As coronavirus COVID-19 is a viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. Recovery depends on the strength of the infected person's immune system.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on March 9, 2020

Even if you are super fit and super healthy, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is a serious infection and a strong immune system is your only protection. The number of people diagnosed with the new coronavirus now exceeds 106,000 worldwide with several new countries reporting their first cases. Nearly 3,600 people have died.

Those who are infected with coronavirus COVID-19 are said to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is a viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. Recovery depends on the strength of the infected person’s immune system. Many of those who have died have been said to already be in poor health.

What to do every day

Follow the advice from your government and health authorities. The elderly are most at risk, but human immune systems actually start to decline in your twenties.

“Your thymus gland is where the body’s T cells (white blood cells that fight infection) are produced, and this starts to atrophy in your 20s,” said Dr Ross Walton, a viral immunologist developing vaccines for flu. “Healthy, relatively young people have a responsibility to stay well so they can avoid spreading an infection that could kill someone more vulnerable.”

Eat a Mediterranean diet

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Eating a low-carbohydrate Mediterranean diet rich in different coloured fruits and vegetables will give you the best chance of getting the wide variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients your body needs to fight infection.

“Have the fruits and vegetables whole and ideally with the skin on as this contains essential fibre that feeds the healthy bugs in your digestive tract, crucial to fighting infection,” said Dr Claire Bailey, a GP with a special interest in immunity and author of Clever Gut and Blood Sugar Diet, The Telegraph reported.

Stay hydrated

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Staying hydrated is of paramount importance and it is so easy to do. Try and drink two litres of water daily.

“Hydration is critically important but vastly overlooked,” said Dr Walton. “So many metabolic functions rely on it.”

    Water is the main component of blood, which supplies cells with oxygen and nutrients and carries waste out of the body.
  • Water regulates internal body temperature. Through the process of sweat production and evaporation, one’s body can avoid overheating. The blood on the skin surface is cooled, and it carries this cooling effect to the body’s interior.
  • Water lubricates joints.
  • Water cushions vital organs.

Water does not count if you’re boiling the kettle and making a large cup of coffee or tea. Tea and coffee are diuretics. Water rich foods include watermelon, zucchini, cucumber, grapefruits, strawberries, and lettuce.

Vitamin D

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Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that primarily aids calcium absorption, promoting growth and mineralisation of human bones. It’s also involved in various functions of your immune, digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems.

Skin can produce large quantities of vitamin D on its own when exposed to the sun’s UV-B rays. Fatty fish and seafood are among the richest natural food sources of vitamin D. Mushrooms are the only completely plant-based source of vitamin D. Egg yolks are another source of vitamin D that you can easily add to your diet.

Eat sourdough bread and gut-friendly fibre

The slow-fermented sourdough bread, ideally made with a more ancient grain such as spelt, or einkorn, is one of the healthiest things for your gut bacteria – microbiome – and a great source of fermented fibre which is the best of both worlds. Other gut-friendly fibres include fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Eat a sensible amount of zinc

The human body does not store zinc and it has to be added to your diet through meat, red meat in particular, fruits, vegetables and fibre.

Crush garlic into your food

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Garlic bulbs contain a compound allicin that is released only when crushed and left to sit for a while before using in cooking. It fights bacteria.