NOTE: William W. Li, MD, is an internationally renowned physician, scientist and author of the New York Times bestseller, “Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself.” His groundbreaking work has led to the development of more than 30 new medical treatments and impacts care for more than 70 diseases including cancer, diabetes, blindness, heart disease and obesity. His TED Talk, “Can We Eat to Starve Cancer?” has garnered more than 11 million views. He is president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation and is leading research into COVID-19. This is a guest post by Dr. Li. You can learn more about his work here.
Nutrition plays a critical role in helping to fight disease and activate our body’s defenses at every stage in our lives. I’ve been busy researching COVID-19 to understand how the virus affects our health defenses. By now, most of us are familiar with the most dominant characteristics of the coronavirus. It’s much more contagious than the common flu virus, symptoms may vary from severe difficulty breathing, blood clots, and gastrointestinal distress to temporary loss of smell or no clinical symptoms at all. One thing discovered is that it attacks our blood vessels, which is why blood clots form. So, we need to protect our circulation.
Of course, you should continue to follow guidelines on wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands. The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) says that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting people from COVID-19 and help keep adults and children from getting seriously sick. The CDC also advises that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, which are rare, and that the vaccines can reduce the risk of people spreading the virus.
But what else can you be doing to protect your body against the virus? We’re in this for the long haul, so supporting your body’s own defense system is important—now and going forward.
As we continue to navigate the pandemic, it’s extremely important to place a focus on what we’re eating in order to do what we can to fight back against COVID-19. As I describe in my book, “Eat To Beat Disease,” it’s also important to point out that it’s not just about the food that you’re eating, but also about how your body responds to what you put in it. Focusing on boosting your immune system through food is one of the most powerful things that you can do.
10 Foods and Drinks to Fight Back Against COVID
In order to make it easy for you, I put together a list of 10 things that you can eat and drink that will help your immunity and strengthen your body’s defenses during COVID-19.
Blackberries: These berries are a great source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. They’re great for your gut bacteria, which means they’re great for immunity.
Blueberries: Research has shown that blueberries increase certain types of immune cells in healthy people.
Broccoli Sprouts: Sprouts are baby broccoli plants that are great for salads and smoothies. Research shows that eating these actually “pumps up” your immune system against viruses.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: EVOO ramps up your number of immune cells and activates them.
Green Tea: A natural substance in green tea, called EGCG, calms inflammation and helps to reset immune systems to healthy levels.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms increase protective antibodies from your saliva and ward off infection. The good stuff is in the stems as well as the caps so make sure you enjoy both.
Oyster Sauce: It’s used for sauces in Chinese food and actually made from oysters. Scientists have shown that extracts made from oysters can boost a healthy immune response and calm inflammation at the same time.
Pecans: Pecans are packed with fiber and omega-3s that support immunity.
Pomegranate Juice: Increases a healthy bacteria in the gut called Akkermansia. Higher levels of this bacteria is associated with an improved immune response.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C. You can eat the tomatoes whole, cook them, or enjoy them as a sauce. Just eat them!
For more on how to boost your immunity with this top 10 list, watch Dr. Li here.