How the Mediterranean Diet Can Protect You From COVID-19

How the Mediterranean Diet Can Protect You From COVID-19

Medical disclaimer: The information on this site, and in this specific blog, is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to making dietary changes. 

When it comes to respiratory tract infections, nutrition plays a big role in your ability to fight off the infection. Nutritional factors aren't a guarantee you won't get Covid-19, but good nutrition can strengthen your immune system to help you fight off invading germs that cause acute respiratory tract infectious diseases such as Covid-19. Along with nutrition, physical activity is also a major factor to a healthy immune system.

Following a healthy diet includes eating nutritious foods that strengthen your immune system and support your adaptive immune response. Studies have shown that consuming an unhealthy diet can hinder or suppress immune function which can majorly impact immune response to foreign germs, bacteria and viruses.

The Mediterranean diet has many health benefits for both physical and mental health. It's full of foods that prevent and help treat cardiovascular disease and cardiometabolic disorders such as diabetes–both of which predispose you to COVID-19. In fact, for the last 5 years in a row, US News & World Report has named the Mediterranean diet the #1 “Best Overall Diet” for health. 

Shopping for the Mediterranean Diet

What is the Mediterranean Diet and Why is it Beneficial for Preventing and Fighting Off COVID-19?

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy way of eating that has been around for centuries. It's based on the traditional foods eaten in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Italy, Greece, and Spain.

The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It also includes moderate amounts of fish and poultry and low amounts of red meat.

The Mediterranean diet can be beneficial for preventing and fighting off COVID-19 because it's high in antioxidants, which help your immune cells fight against respiratory tract infections. The antioxidants in the Mediterranean diet also help boost your overall immune system.

The healthy fats in the diet help keep your heart healthy, which is important for potentially preventing severe complications caused by COVID-19. The Mediterranean diet is also low in sugar and processed foods, which can potentially help reduce your risk of contracting the coronavirus disease.

How do Dietary Factors Affect COVID-19 and Immune Responses?

A healthy diet is an important component of a strong immune system. You can think of your body like the army and food as their ammunition. 

But what are some good foods to eat to help improve your immune system in the fight against COVID-19? There’s  plenty of existing evidence to point you in the right direction and one study from Harvard Medical School asked that exact same question.

One of the most interesting takeaways from these randomized controlled trials is that a high-quality diet rich in vegetables and fish may potentially lower your risk for COVID-19 as well as other viruses and bacteria. The study’s results also showed that if you were to get a viral infection then there were potentially less severe symptoms compared to those who didn't consume these healthy foods!

Harvard Researchers

The Benefits of a Healthy Diet

The Mediterranean diet is full of foods that strengthen your immune system and support your overall health and well-being. The Mediterranean diet has many health benefits and is proven to support life longevity.

The diet is more of a lifestyle full of foods that can help prevent and help treat cardiovascular disease and cardiometabolic disorders such as diabetes–both of which predispose you to infections like the flu or COVID-19.

In addition, the Mediterranean diet is a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect your cells from damage. The healthy fats found in the Mediterranean diet can also improve your lipid profile and reduce inflammation, both of which are important in preventing and treating COVID-19.

If you're looking for an effective way to boost your immune system and protect yourself from respiratory tract infections, the Mediterranean diet is a great option.

To ensure full benefits, make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and healthy fats in your diet.

The Mediterranean Diet Potentially Prevents and Treats Chronic Conditions

The potential benefits of the Mediterranean Diet go beyond just fighting COVID-19. It is also associated with a reduced risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and cancer.

The Mediterranean diet has many health benefits including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (which includes coronary artery disease) by up to 40%.

It has been shown in clinical trials that following this type of diet can also improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes, as well as reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Vitamin D is Essential to Help Fight Respiratory Tract Infections

Sources of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for your immune cells. It is important for keeping your immune system strong and helping to prevent infection.

Many foods that are a part of the Mediterranean diet are high in vitamin D. Some of these foods include salmon, tuna, eggs, and cheese.

Vitamin D deficiency can be dangerous and can cause depression, weak bones, hair loss, and can even increase your risk of developing cancer. Vitamin D is very important for many functions in the body.

