Fuel and Protect

As you are all very much aware by now, COVID-19 has been spreading throughout the Irish community and steps are being taken nationwide in order to decrease the rate at which this virus is spreading.

Given the mass closures of schools, public buildings and businesses all over the country (ours included), its no wonder that many of you are starting to worry about the very real potential of the virus affecting your health.

With this in mind, I decided to put together some useful nutrition and lifestyle information to hopefully alleviate some of your concerns, and show you that there are plenty of small steps that you can take within your everyday life that could help boost your immune system and protect you from COVID-19.

While we aren’t medical professionals or dieticians, a little bit of research seems to show that we can help prepare ourselves for COVID-19 by bolstering our immune systems and preparing our bodies to deal with this unwanted visitor should it come knocking on our door. As always, please do keep in mind that our number #1 recommendation is to listen to the advice of experts and medical professionals.

Vitamins and minerals that have been proven through research that help maintain a healthy immune system include Vitamin A , deficiencies of which have been linked to respiratory illness (Calder, 2013) and

beta-carotene, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin, iron, zinc and selenium (Marcos, Nova and Montero, 2003).

While maintaining adequate levels of these nutrients is no guarantee that we will stay healthy, it definitely can’t hurt to try and stay on top of these levels in the current climate.

Good sources of these vitamins include eggs as well as orange and yellow fruit and veg (vitamin A); sweet potatoes (beta-carotene) and carrots (beta-carotene); meat, fish and soya beans (vitamin B6 and B12); citrus fruits, broccoli and cauliflower (vitamin C); nuts and vegetable oils (vitamin E); eggs, milk and green veg (riboflavin); red meat, beans and lentils (iron); red meat, poultry, nuts and chickpeas (zinc); and brazil nuts and fish (selenium).

As we can see there are many varieties of foods I have mentioned here that will contribute to boosting the immune system by providing some useful micronutrients (so many in fact that I had to leave several of them out!).

This list isn’t intended to make us "panic buy" everything en masse, but to show us that by maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, we will do our immune system the world of good.