Eating varied diet will help body fight Covid-19, says scientist

Eating a "diverse and varied" diet provides the best chance of boosting the immune system to fight Covid-19, according to a scientist.

Philip Calder, a professor of nutritional immunology at the University of Southampton, has produced a report advising the public to ensure they eat a mixed diet to help combat the virus.

His research also shows that supplements are a "safe, effective and low cost way to support an optimal immune system".

A university spokesman said: "A diet with a diverse and varied mixture of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and pulses, along with some meat, fish and dairy products provides the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients the immune system needs for optimal function."

Prof Calder said: "The strength of somebody's immune systems will not influence whether they get coronavirus; handwashing and social distancing are the best ways to avoid that.

"However, the immune system helps the body deal with the virus if they are infected and what we want is a system that functions properly when it's challenged with bacteria and viruses."

30 PHOTOS
Pictures of the week: April 12 - 18
See Gallery
Pictures of the week: April 12 - 18
A stall holder in a protective face mask in Brixton Market in South London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The government's message: 'Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives' is shown in lights on the rotating display near the top of the BT Tower in the Fitzrovia area of London as the UK continues in lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The scene in Cleethorpes as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Visitors to Greenwich Park in south east London take their daily exercise and photograph the cherry blossom in the Royal Park as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 16, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
A woman in a protective face mask walks through Brixton Market in South London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A woman walks past NHS tributes which are painted on pillow cases attached to the fence at Elder Park in Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A woman runs alone on Worthing beach in front of Worthing Pier to get her daily exercise and obey social distancing instructions as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A person walks past a boarded up Debenhams, Oxford Street, London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A large display thanking the NHS at Wandsworth roundabout as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A temporary morgue on Wanstead Flats in East London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man plays football in front of graffiti reading Stop 5G Paranoia on Wanstead Flats in East London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A view along Oxford Street, London, looking from Oxford Circus towards Centrepoint, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Head falconer Chris O'Donnell with a White-tailed Sea Eagle at Warwick Castle, Warwick, home to the UK's biggest birds of prey show. The castle's birds are unable to give their regular displays as the UK continues in lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
A Virgin Atlantic charter flight lands at Heathrow Airport, London, delivering vital medical supplies to UK from Shanghai. Itis one of eight cargo-only flights, in partnership with the Department of Health and the NHS, that Virgin Atlantic is operating during April.
Mounted police officers speak to people on Primrose Hill, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A Virgin Atlantic charter flight lands at Heathrow Airport, London, delivering vital medical supplies to UK from Shanghai. Itis one of eight cargo-only flights, in partnership with the Department of Health and the NHS, that Virgin Atlantic is operating during April.
Hand painted pictures of colourful rainbows are displayed on the door of a home in South London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People wearing protective masks whilst shopping in South London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Colourful signs in a shop window say 'stay home', 'protect the NHS' and 'save lives' as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man walks past a 'we are closed' sign at Crabshack in Worthing as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Bobby (no surname given) feeding a peanut to a squirrel in St James's Park, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A boy on his BMX rides up a ramp as he gets his daily exercise in a skatepark while the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Police monitor people on the Long Walk in Windsor, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Two people practice social distancing while talking to each other sitting on benches in Clevedon on Easter Bank Holiday Monday at midday, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A deserted M5 motorway near Clevedon on Easter Bank Holiday Monday at midday, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
EDITORS NOTE: NUMBER PLATES PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESK Picture taken at 08:50 at a drive-in Covid-19 testing centre at Leeds Temple Green Park and Ride, part of the Government's UK-wide drive to increase testing for thousands more NHS workers.
Members of the public in the Meadows in Edinburgh as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Cones and beach detritus block the entrance to a car parking section of beach around midday on Easter Sunday at Weston-super-Mare as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A woman prays at the closed doors of Westminster Cathedral ahead of the Easter morning mass, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Churches across the country have been continuing to broadcast services digitally in the lead-up to Easter, with more than 1,000 livestreams taking place on a regular basis.
A woman prays at the closed doors of Westminster Cathedral ahead of the Easter morning mass, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Churches across the country have been continuing to broadcast services digitally in the lead-up to Easter, with more than 1,000 livestreams taking place on a regular basis.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The university spokesman added: "Among the foods Professor Calder recommends are a variety of fruits and vegetables which are a good source of vitamins and minerals that are important for supporting the immune system.

"Foods that are high in fibre are also important as some of the undigested fibre in the gut can promote the growth of good bacteria which interact with the immune system to make it work better.

"The third recommendation is oily fish which is a source of omega 3 fatty acids that help to regulate and control the immune system.

"Finally, meat is important as a good source of nutrients such as iron and vitamin B12, so people who do not eat meat should consider supplements.

"Whilst consuming commercial probiotic products can have a role to play – by seeding good bacteria in the gut – Professor Calder recommends plant-based food and fibre as an alternative as these provide an environment to grow the good bacteria that are already in the large intestine."

Professor Calder added: "The present situation with Covid-19 shows that we cannot just rely on vaccinations to limit the impact of respiratory infections.

"Improving our nutrition is a very straightforward step that we can all take to help our bodies deal with infections and limit the emergence of new, more virulent strains of viruses.

"We therefore strongly encourage public health officials to make sure nutritional strategies are included in all their messaging about coping with viral infections."

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS