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In the early 1980s, I organized and helped lead a comprehensive study of diet, lifestyle, and disease mortality in rural China and eventually Taiwan, to investigate why cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases localized in geographic clusters.
The findings from this study, when combined with experimental studies of cancer in my laboratory and clinical human studies on heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and related illnesses by others, showed that a whole-food, plant-based diet could not only prevent but also reverse these diseases.
Within this study in China and Taiwan, we also investigated the virus hepatitis B (HBV), which causes primary liver cancer, a major cause of death in Africa and Asia. We collected data on the prevalence of people having antibodies and antigens, multiple disease mortality rates, and many nutritional risk factors. Relying only on statistically significant findings, HBV antibody prevalence was highly correlated with vegetable consumption, dietary fiber, and plant protein. In short, more plant food consumption was associated with more antibodies.
Among the exceptionally high number of virus strains, each virus creates its own unique symptoms. But they also share something in common. That is, they invade hosts like us, and our immune system, which adapts for each virus strain, mounts a defense, most commonly by custom-making antibodies for each virus strain.
Given that COVID-19 is also a viral disease, is it possible that this same nutrition could help us improve our immune response?
If so, it is a highly desirable solution that we, as individuals, can control.
In our research, we also found that people consuming more animal protein had fewer antibodies, even in those consuming a very low amount of animal protein. We obtained four sets of statistically significant correlations (plant food factors vs. prevalence of antibodies and antigens, animal food consumption and indicators vs. prevalence of antibodies and antigens), and each supported the same conclusion.
I believe that this consistent interplay of nutrition, virus activity, and disease should apply to coronavirus (COVID-19) as well, especially for older individuals compromised by diseases arising from the same nutrition that decreases antibody formation.
Switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet should lessen the severity of disease symptoms while simultaneously increasing COVID-19 antibodies, a win-win effect. Based on other studies, this effect may begin within days, possibly providing enough time for people not yet infected by COVID-19 to strengthen their immunity.
Furthermore, this dietary practice should be maintained because there are recent but unsubstantiated news reports that some people who have been infected may become reinfected. If this is confirmed, it means being prepared and staying prepared.
Even though there is no direct proof, I am quite confident that this nutritional strategy could produce a faster, safer, more comprehensive long-term solution for coping with viral diseases like COVID-19. If everyone did it, we might not need to mask ourselves, avoid physical contact, and wait for new drugs with unpredictable side effects and vaccines likely to be only partially effective, at best, for new viruses. That being unlikely, we, as individuals, could adopt this practice and protect ourselves and our family and friends and, in doing so, take responsibility for our own health. We already have strong scientific evidence that this diet effectively reduces comorbidities associated with severe cases of COVID-19.
I draw my confidence in this suggestion both from the multifaceted evidence on hepatitis B virus cited here and from an abundance of evidence showing the comprehensive effect of whole-food, plant-based nutrition on total health. Although some narrowly focused research studies have shown a beneficial effect of plant nutrients on viruses, a protocol using such candidate chemicals or nutrients is not likely to be effective unless they are part of whole food.
This nutritional makeover could be hugely important, both for its health value and because I sense that we are becoming too accepting of our present limited knowledge as to how to manage future flu seasons and other epidemics. I doubt there are many people who will be content with repeated masking, social distancing, and contact tracing when changing our diet could do so much more, while simultaneously protecting social norms, job security, and our economy.
With each new epidemic, do we really want to wait a year or more to develop drug treatments and vaccines of uncertain efficacy?
Very interesting scientific article about the link of Covid-19 and inflammation, treatment and lifestyle.
Here's the quote from the article:"..governments should actively encourage healthy eating and exercise in conjunction with the guidance provided on personal hygiene and physical distancing.."
I have been inconsistent with my blog and it has been over a month of living in quarantine. It is not easy to adjust our lives to the virtual existence, but managable. Sticking to the schedule helps a lot. Connecting with friends and family, coworkers become essential. Finding time for a walk, run, bike ride outside is critical. There are so many unanswered questions about the situation. But everybody can agree, that our mental and physical health is directly depends on what we eat.
Here is what I ate yesterday. Oatmeal with fresh berries, banana and chia seeds, green smoothie with fruit and leafy greens, tea. Lentil, rice and vegetable soup, an orange, two pieces of whole grain toast. Celery, carrots, baked purple potato, rice cakes with hummus, a pear for afternoon snack. Spagetty squash with white bean creamy sauce and wild rice, green salad with basil tahini dressing. Herbal tea with fresh pinaple.
Strengthening immunity is important especially in today’s situation. It’s a well known fact that better nutrition makes people stronger and healthier. Now is the ideal time to improve the health and protect ourselves against the virus. Because the sickest population gets hit the most and has the highest death rate from underlying conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity...
Can herd immunity protect us? What’s the best plan to bring our lives back to normal?
The interview with Yale professor Dr. David Katz covers many more aspects and perspectives of today’s crisis.
Grocery stores are out and short on not only the toilet paper, but meat and dairy-please take advantage of that increase your plant food intake. That will strengthen the immune system.
