• María Cecilia Pfund, MS, RDN, LD

Nutrition Impact on Coronavirus


Nutrition has an impact on our health for better or for worse. What we eat has a directly affects our immune system, which is essential for defenses against illnesses and viruses. In particular, the elderly, underrepresented minorities, and those with underlying medical conditions are most affected by nutrition factors.


A diet rich in saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and sugars, and low in fiber, unsaturated fats, and antioxidants (Western diet, WD) is linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes, which increases the risk of death and severe symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19). WD activates the immune system responses that leads to chronic inflammation and reduced defense against viruses. Furthermore, after recovering from COVID-19, there are potential long-term consequences, leading to chronic medical conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disease, likely through inflammatory responses in the body, which increase when following an unhealthy diet. On the other hand, studies show that consuming healthy foods has a rapid anti-inflammatory effect, even when obesity is present.


In conclusion, it is always important to eat healthier, but now with the pandemic, it is even more so t. Consider making high intake of fiber, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and antioxidants part of your self-care to boost immune function.

Take-Home Message: It is important to watch out what we eat and make changes in the diet to stay healthy and decrease complications of health conditions. Specifically, look out for ways to increase fiber, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and antioxidants while decreasing saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and sugars.


Reference

Butler, M. J., & Barrientos, R. M. (2020). The impact of nutrition on COVID-19 susceptibility and long-term consequences. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 87, 53–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.04.040

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