It regulates calcium absorption so that you have strong bones. It also regulates the function of your nerves and muscles as well as regulating insulin levels (which helps to prevent diabetes) and cell growth.

Vitamin D is also a powerful antioxidant and the best way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D is through both food and supplements. Be sure to talk to your doctor about whether or not you might need a vitamin D supplement.

Healthy Foods to Eat on the Mediterranean Diet That Help Fight Acute Respiratory Tract Infections

  • Leafy greens: such as spinach and kale, are rich in vitamins C and K. Vitamin C helps protect against acute respiratory tract infections by helping white blood cells function properly. It also promotes the production of antibodies which help fight off infections from viruses. Vitamin C is needed for normal blood clotting, which helps prevent excessive bleeding when you become injured or have a cut on your skin.
  • Broccoli and cauliflower: These vegetables are also rich in vitamin C. These vegetables can be prepared by steaming or roasting them with olive oil and then added to salads or eaten as snacks throughout the day.They can also be frozen for up to a month and reheated when needed.
  • Carrots: Carrots are high in beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin C by the body. Vitamin C helps regulate immune function and gives you more energy for physical activity.
  • Garlic: Garlic contains compounds that have antiviral and antibacterial properties. It can be eaten raw or cooked into dishes.
  • Berries: Berries are a good source of antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and DNA, leading to inflammation and cell death. Antioxidants from berries scavenge these harmful molecules and help protect cells.
  • Fish: Such as salmon and tuna, are high in omega-­‐​­­­ fatty acids. Omega-​​­ fatty acids help reduce inflammation and support the immune system. They can also be beneficial for heart health.

Excellent Food Sources of Vitamin D

Here's a short list of some foods that are packed with vitamin D:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • fortified milk or orange juice
  • Vitamin D fortified cereals and whole grain breads (check the label for vitamin d)
  • Vitamin D fortified yogurt (check the label for vitamin d)

Foods to Avoid on the Mediterranean Diet to Fight Against Respiratory Tract Infections

If you're looking for optimal nutrition to support healthy immune function, stick to the Mediterranean diet and avoid these foods! The Mediterranean Diet supports immune function so your immune response can fight off viral infections.

Some of the foods listed below like red meat and dairy can still be healthy in small doses. If you can't picture yourself not eating these foods, then try substituting them.

For example, you can drink almond or oat milk instead of cow's milk or find dairy free cheese.

Below are some foods that you should avoid to improve poor nutrition and strengthen your immune system.

Too Much Red Meat Can Affect Immune Responses

Red meats are rich in iron, and it's true that iron deficiency can impact your immune system.

However, the body cannot absorb too much iron at once, so loading up on red meat could actually put you at an increased risk of contracting viral infections.

Additionally, most Americans eat far more protein than they need to maintain good health, and red meat is a particularly unhealthy source of protein.

Over Processed Foods Can Affect Immune Function

Foods that have been heavily processed, like packaged snacks, sugary drinks, and frozen meals, are terrible for your immune system.

They're full of unhealthy additives like salt, sugar, and artificial flavors and colors that can weaken your defenses.

Dairy Products Reduce Immune Response

Many people are intolerant to dairy products, and even those who aren't can still benefit from reducing their intake.

Dairy is high in unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol, which can damage your immune system.

Alcohol Reduces Immune Response

While a glass of red wine has been shown to have some potential health benefits, too much alcohol will actually have the opposite effect. Alcohol can suppress your immune system and make you more susceptible to viral infection.

Artificial Sweeteners Reduce Immune Responses

Many people turn to artificial sweeteners to cut down on their sugar intake, but these chemicals are actually not the best chocie for your health. They can weaken your immune system and potentially increase your risk of contracting diseases.

Simple and Refined Carbohydrates Reduce Immune Response 

Simple and refined carbohydrates like those found in white bread and other processed foods can cause slow immune response.

Raw Vegetables Are The Perfect Addition

Some popular raw vegetables that people eat for good health are celery, carrots, and cucumbers.

Celery is a great source of vitamin C, as well as folate and potassium. It also contains a high amount of water, making it a hydrating vegetable to eat.

Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin C. This vegetable is also high in antioxidants, which can help protect the body from disease.

Cucumbers are a great source of silica, which is important for healthy skin, hair, and nails. They are also high in water content and contain electrolytes, which can help rehydrate the body.

