in the production of nitric oxide. Research suggests that getting arginine from foods like nuts and seeds in your diet can help increase nitric oxide levels in your body. For example, a large study involving 2,771 people showed that a higher intake of arginine-rich foods was associated with higher levels of nitric oxide in the blood. Another study found that supplementing with arginine increased levels of nitric oxide after just two weeks.
What to buy for your pantry:
Beans and legumes
Reach for these on your next trip to the store, because they’re not only long-lasting but also a great starting point for a nutrient-rich meal. “Beans and legumes are excellent shelf-stable sources of plant protein,” Pike said. Chickpeas or lentils, for example, can be mixed with salads and pasta dishes, or used in soups and stews. They can also be used for making homemade hummus, according to culinary nutritionist Jackie Newgent.
Canned or vacuum-packed protein sources like tuna or salmon are also highly nutritious and offer a boost of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
These are a great source of protein and healthy fats, and pair well with lots of foods, from crackers and bread to apples and bananas, according to Pike. Sun butter, which is made from sunflower seeds, is appropriate for those with peanut or tree nut allergies.
Whole-wheat and bean kinds of pasta, quinoa, and brown rice
These are the nutrient-rich grains to stock up on, and they can be used as a side dish or mixed with proteins and vegetables.
You can cook oats and add savory toppings like grated cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, or even eggs for a quick, nutrient-rich meal. And note that while eggs do require refrigeration, they still “have a longer shelf-life than most refrigerated foods and can be very versatile as well,” Pike added.
A high-fiber, high-protein dry cereal like Kellogg’s Special K protein cereal or Kashi’s GO cereal with low-fat milk can also come in handy as a quick mini-meal.
Canned, sugar-free fruits and vegetables
Stocking up on canned vegetables, canned fruit, and applesauce without added sugar is also wise. Be sure to rinse canned vegetables to get rid of extra sodium. And don’t forget canned or jarred tomato-based sauces, Newgent said: “You don’t need to make your own sauce unless you prefer it.
“Dried fruit, popcorn, and yes, chocolate
Dried fruits like prunes, apricots, raisins, cranberries, and figs are a sweet source of iron, fiber, and antioxidants. They can be combined with nuts — including my favorite, omega-3-rich walnuts — or almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, or pecans. Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds are also a tasty nutritious option and can be used for DIY trail mixes. Popcorn is also a great source of fiber, and you can sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top to turn it into a savory snack or add dried fruit or mini chocolate chips for added sweetness.
You can even indulge in a stash of chocolate, though the healthiest kind is dark chocolate, which is rich in anti-aging flavanols.” It is certainly okay to incorporate a few indulgent foods, like chocolates or other sweets,” especially during stressful times, Pike said. “As with any eating occasion, be mindful and check in with your hunger before and after.
“Water, shelf-stable milk and coffee
Remember, in addition to stocking up on foods it’s important to stay hydrated.”The general rule of thumb for emergencies is to store at least one gallon of water per person or pet per day and to have a three-day supply handy. However, if you typically drink tap water or have some sort of filter, I wouldn’t worry about buying copious amounts of water,” Pike said. Milk is also a good source of calcium and immune-boosting vitamin D, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be refrigerated.
“Having a shelf-stable milk or plant beverage on hand isn’t a bad idea if you don’t want to or cannot venture out to the grocery store,” Pike explained. And caffeine counts too. “Consider whether you have enough caffeine to get you through a few weeks,” Pike said. “You may need to create your own latte or brew your own pot of coffee if you don’t want to or cannot venture to your favorite coffee shop.”
More on Foods and Herbs
1. Bell Peppers
Tossed into salads, stuffed with cheese and rice, or layered in sandwiches, these colorful fruits are easy to incorporate into your diet. But the nightshades are also rich in vitamin C, a popular nutrient for cold and flu treatment.
Vitamin C can help boost immunity and limit the duration and severity of common colds. It is a powerful antioxidant that can promote cell health and limit inflammation while being accessible in a wide variety of foods. You can also find it in kale, strawberries, and papaya.
Papaya, in particular, may have unique benefits for immune health because of its high vitamin C and probiotic content.
This popular ingredient is also known for immune health. It contains a number of compounds that can provide immune support, with the most powerful being allicin. Allicin is converted into sulfur-containing compounds that, as research has shown, may boost the power and response of certain white blood cells.
Garlic has shown efficacy in both the treatment and prevention of colds and flu.
Chopping and crushing garlic is the best way to activate allicin. So, after chopping, keep your garlic away from heat for 10 minutes before cooking.
Ginger is another nutrient-dense plant that’s known to have significant benefits in fighting infection and boosting immune strength. One lab study found that ginger could stimulate the immune system to kill viruses. Ginger is also noted to possess anti-inflammatory properties, which can also help support a healthy immune system.
Treat yourself to a cup of soothing ginger tea by boiling a two-inch piece of ginger root (peeled and thinly sliced) in two cups of water. Add some raw honey and lime juice to taste.
4. Plain Yogurt
Foods featuring probiotics, like yogurt, may offer immune support. A healthy population of gut microbes is associated with lower levels of systemic inflammation and improved immune function.
Your healthiest option is plain Greek yogurt, as flavored varieties are often loaded with sugar. You can add your own flavor by drizzling with raw honey and/or sprinkling berries and nuts on top.
5. Almonds & Peanuts
Foods rich in fat-soluble vitamin E, like almonds and peanuts, are essential to immune health. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that helps protect cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. It is available in a wide variety of foods, which is the best place to get vitamin E. Supplementing, especially at large doses, can be harmful.
