By Katey Watson, March 2020
This week on Instagram, I listened to a helpful (non-scary) interview of Dr Jenna Macciochi (an established Immunologist) by doctors_kitchen. Dr Macciochi provided some practical tips to reduce the risk from coronaviruses (and many other infections). I’ve summarised her key advice below:
Wash hands regularly, especially after touching commonly used surfaces – I know – we’ve all heard this, but it really is important!
Hand gel needs to contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective. (Hand washing with soap and water is better).
If possible quit (or at least reduce) smoking – the virus enters lung cells through a receptor called ACE-2. Smoking increases the number of these receptors, providing more doorways. (I don’t know if this includes vaping, but I’ll try to find out and update).
Sleep is very important! – our 1st line of defence immune cells (Natural Killer cells) plummet without enough sleep making us more likely to succumb to infections.
Eat a diverse range of plant-based whole foods (e.g. vegetables, salads, fruits, legumes, grains) – they contain health-protective fibre, phytochemicals and flavonoids (includes coffee and good quality dark chocolate! – in moderation of course). But, keep sugar consumption minimal – it feeds gut microbes, harmful to health. For more information about good and bad carbohydrates: Article: Carbs: The good, the bad and the sometimes ‘farty’!
Be cautious about fasting – it is not yet known what type/level of fasting is beneficial or detrimental for fighting the COVID-19 virus.
Avoid very intensive exercise – it puts a strain on the immune system.
Try to reduce stress (find some time for relaxation) – stress suppresses the immune system making us more likely to succumb to infections.
Face masks are only effective if they are the correct type and regularly changed due to moisture build-up. Therefore, enable our health workers to have enough by not bulk buying their stocks, so that they can safely treat those of us potentially infected.
Pixabay images in order of appearance:
1) jacqueline macou – hand washing
2) xaviervandeputte0 – hand gel
3) tookapic – smoking
4) Free-Photos – sleep
5) silviarita – diet
6) Welcome to all and thank you for your visit! ツ- diet
7) Mimzy – fasting
8) skeeze – intensive exercise
9) Gerd Altmann – stress
10) Juraj Varga – face mask