What We Know About Diet and COVID-19

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There’s no proof that eating certain foods will make your COVID-19 symptoms go away faster, dietitian Toby Amidor, RD, CDN, author of The Family Immunity Cookbook, told Health. “There is no scientific evidence to make the association between eating for a healthy immune system to help lessen the duration of COVID-19,” Amidor says. But some foods (and, more specifically, the nutrients they contain) appear to help the body mount a more successful response to invaders.

Vitamin D specifically is a key component of immune health. A 2017 review and meta-analysis published in The BMJ found that vitamin D supplementation—especially in participants who were deficient—was found to protect against acute respiratory tract infections. Other micronutrients—like vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E, among others—have also been associated with better immune health. Certain macronutrients, like fiber and protein, have been linked to stronger immunity, as well.

Fermented foods may play a role in immune health, too. According to a 2021 study published in the journal Cell, consumption of fermented foods led to more microbiome diversity—which can impact immune response.

That said, much of the research around diet and immunity hinges on dietary habits established before coming down with an illness. In other words: Your immune system can’t achieve powerhouse status overnight.

For many people, eating during a bout of COVID-19 mainly means eating well to feel well. Here are several foods to add to your grocery order if you or someone in your home has COVID-19.


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