6. Green Tea
Green tea is a terrific source of antioxidants and amino acids that can boost immune strength. First, it is the best source of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to boost immune response to fight infections. Green tea is also a good source of L-theanine, which can enhance immune function by stimulating the secretion of immune cytokines (early responders to infection).
Other sources of L-theanine include coffee, black tea, and oolong tea.
Turkey, like other meats, is a good source of vitamin B6. Research has shown that vitamin B6 increases immune response in critically ill patients, and is a known role player in a healthy immune system.
Other sources include cold-water fish, whole grains, eggs, leafy greens, and beans.
More than just an aphrodisiac, these saltwater mollusks are one of the best food sources of zinc. Zinc is a trace mineral associated with strong immune function. It plays a role in both developing immune cells and immune cell function. There is also some evidence that adequate zinc intake can reduce the risk of infection from a host of pathogens.
Zinc deficiency is very rare. In addition to oysters, you can get it from whole grains, milk products, red meat, poultry, beans, and nuts.
Evidence suggests that shiitake mushrooms, the Brown-capped fungi popular in Asian cuisine, can offer benefits to immune health. Long used for medicinal purposes, one study showed that eating two dried shiitake mushrooms per day could reduce inflammation and improve the number of immune markers in the blood.
Shiitake mushrooms have also been found to promote heart health.
Elderberry is an herbal supplement that may help fight cold and flu infections. Studies have shown that elderberry extracts/syrup can significantly reduce the duration of flu-like symptoms. It’s possible these effects are due to high concentrations of antioxidants that boost immune response.
What to buy for your freezer:
Bread, deli meat, and fresh seafood
Remember, fresh foods can be frozen, which will allow you to enjoy them at a later date. “Take full advantage of your freezer, including for foods that freeze well but that you might not typically freeze, such as milk, deli meats, and bread,” Newgent said.
Additional fruits and vegetables
Here’s some uplifting news:
Research has revealed that frozen fruits and vegetables can have just as many vitamins — and sometimes more — as compared to fresh. Frozen strawberries, blueberries, and peaches can be used for smoothies, while spinach, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, and green beans can be used as a solo side dish or mixed with pasta or rice. Packaged foods help meet the nutrition needs of many of us, including vegetarians, as well as those who have special dietary restrictions.”For vegans and vegetarians, packaged alternatives are a good option,” Pike said, including items such as frozen bean burritos, frozen veggie burgers, and frozen veggie pizza.
Food is Medicine
Research continues to prove that food is one of our best medicines, especially when we want to boost our immune system. Food plays a critical role in coronavirus prevention. For instance, if you get the coronavirus, you can heal and make a faster recovery with great nutritional support and by eating immune-boosting foods.
You can help boost your immune system by eating oranges. Packed with flavonoids, oranges are loaded with powerful antioxidants that repair and regenerate tissues and help protect cells.
Broccoli stimulates your immune system. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are good sources of vitamins A, C, and E. Broccoli is an immune-boosting food that is also a good source of folate, manganese, and iron. Broccoli contains a compound called DIM that boosts your immune system.
You know that a steamy cup of tea helps soothe some of your cold and flu symptoms, but did you know that it can also help prevent illness? For instance, studies have found that tea contains amazing compounds that help your body fight viruses and germs.
Did you know spinach has 377 percent of your vitamin A, 29 percent of your vitamin C, and 19 percent of your vitamin E. Spinach is a nutrient-rich “superfood,” and has folate? As a result, this helps your body produce new cells and repair DNA. Also, spinach boasts fiber, and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and is loaded with immune-boosting iron.
Packed with antioxidants that help protect your body from getting diseases, the super-food blueberries can help prevent viruses like the coronavirus.
Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds
Squashes like pumpkin provide a good mix of vitamin A, along with other vitamins and minerals to help boost the immune system. When you cook up that immune-boosting food, roasting the seeds for the extra cold and flu-fighting power is a great and tasty idea.
Mushrooms are great immune-boosting food. For example, button mushrooms are a great source of disease and flu-fighting agents.
Just one cup of beans provides 13 percent of your daily zinc. Black beans – and other beans – are also a good source of manganese, folate, iron, and soluble fiber. These all help prevent and fight disease.
Oysters are great immune-boosting food. There is a large amount of the mineral zinc in oysters. Zinc appears to have some antiviral effects. As a result, it is important for healing wounds and boosting overall immune system status.
Hydrating and refreshing watermelon has plenty of a powerful antioxidant, glutathione. Glutathione is known to help strengthen the immune system so it can fight infection and is found in the red pulpy flesh near the rind.
Fresh cabbage is a great source of immune-strengthening glutathione. By adding cabbage to soups, stir-fries, or casseroles you easily get a huge immune boost.
A handful of almonds helps your immune system from the effects of stress. For instance, a 1/4 cup serving carries nearly 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E, making almonds a great immune-boosting food.
A daily cup may reduce your chances of getting the coronavirus. Look for labels listing “live and active cultures” and “vitamin D” on the label. Researchers believe they may stimulate your immune system to fight disease. Recent studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of getting viruses.
Garlic gives you several antioxidants to help boost your immune system. Cut up your garlic and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking to activate immune-boosting enzymes.
Sweet potatoes have the antioxidant beta-carotene, which greatly benefits the immune system. Boasting large amounts of vitamin A, which is linked to slowing the aging process. As a result, sweet potatoes may reduce the risk of some cancers.
Always consult your Doctor first.
Thank you for reading.
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