70% of the immune cells is in the gut-gastrointestinal lining. It’s important that we eat food that feeds us and our microbiome-healthy protective bacteria. It is scientifically proven that whole food plant based diet fights inflammation. So 4 main groups of food to eat are veggies, fruit, grains and legumes. Today I had oatmeal with chia seeds, raisins, fresh strawberries, blueberries, banana. For lunch I had brown rice, black beans, salsa and avocado slices on the bed of arugula, orange. For snacks-sweet potato, rice cakes with hummus, pear, orange. For dinne-butternut squash, lentil stew with Brüssel sprouts, baked Japanese sweet potato with the homemade “cheesy” sauce, bowl of fruit. I drink water, green and herbal tea throughout the day.
Moderate exercise daily will boost the immunity and reduce stress. Even walking and doing something around the house counts. I use stationary bike at home, go for long walks daily.
Getting enough sleep will reduce strength and also boosts immunity. For me personally 7 hours of sleep is sufficient. But everyone is different.
Managing stress by meditating for some and praying for others people, staying connected via media, taking an online class. Here’s an excellent source that works for me:
KEEP CALM, EAT YOUR VEGGIES , MOVE MORE, SLEEP ENOUGH AND INFORM, EDUCATE YOURSELF! ❤️
Spring is the season of colds, flu and unstable temperatures with changeable weather. This year we’re dealing with corona virus scare. The number of infected people rises as well as the panic.
So how do we protect ourselves? First, we shouldn’t panic and stress about it too much, but look at the facts.
I have found a great article on Coronavirus by US pediatrician Elisa Song, MD and used some of its information.
That’s what World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:
… we’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic …
This is a time for facts, not fear.
This is a time for rationality, not rumours.
The group of coronaviruses can cause mild illness like the common cold, or more severe illness like we’ve seen with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) or MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), and now COVID-19.
As of February 29, 2020, 75% of worldwide COVID-19 cases were still in China, with a reported 79,394 cases. There were 62 cases in the US (with 3 new cases reported that day). Total number of 6,009 cases outside of China (with 1,318 new cases that day). 
Transmission of COVID-19 is mainly through respiratory droplets and close contact – like influenza/flu is spread. The incubation period is 2-19 day. Patients are most contagious when they are symptomatic, but possible asymptomatic as well. Most of infected people have mild cold-like symptoms and fever. But in some severe cases pneumonia and death, which what we are worried about.
Number of deaths in China is pretty high but may not reflect the mortality rates in other parts of the world with lack of hospital staff, medical supplies, ICU beds, and test kits that China is facing.
Here are WHO numbers as of February 29, 2020: of the 79,394 reported cases in China, there have been 2838 deaths, which puts the mortality rate in China at 3.5%. Outside of China: 86 deaths out of the 6,009 cases, which is a 1.4% mortality rate. Compare this to the mortality rate of influenza, which is estimated to be around 0.095% in the US.
The risk of death increases with age- over 80 the highest risk factor. The fatality rate of patients over 80 years old was estimated to be 14.8%. In people under 50 appears death is unlikely, with the mortality rate of 40-49-year-old estimated to be 0.4% and 0.2% for patients 10-39 years of age. Chronic, pre-existing medical condition also significantly increased the risk of death. Without any pre-existing condition, the mortality rate was 0.9%. A history of cardiovascular disease increased the risk to 10.5%. 
Like the influenza virus, the elderly and those with underlying chronic medical conditions appear to be most at risk for serious complications and death from COVID-19.
There are currently no specific antiviral medications known to treat COVID-19, Treatment is supportive with rest, fluids, oxygen, and more intensive care if needed. Some herbal remedies proven to be helpful:
Sambucus Formosana Nakai (a species of elderberry like Sambucus nigra or black elderberry that has been found to have anti-influenza activity) was found to have strong activity against Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63). 
There are studies showing the efficacy of various Chinese herbal agents against other coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV and CHOV-22E9.  These herbal medicines include: Bupleurum, Heteromorpha, and Scrophularia scorodonia ; Lycoris radiata, Artemisia annua, Pyrrosia lingua, and Lindera aggregata Isatis indigotica and Torreya mucifera and Houttuynia cordata.
We can protect ourselves by:
- Washing hands frequently, especially before we eat.
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth-the T-zone.
- Staying home if you sick to limit possible exposure to the virus, since the immune system is weak during this period or wearing a mask outside.
- Keeping the distance from people who have symptoms of cold.
- Irrigating your nose daily with saline solution, since the virus attaches through the nasal mucosa 1-2 days before it gets active.
- Some foods and spices have antiviral properties: raw garlic, oregano, ginger, walnut, pomegranate, green tea, apple cider vinegar, medicinal mushrooms- shiitake, maitake, reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail.
- Eating lots of fruit and vegetables will strengthen the immune system because of all antioxidant properties.
- Staying hydrated by drinking just water is important. Divide your weight in pounds by two and drink that number of ounces daily.
- Cutting down on sugary and processed foods, because it reduces the number of white blood cells, which kill germs and viruses. Keeping blood sugar levels low will help to strengthen the immune system.
- Get fresh air and moderate exercise, which can boost the immune system and helps fight viruses.
- Get enough sleep-it strengthens the immunity.
- Minimize stress, because it creates physiological stress in our bodies and makes us vulnerable to illness and increases inflammation.