How to fight a viral infection

For many of us, the last eighteen months have been challenging emotionally and psychologically. Whether you have chosen to be vaccinated or not, we now know that you may still catch the virus. Since the beginning of the current viral outbreak, scientists have collected enough data to determine the risk factors for the outcome of this infection. We can now use some inexpensive tools to keep our immune system working correctly and fighting the virus. Here is my strategy to reduce the disease effects:


#1 Eat real food


Eating processed food, refined sugar, and refined carbohydrates has a detrimental effect on our health. Commercially mass-produced food contains chemical compounds and is seriously lacking nutritional value. For example, vitamins, especially ascorbic acid, thiamine and folic acid, are susceptible to mechanical and thermal processing methods. Blanching of vegetables results in the leaching of minerals and vitamins. Seed oils interrupt vitamin D absorption and may aggravate the existing inflammatory condition. I usually cook from scratch and buy fresh vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and poultry. If I need to buy anything else, I reach for those products that contain no more than four ingredients on their label. For example, cheese should comprise of four components: milk, salt, rennet and culture. Another example is coconut milk. It should contain coconut and water and no thickeners or stabilisers.


#2 Get adequate amounts of these 6 vitamins


Vitamins A, B6, B9, B12, C, D are endorsed by the European Food Safety Authority as six of the 10 most important nutrients for immune system health. You can eat beef, liver and eggs to get vitamin A. Likewise, you can supplement or get vitamins B6, B9, B12 and C from food. However, vitamin D is different. Since very few foods naturally contain substantial amounts of vitamin D and we do not spend enough time under sunlight, it makes sense to supplement with D3. European Food Safety Authority recommends an intake level (UL) for vitamin D as 4000 IU/day.


#3 Keep in check these 4 minerals


Iron, Zinc, Copper and Selenium complete the European Food Safety Authority list of the 10 most important nutrients. Since minerals play a vital role in many metabolic processes, it makes sense to check whether your body has enough of them. Two methods are currently available: in blood or in hair. Food is the best source; however, you can supplement as well. For example, suppose you are deficient in Selenium. In that case, two Brazil nuts a day will supply you with about 200 mcg of elemental Selenium. Alternatively, you can supplement with sodium selenite solution.


#4 Try Mediterranean Keto Diet


The Mediterranean diet is wonderfully rich in flavours, and the dishes are uncomplicated. There may be immunological advantages of triggering a metabolic state that supports ketosis. Exogenous ketones or dietary ketones produced during fasting or induced by nutrition could mitigate oxidative stress, reduce inflammation and help our body fight viral infection. In particular, ketones inhibits glycolysis which is necessary for viral replication. To achieve the keto diet macros proportion, try adding extra olive oil.


#5 Get plenty of sleep to facilitate recovery


Do you know that the time spent in bed at night does not equate to your sleeping time? Most people have a sleep efficiency of 85% or less. That means that if you want to achieve at least 7 hours of sleep, you should allocate yourself 9 hours. To improve your sleep efficiency, work on minimising sleep latency or falling asleep time. Watch the sunset. The wavelength of the sunset light sends a signal to our brains to prepare for sleep. A good idea is to wear blue-light blockers in the evenings. The blue light emitted by electronic devices or ceiling lights ruin your circadian rhythm and force your body to produce cortisol. This hormone makes you alert instead of sleepy. I highly recommend listening to a new podcast by Dr Mattew Walker. It will help you to understand the science behind sleep.


References

Current State of Evidence: Influence of Nutritional and Nutrigenetic Factors on Immunity in the COVID-19 Pandemic Framework


Investigating Ketone Bodies as Immunometabolic Countermeasures against Respiratory Viral Infections


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