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Baseline nutritional status bolsters immune health

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Supporting consumers’ desire for healthier diets rich in key nutrients can further help them keep well in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic

As the world faces restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19, consumers seek to boost their well-being by eating a healthy diet. Indeed, several vitamins including A, B, C, D and E, folate, and trace elements (such as zinc, copper, iron) support the immune system.1,2 Furthermore, glucose, amino acids and fatty acids provide energy to immune cells activated upon pathogenic infection.2

Good dietary habits can boost the body’s innate immune response. For example, vitamin A alleviates clinical signs and symptoms related to pneumonia; daily doses of vitamin D help prevent and fight infections in the respiratory tract; and zinc plays a key role in decreasing the timeline of common colds and pneumonia.2 There are a host of food sources of these critical nutrients—green vegetables can deliver vitamin A, folate and iron, for example;2 however, it can be difficult to reach optimal intake on a diet alone. Further, foods like liver (a repository for fat-soluble vitamins and key minerals) are uncommon in many consumers’ diets, making supplementation a more common—and palatable—choice.

With lockdown restrictions in place, most consumers are at home more frequently, leading to alterations in daily habits such as eating, exercise and outdoor exposure,1 which consequently impose challenges for optimal nutrient intake. Consider vitamin D, usually produced in the body when the skin is exposed to the sun, but a vitamin that most consumers are deficient in. As more consumers are staying indoors all day, supplementation is likely critical to fill the vitamin D supplementation gap.

People following a healthy diet tend to have stronger immune systems and lower prevalence of illnesses and infections.1 Drinking lots of water is also very important as it helps with hydration, body temperature regulation, and waste filtration. It also helps to better distribute and transport nutrients throughout the body.3

 

 

References

  1. Aman, F., and Masood, S. (2020). How Nutrition can help to fight against COVID-19 Pandemic. Pakistan journal of medical sciences, 36(COVID19-S4), S121–S123.Available at:  https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.36.COVID19-S4.2776
  2. Calder, P.C. (2020). Nutrition, immunity and COVID-19. BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. 3:e000085. doi:10.1136/ bmjnph-2020-000085. Available at: https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/3/1/74
  3. NHS Inform: illness and conditions. (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19): Diet and healthy weight, Overview. Available at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/healthy-living/coronavirus-covid-19-diet-and-healthy-weight
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