How to Follow a Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet

If you're looking for a way to protect yourself from COVID-19, adopt the Mediterranean diet. It's healthy and delicious, and it will help keep you healthy and safe during this time of uncertainty.

The Mediterranean diet can be easy to adopt, but it's important that you do so gradually and consistently. If you're used to eating lots of processed foods or fast food, it will take time for your body to adjust.

The key is to make small changes over time. For example, if you're used to eating a lot of meat, try substituting with other protein alternatives such as beans or eggs.

There are plenty of tricks to help you stick to a new diet that prevents infectious diseases and improves immune function.

Apps for Healthy Eating to Improve Immune Response From Respiratory Infections Such as COVID-19

One thing you can do is try an app. Food and diet apps can help you control the portions you eat and recognize the nutritional value of the foods you eat. Some apps like Fig!, even allow you to take pictures of the food packaging to let you know whether it fits within your diet.

Just having a reminder can simplify the diet and helps you realize just how important your diet is. 

Apps can also help you cook healthy meals from scratch. If you don’t have a lot of experience in the kitchen, then an app can give you step-by-step instructions for preparing a meal.

This can help you make sure that you’re using the right ingredients and quantities so your meals are as healthy and tasty as possible.

Some apps allow you to enter your diet goals, such as losing weight or reducing sodium. Nutrition is critical in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic so it’s important to pay attention to what you eat and make sure it’s healthy for both your body and mind.

Tips to Help You Achieve Optimal Nutrition

The most important thing is to set realistic goals and prepare yourself mentally. We’re here to help you get started with our top tips on how to start a new diet:

  • Start by making small changes that are easier for your mind and body. If you suddenly change everything at once, it will be harder for you to stick to the diet.
  • Try to eat foods that you like. If you don’t enjoy the food, you won’t stick to it for long.
  • Get a buddy! Talk with your family members or friends about your goals and encourage each other. It can be fun to cook together, share recipes, tips and try new food products.

Remember, a Balanced Diet Doesn't Instantly Protect You From Viral Respiratory Infections

Be patient! It takes time for your body to adapt to a new way of eating and for your taste buds to change.

Give yourself time to see results and make sure you’re not too hard on yourself if you slip up.

If you are having trouble at first then try taking supplements along with your normal diet. There are lots of good vitamin C and vitamin D supplements that can help make your health improvements easier.

Be careful when you purchase vitamin C and Vitamin D supplements. There are many manufacturers that add fillers that can actually increase the risk of respiratory infections. Another natural source of vitamin D is the sun so try to spend some time outside every day.

Nutritious and Delicious Mediterranean Diet Meal Ideas That Can Help You Fight Covid-19

Many people are reluctant to eat healthy because they are worried the food won't taste good.

That's because they don't know any good places to eat or because the ingredients are foreign to them, so preparing meals may not come naturally. 

We're going to share some of our favorite dishes to give you some ideas and as you'll see, many of the recipes are quite simple. 

Balsamic Chicken with Quinoa, Artichokes, and Tomatoes

This delicious, nutrient packed dish brings all of the flavors of the Mediterranean right to your home. It’s actually not too difficult to make as well.

Herbed White Fish with Roasted Corn and Red Pepper

This delicious seafood dish comes with tons of nutrients, healthy fats, and flavor. This dish isn’t super difficult to make if it sounds good to you.

Longevity Stew with Black Eyed Peas & Kale

This is a vegetarian stew that is tasty and filled with all kinds of yummy veggies. This one is easy to make, but can take a little more time than the others.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Cauliflower with Peanut Satay Sauce over Forbidden Rice

This is another classic Mediterranean vegetarian dish that is jam packed with taste and nutrients. This is another dish that’s not too hard to make, but can take up some time.

Don’t Have Time For Cooking?

Do all of these meals sound delicious to you, but you either don’t have time to cook or aren’t the best at it? ModifyHealth is perfect for you. ModifyHealth makes following the Mediterranean Diet easy with fully prepared, delicious Mediterranean Diet meals. There are 32 different recipes to choose from that can be delivered to your front door with free shipping. Are you ready to see the menu? Click Here.

Low FODMAP meals