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is a very common question. Personalized Nutrition Plans are foods and supplements which are personalized to a cancer indication, genes, any treatments and lifestyle conditions.

Coronavirus : Top Antiviral and Immune-Boosting Foods

Mar 20, 2020

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
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Take care of your health and protect others as well from the coronavirus disease – COVID-19 by following the basic protective measures instructed by the World Health Organization and by also taking a healthy diet including the right foods, spices and supplements (nutrition) with anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, which can boost your immune system & prepare your body to fight against the virus. Stay at Home!


The novel 2019 Coronavirus is a new rapidly spreading virus which causes respiratory infections in people, with signs ranging from fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties and other respiratory symptoms. With the worldwide outbreak of this new coronavirus disease – the COVID-19, and the daily rise in cases internationally, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared its spread as a global pandemic. The younger population with a healthy immune system are at lower risk and generally experience mild impacts of the disease, older people and those with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer, who have a compromised immune system are at high risk of COVID-19.

As the death toll climbs to over 9000 and more than 2,20,000 tested positive for the coronavirus infection, you might be worried about how it could affect your life and what steps should be taken at your end. Prevention is the priority at this time!

Coronavirus - Top Antiviral and Immune-Boosting Foods - Diet and Nutrition, foods that fight viral infections

Basic Protective Measures against Coronavirus 

Let us follow these instructions and fight against the deadly coronavirus!

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based formulation hand sanitizer, as it kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Avoid touching your face (especially eyes, nose and mouth) with your hands to avoid infections, if your hands are not clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue immediately in a bin.
  • Maintain social distancing by avoiding social gatherings, maintaining at least 36 feet distance between you and anyone coughing and sneezing.
  • Stay at home and seek medical assistance in case of high fever, new persistent cough and breathing difficulties, so that the healthcare providers can direct you to the right facility.
  • Travel in public transport only if you need to and work from home if possible.

Foods to Eat After Cancer Diagnosis!

No two cancers are the same. Go beyond the common nutrition guidelines for everyone and make personalized decisions about food and supplements with confidence.

Diet and Nutrition : Anti-viral and Immune-Boosting Foods to fight against infections like Coronavirus

Take care of your diet and nutrition : Boost your immune system and prepare your body to fight against viral infections such as coronavirus!

1. Shikimic Acid containing Foods (eg : Star Anise)

Including the popular spice Star anise in your diet will be helpful as it is rich in Shikimic acid, a compound with strong antiviral properties. Shikimic acid is an active ingredient of an anti-viral medication used to treat and prevent infections such as influenza A and influenza B.(Patra JK et al, Phytother Res. 2020)

2. Lectin Rich Foods (eg : Leek, Garlic, Onion etc)

Lectins are proteins which bind to carbohydrates and are found in different varieties of food including :

  • fruits and vegetables such as leek, garlic, onion, jackfruit and banana; 
  • legumes such as peanuts and kidney beans;  and 
  • grains such as wheat. 

Lectins can inhibit the replication of viruses by interacting with the viral envelope glycoproteins (carbohydrate bound proteins) leading to the clumping of viruses and preventing them from infecting our cells. Different plant lectins such as lectin isolated from leek called APA, have strong antiviral properties and are potent inhibitors of coronavirus (Keyaerts E et al, Antiviral Res. 2007). 

3. Zinc Supplements and Quercetin Rich Foods (Beet Greens, Peppers, Greek Yogurt etc)

In vitro studies show that Zinc inhibits coronavirus RNA polymerase activity and blocks viral RNA replication; hence consuming zinc supplements and zinc rich foods will be beneficial in fighting viral infections and diseases. (Aartjan J. W. te Velthuis et al, PLoS Pathogens, November 2010)

Zinc rich foods include:

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Chickpeas
  • Black Beans
  • Beet Greens
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cashews
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Oysters

However, Zinc enters the cell through ion-channels and Zinc ionophores facilitate Zinc transport inside the cell.

