People of all ages who suffer a stroke typically are left with some deficits and disabilities. One of those deficits is a reduced immune system. However, whether it is true for you or not, it behooves us survivors and our extended communities to do everything we can do to improve our immune systems in order to fight off the COVID-19 virus. In that spirit, I thought that the following material from my friend Joanne Irwin would be most helpful to the extended stroke community. I would like to thank Joanne for permitting me to share this important information.
Founder and Managing Director
Stroke Recovery Foundation
Each month Food for Life instructors are treated by PCRM to outstanding Professional Development seminars. Since I started with PCRM back in 2008, I’ve been privileged to participate in these monthly events. I’m an eager, forever student!
Last night we had a treat. Dr. Neal Barnard, President and Founder of Physicians Committee, presented on Immunity and COVID-19.
The following are snippets from his talk. Hopefully, this will help (readers discriminate) between myth and fact regarding foods and the virus.
Know that there are more questions than answers regarding nutrition and COVID-19, but we do know that nutrition impacts immunity.
- However, important to keep in mind that no foods have, yet, been researched on immunity impact and the virus.
- Folks with heart, lung, and high blood pressure (HBP) issues are at added risk when contracting the virus.
- 40% of folks with severe infection had HBP before infection.
- Immunity decreases with obesity – fat on our bodies and fat in our foods.
- During the H1N1 crisis, half the folks diagnosed had obesity issues which directly impair white blood cell function.
- White blood cells recognize, destroy, and engulf viruses but fat impairs their strength.
- Fat may influence immune strength. An Australian study showed reduced lung function, killer cell suppression; white blood cells don’t work in an oil slick!
- Including vegetables and fruit in diet increase immune function.
- Blueberries have been shown to increase killer cell function.
- Currently, none of the foods have been tested for immunity impact on COVID-19.
- What we do know is, regarding garlic, a 12-week study of 146 participants showed that garlic supplements impacted the effect of colds: 1/2 the participants took a placebo, the other half the garlic supplement. The placebo group evidenced 65 colds; the garlic group, 24 colds.
- Resveratrol does seem to inhibit replication of viruses. (Found in grapes and wine.)
- Ginger: Dr. Barnard is not sold on ginger being an immune booster; it is an anti-inflammatory, but no research shows that it knocks out viruses!
- Carrots and sweet potatoes which are loaded with beta-carotene – research needed on if that anti-oxidant is an immune booster. Unknown right now.
- Vitamin C can boost immune function.
- Vitamin D can have immune boosting capacity; Can reduce risk of respiratory infection.
- Many folks take zinc to boost immunity. Be careful; in excess zinc can impact immunity negatively. Cold Eeze product, which contains zinc, is good for initially fighting a cold as it reduces the length of a cold; but do not take zinc supplements.
- Please remember that nutrition can impact immunity, but diet has not been researched regarding this horrid COVID-19!!!!
A Q&A with Dr. Barnard added additional info:
- There is some evidence that Elderberries may fight inflammation, and may be an immune booster, but that has not been verified, as yet, by research.
- Studies being done regarding nutrition and COVID-19 are including a cohort study to track health of vegans.
- Contracting a virus is more common from hand to mouth than nasal.
So, folks, we must maintain our social distancing, wash hands frequently, and keep hands away from nose, eyes and mouth. I’m wearing a mask and gloves every time I go to the grocery store.
We made a batch of homemade masks today without having to sew. There are many tutorials on You Tube showing you how. Very easy. Anything helps.
So, I pray that some of this may be helpful, and that this brief update finds you well, while maintaining faith and hope during this very difficult time. We will get through this, and God-willing emerge more loving and centered when on the other side.
To your health!
Photo Credit: Pexels.com
Joanne Irwin, M.Ed.
Food for Life Instructor, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Certified Plant Based Educator/Consultant, Nutritional Studies Program, eCornell