Antiviral Foods to Get you Through Quarantine


 

Now more than ever it's important to make sure your immune system is at optimal levels-- as we all know ‘Rona’ is real! On your next grocery store run or Amazon fresh order make sure you include the foods below antiviral foods to your shopping list!

Spirulina is a blue-green algae with many health benefits. This superfood contains a high concentration of a protein called cyanovirin-N which has been proven to significantly slow the progression of viruses ranging from influenza [1] to HIV [2]. I love to throw it in a smoothie or an acai bowl to give my snacks a cool color and plenty of nutrients!


Garlic - while garlic beath might keep you crush away, the good news is it’ll also keep viruses at bay. The process of cutting garlic actually activates one of its antiviral compounds, allicin, so don’t get lazy with your recipes (protip: get a garlic crusher). Allicin along with diallyl trisulfide (responsible for pungent smell) and ajoene compounds have not only proven to fight viruses like influenza A and B,  Herpes, and HIV but also have anticancer and antibacterial properties[3]. And don’t worry we got you covered on the garlic breath ;)


Star Anise may be one of the more obscure spices by name but its been used for centuries in Asian cuisine and many western confections. Its taste is like a combination of fennel and licorice and is the primary spice in my favorite sick day foods, Vietnamese Pho. Did you know star anise is an active ingredient in Theraflu?! The compound shikimic acid, is actually present in most flu medications for its antiviral properties and was instrumental in helping curve swine flu outbreaks[4]. Throw this spice in your next Asian inspired dish and you can even chew on the seeds after to help with digestion and even freshen your breath!


Ginger- anybody that knows me, knows I love Ginger like Kel loved Orange Soda. Ginger beer, Ginger shots, I’ll probably even ask you for your leftover ginger after sushi. Studies show that ginger is effective against upper and lower respiratory viruses specifically like HSVR, which is why ginger should be at the top of our grocery list right now-- just make sure you use fresh ginger for maximum efficacy [5]. 


Elderberry has come into more recent prominence due to increased interest in homeopathic remedies like that of the teachings of Dr. Sebi, who touted the fruit its ability to eliminate mucus in the body. Although Norwegian studies have proven elderberries are effective in treating symptoms of viruses like herpes and influenza [6], some doctors are warning against elderberry for COVID-19 treatment due to a possible inflammatory response (although safe for prevention). Elderberry juice has a syrupy taste so feel free to add in your smoothies to sweeten them up. 

Oregano is a go-to in many Italian dishes not only because its native to the Mediterranean region but it also has a very distinctive aromatic profile. Its aroma is actually derived from this antiviral components: carvacrol, thymol, and terpinene. Oil of oregano can even begin to deplete viruses in as little as one hour [7]. Don’t be shy with the Oregano the next time you make pasta!


Moringa is one of the most nutritionally dense foods to consume. I won’t lie to you, the first time I had moringa bitters, I almost vomited, but I will say after taking for weeks I noticed a considerable increase in my energy levels. Studies have shown moringa’s antiviral properties to have been effective in combatting the Hepatitis B Virus and contain other nutrients that are good for protecting the liver, improving stomach issues, and even improving mood. Make sure to add some agave to your smoothies if you include Moringa to masks its bitter taste. 


Shiitake Mushrooms- beta-glucans in these mushrooms responsible or their strong antiviral properties. This same compound is even used has even been used in cancer treatments, due to the ability to supercharge the immune system’s natural killer cell function[9]. I like to pair Shiitake mushrooms with asparagus or mixed with quinoa and other veggies to make veggie burger patties. 


Green Tea- is my go-to morning drink, now that I’ve finally curbed my coffee habit. I recently learned that it is also good for fighting viruses. Epigallocatechin or EGCG is effective against various strains of viruses including hepatitis, herpes, and others [10]. Make sure you check the source of the tea as some tea, many brands imported from China have tested positive for traces of lead-- which defeats the purpose of consuming the tea for health benefits. 


I hope these tips are helpful to you and your friends in this difficult time and don’t forget to do due to your own research on any medical or health advice you hear. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay smiling! 

Learn more about Smile Natural Products- Black Owned Oral Care :)


[1] Chen, Y. H., Chang, G. K., Kuo, S. M., Huang, S. Y., Hu, I. C., Lo, Y. L., & Shih, S. R. (2016). Well-tolerated Spirulina extract inhibits influenza virus replication and reduces virus-induced mortality. Scientific reports, 6, 24253. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep24253.


[2] