Nutrition in COVID-19 has become more important day by day while COVID-19 pandemic have infected more than 69 million people and taken nearly 1,5 million people’s lives worldwide.

While precautions focus primarily on social distancing, therapeutics, and hygiene, there are serious underlying vulnerabilities in individuals infected by the coronavirus. The vulnerable factors include advanced age, obesity, systemic coagulopathy or thrombosis, acute respiratory failure, inflammation, immunodeficiency, and neuropathologies.

Nutrition in COVID-19 and other supplements and herbs including various combinations and compositions, support metabolism and physiology required for health. A balanced diet, with the good nutrients are vital to health and supports normal B and T cell functions for optimal disease-reducing immunity.

A recent review describes the role of nutrition in COVID-19. The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and specific minerals play a significant role in the physiology of the immune system.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A improves responses to vaccines and augments both cellular and humoral immunity.

Sources: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, beef, liver, eggs, shrimp, fish, pumpkins, mangoes

Vitamin D

Vitamin D supports innate immune responses to influenza A-B, parainfluenza 1–2, and low vitamin D status is associated with an increased risk of both upper and lower respiratory tract infections. Thus, vitamin D status appears to play a role in antiviral immunity and depending on vitamin D status, immunity could be compromised, especially in the elderly.

Sources: Fortified milk and cereals, fatty fish

Vitamin E

Vitamin E deficiency is known to impair both humoral and cellular immunity. Additionally, the fat-soluble vitamins serve a role in tissue growth.

Sources: Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can also support antiviral immune protection in rodents and general functions   in antioxidants pathways as well as co-factors for physiology of immune tissues. There is currently no evidence that any supplement can ‘boost’ our immune system and treat or prevent any viral infections, except Vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the major constituents  of water soluble vitamins which tends to make a strong immune system. The daily recommended dietary allowance for Vitamin C is 90mg/d for men and 75mg/d for women.

Sources: Citrus fruit, potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts

Trace Elements

Trace elements that support immune functions include Zn, Cu, and Mg.

Zinc (Zn): meat, shellfish, legumes, whole grains

Copper (Cu): shellfish, nuts, seeds, whole-grain products, beans, prunes

Magnesium (Mg): Spinach, broccoli, legumes, seeds, whole-wheat bread

Fatty Acids

In addition essential fatty acids also have modulating effects on immunity and inflammatory processes. The essential fatty acids and related long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) supports immune functions. A balanced diet must include adequate essential fatty acids and both n-6 (sunflower oil, avocado) and n-3 (fatty fish, rapeseed oil and linseed oil, walnuts) for the immune system and control inflammation.

Other than that here are some important guidelines on nutrition in COVID-19;

  • Eat fruits daily (guava, apple, banana, strawberry, cantaloupe melon, grapefruit,pineapple, papaya, orange, Longman fruit, blackcurrant, pummelo) with a serving size of two cups (4 servings).
  • Eat fresh vegetables (green bell peppers, garlic, ginger, kale, lime, coriander (dried),broccoli, green chili pepper) 2.5 cups of vegetables (5 servings) legumes (beans and lentils).
  • Eat whole grains and nuts, 180 g of grains (unprocessed maize, oats, wheat, millet,brown rice or roots such as potato)
  • Use nuts like almonds, coconut, and
  • Red meat can be eaten once or twice per week, and poultry 2−3 times per week. Use foods from animal sources (e.g. fish, fish, eggs, and milk) and 160 g of meat and
  • For snacks, choose fresh fruits and raw vegetables rather than foods that are high insugar, salt or fat. Avoid irregular
  • Do not overcook vegetables as it leads to the loss of important nutrients such asvitamins and minerals.
  • When using dried or canned fruits and vegetables, choose varieties without addedsugar or salt.
  • Make sure the food is prepared and served at acceptable temperatures (≥72°C for 2mins).
  • Limit the salt intake to 5 grams a
  • Consume unsaturated fats (found in avocado, fish, nuts, soy, olive oil, canola, cornoil, and sunflower) rather than saturated fats (found in butter, fatty meat, coconut and palm oils, cheese, ghee, and cream).
  • Drink 8–10 glasses of water every It helps to transport nutrients in the blood,gets rid of waste, and regulates the body temperature.
  • Avoid all fizzy, carbonated, concentrated juices, and all drinks which contain
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle of exercise, meditation, and regular sleep. Adequatesleep will help to support immune

Unfortunately, by the time an individual gets COVID-19 infection, the benefits of nutrition- based interventions can do little to mitigate or reverse the course of the disease.

However, proper nutrition in COVID-19 can help improving immune responses and aid inflammatory processes.

Dieticien Su Sevilgen