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  • Aleksandra Modzelewska

Coronavirus - what food should you stock up on

With coronavirus spreading worldwide this leads to more than a third of UK shoppers panic-buying in case of a major outbreak. I see people not making the best purchase decisions which can only make things worse.

We know that those with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, low immunity, or those already fighting an infection are at higher risk of COVID-19 mortality. Stocking up on junk food can only make those conditions worse.

Shopping list dos and don'ts

The foods that we eat have a massive impact on our gut microbiome and therefore on our immune system and ability to fight infections.

Things to limit or avoid completely from your shopping list:

- canned fish and meat - extreme high salt content

- canned soups and veg - extreme high salt content

- canned fruit - extreme high sugar content from the added syrup

- biscuits and sweets - high in sugar and fat (trans), extremely low in essential vitamins and minerals

- crisps - high in fat (trans), high salt content, extremely low in essential vitamins and minerals

- salted nuts - high in fat, high salt content

- fizzy drinks - high in sugar, low in essential vitamins

- fried frozen food - high salt, high fat (trans), low in essential nutrients

- syrup and jam - high sugar, preservatives

- instant powder soups - extreme high salt content

- energy bars, protein bars - high sugar, high fat

- sugary cereals and instant porridge - high sugar

Our body relies on plenty of essential nutrients to be fit and healthy. If our diet is poor we are more likely to catch a cold or an infection. Junk food is not only high in calories but extremely low in vitamins and minerals and a diet high in those can leave us deficient.

Things to include on your shopping list:

Increasing your intake of fresh produce like fruits, vegetables, pulses, seeds, herbs should be considered. Also buying frozen vegetables which are often higher in vitamins than vegetables on shelves. Some think that frozen vegetables aren't as nutritious. This isn't true. Freezing vegetables locks in micronutrients and antioxidants necessary for immune system to be strong.

Most supermarkets sell frozen broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, spinach, Brussels sprouts, broad beans, peas, corn, chopped onions, carrots which are packed with nutrients and free from preservatives.

Whilst we are still in charge of what we buy and eat we need to do our best to keep ourselves and our families healthy, to help prevent infections and deal with infections.

Vitamins and minerals our bodies need for immune protection include:

  • Essential vitamins

- vitamin C - e.g. frozen broccoli, frozen mixed peppers

- vitamin D - e.g. from eggs, cottage cheese, frozen salmon fillets

- vitamin A - e.g. beta-carotene from frozen carrots

  • Essential minerals

- magnesium - e.g. from seeds like pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds

- iron - e.g. from raisins prunes, dates, almonds, dried parsley

- zinc - e.g. from ginger root, Brazil nuts, pecan nuts, split peas, egg yolks, and whole-wheat grain, rye, and oats

  • Prebiotics - e.g. garlic powder, steel-cut unsweetened oats, quinoa, beans, bananas, and apples

  • Probiotics - yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, and tempeh

If these vitamins and minerals aren’t properly available in food form, consider supplementation – in particular vitamin C.

Rather than attacking the crisps, canned foods and toilet paper isles let's shift our thinking to foods for better immunity to stand a better chance of prevention. Look after yourself, look after those around you if you can and be smarter on your next shopping trip.

Source: The Health Sciences Academy

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