What foods will stop me getting Coronavirus?
Bethan Leach, Dietician for Care UK’s HMP Bullingdon and HMP Huntercombe, is here to answer your nutritional questions. In this first article, Bethan tackles the question around infection fighting foods.
Sadly, we aren’t going to find a magic, quick-fix way of beating Coronavirus by eating certain types of food.
Despite all those catchy headlines that promise us a ‘boost’ to the immune system by eating five kiwis a day while standing in a bowl of ice cold water, or by juicing this exotic new berry only just discovered in the mountains of Peru.
The truth is, the immune system cannot be “boosted” through diet, and no specific food or supplements will prevent you catching COVID-19.
There are, of course, many nutrients (such as copper, folate, iron, selenium, zinc and vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D) absorbed by the body from the food we eat that aid the immune system with its normal functions. Therefore, enjoying a varied and healthy balanced diet will help to support the normal immune function and response.
To date, the European Food Safety Authority have not authorised any claim for a food or food component in the UK to be labelled as protecting against infection.
Good hygiene practice remains the best means of avoiding infection. I’m sure you don’t need a reminder of what that looks like in the current climate, but here it is again anyway. The most important advice remains:
Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.