Quercetin, a dietary flavonoid, has antioxidant and anti-viral properties and acts as a Zinc ionophore aiding in transporting  Zinc through the plasma membrane which is effective in stopping viral RNA replication (Dabbagh-Bazarbachi H et al, J Agric Food Chem. 2014).

Quercetin Rich Foods include:

  • Onions
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Peppers
  • Grapes
  • Tea

These Quercetin rich foods may have anti-viral properties and can help the body prepare to fight against coronavirus.

4. EGCG (eg : Green Tea)

Is Green Tea good for Breast Cancer | Proven Personalized Nutrition Techniques

Epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG),a major ingredient of green tea also has antioxidant and anti-viral properties and acts as a Zinc ionophore (Dabbagh-Bazarbachi H et al, J Agric Food Chem. 2014). Consuming Green tea as a food ingredient may hence be beneficial in fighting viral infections.

5. Vitamin C Rich Foods (eg : Citrus Fruits, Beetroot, Peppers etc)

Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and aids in supporting a strong and effective immune system. It is one of the biggest immunity boosters of all. Regular intake of Vitamin C can reduce the duration of cold (Hemilä H et al, Nutrients. 2017). 

Vitamin C rich foods include:

  • Citrus fruits (such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes)
  • Beetroot
  • Papaya
  • Red pepper
  • Green pepper
  • Yellow peppers
  • Sweet potato
  • Kale
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Mustard Spinach

Deficiency of Vitamin C can lead to increased susceptibility to infections.Hence, include Vitamin C supplements and Vitamin C rich foods in your diet. 

6. Curcumin (Turmeric)

Curcumin from Turmeric is an excellent anti-septic and along with black pepper, it is absorbed well and helps in boosting our immune system. It has anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and anti-cancer effects as well (Hewlings SJ et al, Foods. 2017). It is also one of the supplements that is being used to improve specific cancer treatment outcomes in certain cancer types by including them as part of the cancer patients’ diet. Taking turmeric along with milk may also help, if you have sore throat associated with flu and other viral infections.

7. Vitamin D Rich Foods

Deficiency of Vitamin D is associated with an increased risk of viral acute respiratory infection (Greiller CL et al, Nutrients. 2015). Different studies also indicate that Vitamin D supplementation may protect against overall acute respiratory tract infections (Mariangela Rondanelli et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018). Vitamin D supplements and Vitamin D rich foods intake as part of our diet may be beneficial and may be added to the anti-viral food list to consider, while preparing the body to fight against coronavirus.

Vitamin D rich foods include:

  • Fish
  • Mushrooms
  • Egg Yolks
  • Cheese

While these anti-viral foods and supplements are not expected to cure COVID-19, taking these as part of our healthy diet (nutrition) may help us boost our immune system and prepare our body to fight against the coronavirus.

What food you eat and which supplements you take is a decision you make. Your decision should include consideration of the cancer gene mutations, which cancer, ongoing treatments and supplements, any allergies, lifestyle information, weight, height and habits.

The nutrition planning for cancer from addon is not based on internet searches. It automates the decision making for you based on molecular science implemented by our scientists and software engineers. Irrespective of whether you care to understand the underlying biochemical molecular pathways or not - for nutrition planning for cancer that understanding is needed.

Get started NOW with your nutrition planning by answering questions on the name of cancer, genetic mutations, ongoing treatments and supplements, any allergies, habits, lifestyle, age group and gender.


Personalized Nutrition for Cancer!

Cancer changes with time. Customize and modify your nutrition based on cancer indication, treatments, lifestyle, food preferences, allergies and other factors.

Scientifically Reviewed by: Dr. Cogle

Christopher R. Cogle, M.D. is a tenured professor at the University of Florida, Chief Medical Officer of Florida Medicaid, and Director of the Florida Health Policy Leadership Academy at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

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