COVID? Eating your way out of the 2nd wave
If you want to survive the COVID-19 then don’t get sick. Your immune system is like Hitler’s Germany — it is not good at fighting on two fronts (fighting you and the virus).
We are getting hit. The second coming of the Mighty COVID wave is evident. Some countries already got it, some are getting it, and yet the rest of the word will get it. Soon.
I used to be a medical doctor, a very long time ago. Still, I suspect that I am better informed of the human immune system, than an average Fox channel presenter.
Most viral infections, the flu and its cousin COVID, have no cure. Our only line of defense is the immune system that detects, destroys and expels the invaders, in a way a Penn State fan gets removed from an Ohio State bar in Columbus. To fight the virus effectively our immune system needs:
- to be in a good shape
- to able to concentrate on a single invader (so, don’t get any other infection, and try to tame your allergies)
Most of us have sub-par immune systems — we eat junk, we watch CNN, we breath toxic air, we drink mood enhancing but highly unhealthy beverages, we smoke tobacco and some other plants, and we totally spend too much time online watching YouTube videos, or reading junk, just like my story here.
“Forewarned is forearmed”. We still have a few weeks, days or minutes to brace and follow these 6 simple hacks:
1. Do NOT panic!
We just don’t need those pesky stress hormones, like adrenaline, cortisol and achetycholine to depress our natural defenses. Trust me, it is never too late to lock yourself in the basement with a laptop and some wonderful book, like “100 great ways to cook your pet”… Your survival chances are very high. Living in Detroit is still more dangerous.
2. Do NOT take immunostimulants. If you are already sick, then it is too late to take them — most of the them need several days to show any effect. If you are not sick yet, than it is too early to take them — they will start working, get your immune system into overdrive and then deplete your natural immune reserves. Game’s over!
So, when is the good time to take the immunostimulants? Well, it is NEVER — unless you have a serious chonic immune disorder.
3. Get a moderate TAN. Surely, an excessive tan depresses your immune system, but a moderate one speeds up the production of vitamin D. So, the effect on the immune system is mildly positive. And… use the Sun (the star at the center of the Solar System), and not the Sun Tan City.
4. EAT the right food. Those smart ancient Chinese thought that any disease could be cured with the correct diet. Somehow they did not survive to face the COVID.
Our goal is to avoid deficiency of these basic immune system modulators:
· Vitamin C — the powerful antioxidant, which also affects the production of lymphocytes and phagocytes. Load up on oranges, bell peppers and broccoli. Remember, you can’t overdose on vitamin C — all extras are taken out with urine.
· Vitamin A and/or beta-carotene — it positively affects the proliferation and maturation of the cells of the innate immune system. Eat eggs and yellow/orange fruits and vegetables (if a cucumber turned yellow, I’d avoid it). And eat more broccoli.
· Vitamin D — assures that the immune systems acts as it is supposed to, like refrains from attacking own cells (a so-called auto-immune response) instead of those viral nasties. So, lay out on a beach with a cheese plate and some fried fish sticks. Fish & Chips will work too — we’d worry about that extra weight when and if you survive the pandemic.
· Vitamin E — another powerful antioxidant that protects us from free radicals but is also responsible for the higher differentiation and specialization of T-lymphocytes. Peanut butter would help. But an avocado (or a mango) a day, keeps the virus away. And a handful of almonds.
· Vitamin B6. The deficit of this vitamin reduces production of antibodies. If you are not a vegetarian, than you are probably OK. Fish, chicken, beef, ostrich, or alligator — take your pick. For vegetarians there is always tofu, and of course, the broccoli.
· Don’t like artichokes and spinach, our essential sources of antioxidants? Well, you can substitute them for dark chocolate and strawberries. Or raspberries. Play with your food.
· Zinc deficiency shuts down the immune system. Well, it almost never happens in the developed world, but if you need an excuse to eat more oysters, mussels, crab legs and lobsters — here is your doctor’s note. Unless you prefer zinc-rich broccoli.
· Selenium is responsible for the humoral immune response in intracellular fluids. From the sci-fi movie “Evolution” I learned that any dandruff shampoo is packed with selenium, but even David Duchovny would not convince me to drink “Head & Shoulders”. It is more fun eating mushrooms. And more oysters and lobsters. The tofu would suit the gastro-minority.
· Folic acid helps repair overworked immune system and is a natural mood enhancer. We need both effects in these trying times. And the best source of the folic acid is… the broccoli.
To conclude this food prescription I have this little add-on:
– Eat Indian food, especially the curries — they contain curcumin, the most powerful natural immune modulator;
– Drink green tea to load up on epigallocatechin gallate — it will help your immune system even if you ignored all my previous advice;
– Chew on garlic — its smell will keep away from you all those human virus carriers. And non-carriers too. Enjoy your distancing.
5. Some factors have positive effect on your immune system by their lack or absence. So, stay away from:
- antibiotics — they are the unnatural immunosuppressants;
- hard diets that create havoc on peoples’ digestive systems and lead to various disbalances of vitamins and nutrients
- political rallies — no hugging supporters or fighting the opponents
- stresses — if you enjoy an a drink, then have a brewski, or a whiskey. Now it is not a good time to become a tea-totaler. You can always quit later… or not.
6. Don’t get sick. Your immune system is like Hitler’s Germany — it is not good at fighting on two fronts. Don’t go kissing that nose-dripping Aunt, even if she just bequeathed her entire troll collection to you. You won’t get a chance to sell those useless things on eBay if you are dead.
So, follow these simple rules and stay alive and healthy. And read this opus every day before falling asleep at work.
Most viral infections, the flu and its cousin COVID, have no cure. Vaccinations are somewhat effective but the fast mutations of the virus render them nugatory. All the remedies prescribed simply treat symptoms, not the disease. At times helpful, they make our infected lives less miserable but do very little to actually fight the mean little infectious bastards.