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Food is our Front Line Defence

Qualiond

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Food is essentially code for our genes and nutrition is a key factor in strengthening our bodies and allowing us to mount a defence against the virus. Robert Lustig, Professor of Paediatric Endocrinology at the University of California and Chairman of the Institute of Responsible Nutrition said “I’ve recently heard COVID-19 referred to as a beast because it doesn’t distinguish. In point of fact, it doesn’t distinguish who it infects, but it does distinguish who it kills. Other than the elderly, it’s those who are black, obese and/or have pre-existing conditions. What distinguishes these 3 demographics? Ultra-processed food. Because ultra-processed food sets you up for inflammation which COVID-19 is happy to exploit. Just another way processed food kills. Time to re-think your menu.”

A recent study of 19 European countries published in the Journal of Health Nutrition shows that ultra-processed foods account for 45.9% of our diets in Ireland, putting us in 3rd place after the UK (50.7%) and Germany 46.2%. We therefore advocate eating real food with a diet emphasising whole foods, rich in nutrients while avoiding processed, inflammatory and refined foods and sugars that drive chronic inflammation and disease. 

A diet high in ultra processed foods causes dysfunctions in the intestinal barrier by altering its permeability. This leads to what is commonly known as “leaky gut.” i.e macro molecules being allowed to pass through intact cell membranes due to changes in the transport mechanisms and  loosening of the tight junctions between epithelial cells. Essentially when the intestinal barrier becomes permeable, things we don’t want to get in and compromises its ability to block the access of undesired microbes and microbial products to our body. This may result in chronic inflammatory reactions and altered immune responses that can undermine our physiological processes and overall health.

While we recommend immune boosting supplementary nutrients to fill the gaps in our diet, healthy nutrient dense, whole food diet comes first and foremost. Good quality drinking water, together with fish and grass fed beef and chicken with a diverse variety of fresh vegetables and fruit is recommended.  Organic is best in order to minimise exposure to toxins.  See recommendations on food in the next section.

While consuming 5 – 8 portions of fresh organic vegetables and fruit per day is recommended this is often not possible. Therefore many people have gaps in their nutritional status.  For this, and many therapeutic reasons, suggested supplementation with micronutrients has been documented in the top ranked medical and scientific journals.

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or uniformly successful treatments for COVID-19. However, emerging research on several specific botanical and nutraceutical agents is promising, as such agents can improve the body’s ability to fight off and recover from the illness. Through a research process we have evaluated the science to carefully analyse which immune support strategies are most likely to protect us. At this time we believe this guide represents the best of science-backed strategies for nutritional and herbal prevention. 

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