The experts are clear on this issue: there are no magical supplements that will turn our body into a kind of fortress capable of fending off the attacks of covid-19 or other pathogens. However, there are certain factors that will give us a head start in the fight, and dairy foods and their by-products are an essential weapon in this battle.
A strong immune system against covid after months fighting a tiny virus that has turned all our lives upside down, there is much we still don’t know about covid-19, including exactly how and when vaccines and treatments will be widely available. However, each day we are learning more about some simple measures we can introduce into our daily lives to protect ourselves against coronavirus.
In addition to following the list of precautions that have become part of our daily routine and are here to stay (such as regular hand washing with soap and water, social distancing and wearing masks in enclosed spaces or when it is impossible to keep a suitable distance), it is also important to keep a strong immune system that will protect us against this and other viruses.
So what can we do to boost a system that we know is there but which all too often goes unnoticed? The experts are clear on this issue: there is no magic formula or supplement capable of turning our body into a kind of impenetrable fortress that is immune to the attacks of covid-19 or other pathogens. However, there are factors that will put us at an advantage in this battle.
They include a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol and taking around 30 minutes’ exercise a day.
In this sense, we should consider six key food groups in our weekly shopping basket that will boost our immune system, preparing it for external aggressions: vegetables, fruit – especially citrus fruits due to their high vitamin c content; pulses; cereals; dried fruits and nuts for their high content in healthy fats; and protein-rich foods such as fish, eggs and dairy products. The latter have a particularly high capacity for boosting the digestive system and gastrointestinal tract.
Keeping a positive microbiome
Based on the principles explained above, and despite the lack of scientific evidence that any particular food can beat covid, it has however been proved that a strong immune system can help in the fight. It is therefore essential to be aware of the list of foods that can benefit our organism.
Recent research has shown that the intestinal microbiome plays a vital role in the body’s immune response to infections.
In addition to helping in the fight against infectious pathogens such as coronavirus, the intestinal microbiome also contributes to preventing potentially dangerous immunological reactions that damage the lungs and other vital organs.
So how can we give it a helping hand? The consumption of dairy such as natural yoghurt and by-products that are rich in probiotics such as artisanal cheeses and kefir (fermented milk), contribute essential nutrients in this respect. Drinking kombucha– a sweet tea fermented from the scoby fungus – has also been noted to have positive effects on the microbiome. All these products will help us to maintain our gut flora in good health, offering better protection against possible external aggressions.
The growing interest in lactoferrin
In recent months, interest has been growing in a nutrient known as ‘lactoferrin’, which is found in milk from mammals and is transferred via a series of receptors inside and between cells, serum, bile and cerebrospinal fluid. It has essential immunological properties, and is antibacterial as well as antiviral. For this reason, numerous studies have attempted to prove its capacity to stop covid-19 entering the body, although to date, there is no scientific evidence to this effect. As a result, a number of spanish and international organisations have called for caution in terms of its use as a food supplement against covid-19: despite its potentially positive action on the immune system, it cannot currently be considered to have specific anti-coronavirus properties.