Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to infect people in several countries around the globe, and governments and institutions are scrambling to delay and contain its spread. But they seem to be forgetting one thing: The possibility that there are natural remedies that can support immunity and help prevent coronavirus, such as garlic or vitamin C.
Studying superfoods may be key to protecting the public from coronavirus
While there are efforts to develop medicinal cures or vaccines for coronavirus, not much is being done to continue research on natural remedies that can potentially address the virus or support immunity to at least prevent infection.
There are those who say that coronavirus is “uniquely resistant” to the same pharmaceutical or natural compounds that “normal” coronavirus infections are inhibited by, it remains to be seen if they are indeed true. Until studies have proven otherwise, where’s the harm in reassessing existing studies that have already identified possible natural cures for similar infectious diseases?
Another thing worth considering is the fact that upper respiratory tract infections can be caused by different kinds of viruses and bacterial overgrowth.
According to a 2018 meta-analysis on high dose vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) published in the journal BioMed Research International, the cold, often referred to as the common cold, is a URTI caused by various viruses.
Common symptoms of the cold include:
- Coughing or sneezing
- Muscle aches or aching limbs
- Sore throat
- A stuffy or runny nose
But since colds caused by different viruses share similar symptoms, it is difficult to distinguish among the different types of common cold, other URTIs, and influenza.
URTIs aren’t a single diagnosable disease. Rather, URTIs are a group of diseases in the broad sense, along with the common cold, bacterial pharyngotonsillitis, viral pharyngitis, laryngitis, herpangina and pharyngoconjunctival fever.
At least 70 to 80 percent of URTIs are caused by viruses such as adenovirus, coronavirus, influenza, parainfluenza virus and rhinovirus. The remaining 20 to 30 percent are caused by bacteria.
Following a balanced diet and eating foods that support immunity is key to not getting sick in the first place. While superfoods aren’t magical cures, eating well helps boost your overall health.
Natural substances that have been studied for coronavirus infections include black tea, cinnamon, resveratrol and garlic. Taking vitamin C supplements and consuming vitamin C-rich foods also helps support your immune system. (Related: Vitamin C infusions being studied in China as possible treatment for coronavirus-related pneumonia.)
Garlic supports immunity
Data has shown that most of garlic’s health benefits are due to the sulfur compounds formed when it is chopped, crushed or chewed. One such compound is allicin, an unstable compound that is briefly present in fresh garlic after the blub is cut or crushed.
Other compounds with a role in this pungent superfood’s health benefits include diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine.
Sulfur compounds from garlic enter your body via the digestive tract. These beneficial compounds then travel all over your body, where it applies its powerful biological effects.
Additionally, taking garlic supplements can help boost the function of your immune system. Data from a large, 12-week study published in the journal Advances in Therapy suggests that taking a garlic supplement daily can reduce the number of colds by 63 percent, compared to a placebo.
Researchers who conducted the study reported that the average length of cold symptoms was reduced by 70 percent from five days in the placebo group to only 1.5 days in the garlic supplement group.
Vitamin C for a stronger immune system
Reports on coronavirus cases have confirmed that older adults are among the most vulnerable to the condition, particularly those with weak or compromised immune systems. While vitamin C supplements don’t guarantee 100 percent protection against coronavirus, supplementation and eating vitamin C-rich foods can help support your immunity.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin found in many fruits and vegetables. The vitamin is a powerful antioxidant and it helps boost skin health and immune function.
You also need vitamin C to produce collagen. Since your body can’t produce or store vitamin C, following a balanced diet is important to prevent deficiency. The current daily value (DV) for vitamin C is 90 mg.
Not getting enough vitamin C can cause deficiency symptoms like anemia, bleeding gums, frequent bruising and infections, poor wound healing and scurvy.
Listed below are vitamin C-rich foods that may help support immunity:
- Acerola cherries
- Chili peppers
- Kakadu plums
- Mustard spinach
- Sweet yellow peppers
Avoiding coronavirus involves several measures, such as maintaining proper hygiene, frequent handwashing, avoiding crowded areas and consuming immune-boosting foods.
And while studies are ongoing to develop cures for the condition, it wouldn’t hurt to eat an extra serving of garlic or oranges, wouldn’t it?