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Scientists say these foods could help fight COVID-19 infection

We’re a few days into 2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging on. Vaccines have started rolling out to healthcare and frontline workers, but it will likely be a few months, if not more before it’s available to the general public.

As cases continue to rise, it’s important to continue being safe and proactive to protect ourselves from this virus. Otherwise, lockdowns and restrictions will likely continue until herd immunity is reached. We already know it’s important to wash our hands and wear masks to slow the spread. Tap or click here to see the top 14 face masks ranked according to scientists.

But what else can we do to help further protect our bodies and fight against active COVID infections? It turns out there may be a simple solution — and it all stems from what you eat. Here’s what you need to know.

How food could help fight COVID infections

As you’re likely aware, medical treatments for active COVID infections vary based on the severity of the illness and other co-morbidities. We’ve come a long way since the start of the pandemic, and now researchers are making even more headway with potential ways to protect yourself from COVID-19.

According to the Daily Mail, some scientific trials and studies have found that various items from your local grocery store may be able to help in the fight against coronavirus. This information isn’t a sure thing, of course — but it could be useful if you’re looking for alternative ways to help protect yourself from COVID-19.

Six items could help, according to the report. Researchers say these food items may also help prevent severe symptoms if you do get infected.

While it may seem odd to focus on food as a method of fighting COVID, this information falls in line with what we’ve already been hearing from other researchers about health supplements. According to various reports in recent months, researchers think there could be a protective role played by common supplements such as omega-3, vitamin D and melatonin.

Related: New study shows these surprising early warning signs of COVID-19

Whether or not these foods actually help your body in the fight against COVID remains to be seen. Without further ado, here are the six foods that could help protect against COVID:

1. Tuna

According to researchers from Bohai University in China, tuna fish, a good source of vitamin B12, omega-3 and protein, could help prepare your body to fight COVID. In particular, researchers are focusing on the peptides — which are made from the same building blocks as proteins — that are derived from tuna.

The science behind how tuna could help is tricky, but the gist is that 142 peptides are created when the body digests tuna. These peptides react with two key aspects of a coronavirus infection — the enzyme Mpro and receptor ACE2 — and may inhibit them from working properly. In theory, this would prevent COVID from spreading from cell to cell in your body.

2. Dark chocolate and grapes 

Researchers from North Carolina State University are looking into whether two common foods — grapes and dark chocolate — could arm your body against COVID. The flavanols found in these foods are of particular interest to researchers.

According to the researchers, the flavanols sub-group found in these foods, known as flavan-3-ols, could boost a person’s immune system to help fight coronavirus. As with tuna, the theory is that the flavan-3-ols could interfere with the Mpro enzyme related to COVID. 

In theory, this would again prevent COVID from spreading from cell to cell in your body by inhibiting the Mpro enzyme from working properly. “These data recommend that these nutraceutical compounds and extracts of green tea, grape, and cacao can be utilized to interfere the devastation of SARS-Cov-2,” according to the study.

3. Kefir

Another potential COVID-fighting tool is Kefir, a fermented liquid similar to yogurt but is made from fermented milk and grains. Kefir is a good source of protein and calcium, which researchers think could be key when fighting COVID.

A study that will be published in the journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy this month states that Kefir has various antiviral properties. These properties are what allow it to fight COVID in the human body.

According to the study, “Kefir can act as an anti-inflammatory agent… hence, Kefir might be a significant inhibitor of the ‘cytokine storm’ that contributes to COVID-19.” This could be particularly useful in keeping active COVID cases from escalating to inflammation levels that trigger the cytokine storm response from your immune system.

4. Grapefruit seed extract

Grapefruit seed extract already plays an important role in a pharmaceutical nasal spray that helps clear out the nose. According to researchers, this same extract could also play an important role in fighting against COVID.

New research published to biorXiv states that grapefruit seed extract could have antiviral properties, which could be useful in active COVID infections. According to the report, scientists found that the grapefruit seed extract at a concentration of just 0.2% reduced the amount of SARS-CoV-2 below detectable levels during two different experiments. 

According to the report, not only could this help prevent COVID from entering cells, but it could also kill the virus.

Related: Google Maps now shows COVID hotspots

5. Canned food preservative

A canned food preservative called nisin, a natural food preservative made from bacteria, could also be useful to protect you against COVID. According to a recent research report, nisin appears to act as an antiviral against the coronavirus.

Nisin is found in various food products, including processed cheese, dairy desserts, milk, fermented beverages, meat and canned goods. The key to nisin’s COVID-fighting properties appears to be the long-chain peptide of carbon atoms, which houses 34 different amino acids.

According to researchers, the peptide can block the ACE2 receptor, preventing SARS-CoV-2 from binding to it and infecting cells. These findings could be key in deciding whether or not to develop a new nisin-based treatment for COVID-19, either through oral or nasal applications.

Will these foods really protect me against COVID?

Whether or not these foods end up being essential in the fight against COVID remains to be seen. This research is still in its infancy, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

And there’s no harm in loading up on tuna or grapes — you’ll get lots of healthy nutrients from foods like these, which can help keep your body in tip-top shape.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.

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