What works? What doesn’t?: Boosting your immune system amid coronavirus pandemic

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — These days we have a lot of choices for healthy food and many of them promise special benefits.

Now, with worries about COVID-19 we all want to keep our immune systems as strong as possible.

But, before you select something that says it’ll boost your immunity, you’ve got to know what works and what’s just advertising hype.

Your immune system protects your body from infection and you need to keep it strong, but can certain foods offer you protection to keep you safe from viruses and diseases or are they all just myths?

You might be surprised to learn where most of your immune system is housed in your body.

It turns out that 70 percent of it is confined to your gut, so what you eat ends up fueling a large part of your immune system.

CBS 17 Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia asked a clinical nutritionist if having a good immune system has anything to do with fighting off COVID-19.

“I’m not an expert on COVID-19, and none of us are, but I know this as a nutritionist–your immune system is there to put up a response regardless of what it encounters,” said Sharon Brown who is the founder of Bonafide Provisions. “The time to start working on your immune system is now.”

Chicken Soup is traditionally thought of to boost your immune system, but be careful with that.

“Often times the chicken soup on the grocery store shelves are filled with MSG and artificial flavorings.,” said Brown. “What you want to do is make your own soup and store it in your freezer.”

Brown said bone broth is a great base for soup because it has all the Amino Acids in it which support your gut.

Although Vitamin C is necessary for your body, you need to get it from the right source. Many people think of orange juice when they think of Vitamin C, but Brown said orange juice may not be your best choice.

“Orange Juice has a high sugar content and sugar can actually shut down your immune system for 2-3 hours,” said Brown.

Your gut contains 85 percent good bacteria and 15 percent bad bacteria.

You can keep the bad bacteria in check by consuming probiotic rich foods like yogurt.

Brown said you don’t have to buy yogurts which tout themselves as “probiotic” because “all yogurts should have probiotics in it, if it’s a real yogurt.”

She said an occasional probiotic supplement is also helpful, especially the refrigerated ones which tend to work better.

“Adding a supplement every couple of days is a wonderful adjunct to food,” Brown said.

Fruits and vegetables are better for your immune system than processed foods because they offer better nutrition and healing powers for your body.

A good rule of thumb, when you are buying prepackaged food if you can’t read or understand many of ingredients — stay away from it.

A food that contains many ingredients created in the lab is not going to do your body or immune system any good.

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