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Nutrition and coronavirus myths, debunked

At this point, you’ve probably heard of several natural ways to prevent or cure the Novel Coronavirus Disease (aka COVID-19). While many of these claims may be coming from well-intentioned people, many of them also come from social media influencers who have their own interests (mainly financial) in mind.

During a time where many of us feel like the spread of this new virus is out of our control, it’s only natural to gravitate toward wanting to make changes in our lives that give us more of a sense of control. These changes often come in the form of nutrition. So, which claims can you ignore? Here are the top 5 nutrition-related myths I've heard this last week, debunked:

-Myth #1: Taking megadoses of vitamins and supplements will help prevent or cure coronavirus.

-Fact: There is no evidence that suggests "immune-boosting" supplements will help. While some supplements may not be harmful and may even provide a small benefit, they aren't regulated by the FDA, and can therefore potentially do more harm than good. In fact, the FDA just issued warning letters to seven companies selling fraudulent products claiming to treat/prevent COVID-19. You can see this warning statement here. It's important to note that no supplement can replace or even measure up to frequently washing your hands with soap and water and avoiding touching your face.

-Myth #2: You can "rev up" or "boost" your immune system.

-Fact: While you can support your immune system, you can't actually "rev up" or "boost" it...and you wouldn't want to. If your immune system was working overtime, you'd be at risk of developing autoimmune diseases in which the immune system attacks its own tissues. What you can do to support your immune system is eat a nutritionally balanced diet (I'll be covering this in more detail in another article), drink enough fluids, get enough seep, stay active, and reduce stress.

-Myth #3: Eating garlic can help prevent coronavirus.

-Fact: Although garlic does have antimicrobial properties, there is no evidence that suggests it can protect against coronavirus.

-Myth #4: Drink water every 15 minutes so you can flush the virus to your stomach, where the acid will kill it.

-Fact: This is very false. You cannot "flush" a virus, and there is no evidence that stomach acid can kill a virus. With that said, staying hydrated IS important for overall health, so please do drink enough fluids throughout the day!

-Myth #5: Alkalizing your body can help ward off coronavirus.

-Fact: Our bodies blood pH is VERY tightly regulated and normally sits at a slightly alkaline range between 7.35-7.45. The numbers stay within this range with the help of healthy lungs and kidneys. In fact, these numbers only get out of their normal range when the lungs/kidneys aren't working properly, in which case hospitalization would most likely be required. Changing your diet has no affect on these numbers.

With all the misinformation out there, it can be difficult to know who to actually trust, so I've included my top go-to resources for up-to-date and reliable information:

If you're feeling stressed out and overwhelmed with this situation, that's okay. That's human. I'll be posting more frequently and will cover lifestyle strategies you can implement to help you reduce stress and optimize your overall health and well-being. However, please keep in mind that these will be health professional opinion pieces. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, the four links above will be your best resources for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information.

If you'd like to connect, feel free to send me an email or message me through Instagram at: @the.equestrian.dietitian

In health and wellness,