As we enter a second wave of Covid-19, prevention remains the top priority. With the current dangerous rate of spread, it is essential to work on health and immunity to reduce risk or severity of symptoms.
If you are or have been on my programs, you will realise that all this is already built into them, because health is essential to long term success. I have seen that people who have completed my programs are mostly asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. It is my goal to ensure I help as many people as I can, even if you are not on any of my programs.
In this article I will outline:
- What you can do immediately based on scientific research.
- What you should start working on, on a daily basis, for better health and immunity.
I have linked multiple research papers at the end of this article for your reference. Remember! Adopting a consistent, long-term dietary pattern is the only way to benefit human health.
What can we do quickly?
Health and immunity is built over time. However, vitamin and mineral deficiencies drop our immunity. While it is always best to get your nutrition from a varied diet, the circumstances today are different. If we treat this as an emergency, which it is, then the first thing we should do is - Reduce All Deficiencies.
Even though it takes time to bring up deficient levels with food, I still recommend continuing with a varied diet. Due to the current circumstances, we need to bring these up quickly and this is where supplements might be helpful.
There is research pointing to 4 main immediate factors that have shown a reduction in the risk of contracting Covid 19 and its severity.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Multi Vitamins
- Vitamin D
A recent research conducted, studied 372,720 people across 3 months showcased the following results:
- Taking probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, multivitamins or vitamin D was associated with a lower risk of infection.
- Probiotics 14%
- Omega 3 fatty acids 12%,
- Multi Vitamins 13% and
- Vitamin D 9%, after accounting for potentially influential factors, including underlying conditions and usual diet.
What is interesting is that no such effects were observed amongst people who were taking just vitamin C, zinc, or garlic supplements, as you might see in the media. While this was an observational study but it does provide ground for us to work with.
How do we apply this?
Try adding curd / yoghurt into your diet. Adding fermented foods will also help. If you do not have access to these then a Probiotic supplement would be ideal.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
I have written about this before. You need DHA which comes primarily from fish due to the DHA rich algae they eat. If you are a vegetarian, please look for an algae based supplement. Read more here
There are over the counter varieties in abundance, or you could ask your doctor for a recommendation.
This is the tricky one because this is the one vitamin you should not take too much off. If you have not checked your levels in over 6 months and do not go out much, or if you have been deficient in the past, it is possible you are deficient. You should speak to your doctor about taking a maintenance dose. However this is an important one to consider because “major clinical reports are showing vitamin D deficiency contributes to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) SARS-CoV-2 and that case-fatality rates increase with age and the highest SARS-CoV-2 serum concentrations.”
What you should start working on, on a daily basis for better health and immunity.
- The research shows that individuals with high BMI, obesity, sedentary lifestyles and other co-morbidities have higher risk and severity. Nutrition and overall lifestyle is now showing as a large factor in the way the virus affects us.
- Although knowledge about the nutritional profile of patients suffering from COVID-19 is still limited, the currently available evidence shows that nutritional disorders are linked to worse clinical outcomes, as well as with increased infection risk.
Start by adding in the essentials :
- A varied diet: focus on adding a colourful range of fruits and vegetables through the week.
- Whole Grains and Pulses: simple lentils, legumes, millets, amaranth, and whole grains.
- Dark Leafy Grains: aim at eating dark leafy greens at least 3 times a week.
- Ensure you are adding sufficient amounts of protein. Click here to read my posts on Protein sources for vegetarians.
- Reduce your intake of processed food, deep fried food and alcohol.
- Probiotics : simple curd is a great addition. Dosa, idli and other fermented food is also beneficial. Please check back for some recipes for pickling vegetables and even our traditional Kanji.
- Get in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. You can find free simple workouts on my Instagram page to get you started.
- Supplementation as needed
- Try to move more through the day. Aim to do 10,000 steps everyday.
- Find time for relaxation activities. Aim for at least 10 minutes a day.
- Try to get in at least 6 hours of sleep.
- Stay hydrated and ensure that your urine is never dark yellow. Consuming 3 litres of water a day is a great place to start.
While this is in no way a replacement for medical therapy, we need to work towards a healthier and fitter body right now. All of the above are simple to do and will have a profound impact on your health in the long term.
I am not recommending any brands as this is not a collaboration or sponsorship of any sort. My objective is to share my knowledge. It is best to message or call your family doctor and ask for recommendations.
I will be covering multiple aspects of each of these on my Instagram and Facebook feeds. Make sure you are following me and have your notifications turned on. I will also be covering how to get these vitamins and minerals from regular food.
Find me on Instagram @simrun.chopra
- Taking multivitamins, omega-3, probiotics or vitamin D supplements may lessen the risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 infection -- at least among women -- indicates a large population study, published online in the journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.
- Does vitamin D deficiency increase the severity of COVID-19?
- Evidences for a protective role of vitamin D in COVID-19
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids and COVID-19: A Comprehensive Review
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids and COVID-19: A Comprehensive Review
- COVID-19: Role of Nutrition and Supplementation
- The importance of vitamin d metabolism as a potential prophylactic, immunoregulatory and neuroprotective treatment for COVID-19
- Nutritional perspectives for the prevention and mitigation of COVID-19
- The Role of Nutrition in the COVID-19 Pandemic