Covid-19 Update: What to Eat to Lower Risk of Respiratory Infection

Hello again everyone:

As the science shows, what we eat influences our immune system, and in this paper they show that increasing daily fruit and vegetable consumption significantly lowers the risk of many disease, including respiratory tract infections.

Specifically, the research is summarized:

CONCLUSIONS: Higher intakes of fruit and vegetables were associated with lower mortality; the risk reduction plateaued at ≈5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. These findings support current dietary recommendations to increase intake of fruits and vegetables, but not fruit juices and potatoes. (1)

Bottom Line: This research revealed that 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables per day was significantly better that 2 total per day, but interestingly, there was very little benefit seen to eating more than the 5 servings. This has led to the saying “5-per-day” is the yardstick that they measure an optimal diet. They said that there were statistically important reductions in:

  • Total mortality
  • Cardiovascular mortality
  • Cancer mortality
  • Respiratory disease mortality (obviously it is Covid that is important now)

Notably, fruit juice, potatoes and starchy vegetables were not associated with improvements, and as we all know, it this type of food that is related to a higher carbohydrate content that requires insulin and extra insulin is not health building.

There were several factors about the paper that were less than optimal, such as they do not tell us if the people ate fresh, frozen or canned fruits and/or vegetables. Data shows that canned and/or frozen fruits and vegetables have lower nutrient profiles, and to me this means that it would have better if they were able to note who ate what type of processed or unprocessed foods…my bet is that whole, fresh, unprocessed foods would yield better results. Even still, they were confident in their conclusions as the results were strong enough to merit discussion and publication.

Hey…our mothers told us to eat our fruits and vegetables, however in the U.S. the average consumption is only 2 total servings per day…so lots of room for improvement in a really easy and tasty application of this knowledge: EAT REAL FOOD!!! There is real power in our food choices, so please make the best ones!!



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