In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic NTOI, the representative organisation for professional Nutritional Therapists in Ireland, would like to express its full support for government and the difficult decisions taken to slow the spread of the virus. In agreement with the advice given by the World Health Organisation, NTOI would like to offer some extra advice to individuals looking for ways to support their immunity during these unprecedented times.
- It is vital to follow the advice of fastidious hand washing throughout the day in order to wash off any accidental contact.
- Practice protective coughing or sneezing into the elbow or ideally a disposable tissue so as to blunt the spread of the virus in water droplets
- Refrain from touching your face in case your hand has come in contact with the virus by touching a random contaminated surface
- Avoid direct contact with people outside your household – act as if you are a carrier, and act as if everyone else is a carrier.
- Certainly, avoid anyone who might be even vaguely symptomatic, or who has visited high risk regions.
- Practice social distancing – it still remains the best defence against the virus.
This means refrain from hugging or handshaking when you do meet people!
In addition to these containment and preventative measures, good nutrition has been strongly advised by the World Health Organisation as well as Chinese health authorities who have the most experience dealing with the consequences.
NTOI recommends the following:
- Eat from 5 to 7 portions of varied veg and fruit per day. Eat a rainbow of coloured veg everyday
- Include in your meals the well-known anti-viral culinary herbs such as garlic, oregano, thyme, ginger, rosemary
- Eliminate or at least keep to a minimum sugary food including scones, apple pie, cakes, white bread & jam, biscuits, soft drink and ice-cream.
- If you are following a gluten free diet, then know that gluten free versions or common foods can also be high in sugary carbs!
- Sugary snacks can depress your immune system by up to 40% for a few hours after eating, while the body is trying to cope with the sugar rush!
- Over 80% of the immune system is in the gut, so keeping gut bacteria healthy is important.
- Eat as many probiotic foods as possible each day including natural yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, raw apple cider vinegar.
- Research* has shown that people low in zinc are more susceptible to viral infections more susceptible to viral infections and zinc is the second most common mineral deficiency in the world.
- To this end make sure to include zinc containing foods in your diet such as meat (especially red meat), fish, vegetables, seeds (hemp, pumpkin, sesame) and nuts (cashew, pine nuts and almonds). Oysters are the highest food source of zinc.
- Vitamin D is vital for immune function and many people in Ireland are low in this nutrient, especially in the winter months.
- If you suspect, you may have low levels of Vitamin D feel free to talk to your doctor or to one of our qualified members who can guide you in all aspects of nutrient intake.
- Lastly Vitamin C is a vital nutrient for immune function and this can be obtained from fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as supplements.
In terms of general lifestyle support we cannot overstress the vital importance of hydration, movement, stress reduction (if possible) and above all else sound sleep for supporting your immunity.
All the above will help to keep your defences in good shape as we all collectively face this challenge together!