Carrots, kale and apricots for beta carotene
Beta carotene gets converted to vitamin A, which is essential for a strong immune system. It works by helping antibodies respond to toxins and foreign substances. Good sources of beta carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, apricots, spinach, kale, broccoli, squash and cantaloupe.
Oranges, strawberries and broccoli for Vitamin C
Vitamin C increases blood levels of antibodies and helps to differentiate lymphocytes (white blood cells), which helps the body determine what kind of protection is needed.
Eggs, cheese, tofu and mushrooms for Vitamin D
Vitamin D regulates the production of a protein that selectively kills infectious agents, including bacteria and viruses. Vitamin D also alters the activity and number of white blood cells, known as T 2 killer lymphocytes, which can reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses.
Beans, nuts, cereal and seafood for zinc
Zinc helps cells in your immune system grow and differentiate.
Milk, eggs, nuts and more for protein
Protein is a key building block for immune cells and antibodies and plays a crucial role in helping your immune system do its job.
Protein comes from both animal and plant-based sources and includes fish, poultry, beef, milk, yogurt, eggs and cottage cheese, as well as nuts, seeds, beans and lentils. We recommend protein-rich snacks, such as roasted chickpeas, which can be eaten in place of snacks devoid of protein.
Bananas, beans and more for prebiotics
Probiotics and prebiotics help boost the health of the microbiome, which in turn supports our immune system.
Sources of probiotics include fermented dairy foods such as yogurt and kefir, and aged cheeses, as well as fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and sourdough bread. Sources of prebiotics include whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes and beans.
Though not dietary staples, some herbs may be helpful when looking for natural alternatives for viral symptoms. One convincing study found that supplementation with elderberry substantially reduced upper respiratory symptoms when taken for the cold and flu. While it hasn't been studied specifically with coronavirus, it may be good for general immune health. If you are interested in taking any herbs, check with your doctor first.
Water, fruit, soup and more for hydration
Finally, stay hydrated. Mild dehydration can be a physical stressor to the body. Women should aim for 2.7 litres of fluids per day and men, 3.7 liters; an amount that includes all fluids and water-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and soups.