“Flatten the curve! Flatten the curve!”
If you’ve turned on the TV for even 5 seconds this past week, you know what that means.
A recent CNN article points out how your diet can act as the hammer flattening out that curve to slow the spread of COVID-19.
3 basic reasons for this are:
Nutrients boost your body’s natural defense system by reducing excess inflammation and tissue damage – such as LUNG tissue damage, where COVID-19 attacks the body.
Malnourished people have a higher risk of becoming ill. So the opposite of #1.
People with other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes are at the greatest risk right now. This is common sense, but keep in mind the root cause of those conditions is largely tied to #2.
The big takeaway here is this: Your body is made up of, and runs on nutrients.
They actually DO important stuff!
And when they are missing, important stuff DOESN’T get done. Like killing off intruders in your body.
Nutrition education in the U.S. is poor at best. Like, really poor.
So we thought we’d make a habit of spotlighting different nutrients to get people in the know. And knowing is half the battle (bonus if you guess the reference)
We’ll start with one that plays a big part in your natural defense system… Selenium! (the crowd goes wild )
Selenium plays a role in our antioxidant system, which protects against the natural wear and tear on our tissues that occurs in aging. This wear and tear increases with exposure to toxins, metabolic problems, and diseases.
Antioxidants are key to our defense against… wait for it… wait for it… infections!
Our immune system creates some pretty toxic substances to do its work. Selenium’s role is to protect us from our own defense system.
Any Breaking Bad fans out there? “Who’s gonna protect us from the man who protects this family?” Apparently selenium will.
OK, that sounds great and all, but how do you get it in your diet?
- Organ meats, especially kidney (everyone’s favorite!), are the best animal source of selenium. They are followed by eggs, cheese (but not other dairy products or processed cheeses), and seafoods.
- While seafoods are a good source of selenium, they’re only half as absorbable as the selenium in other animal foods.
- The other half of selenium we don’t absorb is used up protecting us from absorbing the mercury in seafood.
- Most cuts of pork, beef, and turkey are just okay sources.
- Among plant foods, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds tend to be decent sources of selenium, while fruits, vegetables, spices, and mushrooms are poor sources.
So while kidney is king, who’s eating that? Finding a form of liver you enjoy along with a variety of eggs, cheese (unless it causes issues for you), fish, shellfish, and meat per day can help you meet the daily target.
For plant foods, Brazil nuts are #1, but selenium amounts vary greatly in plant foods due to soil diversity. Try limiting Brazil nuts to 2-3 a day and getting the rest from other sources.
As usual, sourcing for both animal and plant foods is always key. Look for organic and 100% grass fed labels.
So be sure to get enough of the mineral that helps keep your lung tissue healthy and protects you from your own defense system!
You’ll be doing your part to flatten that curve.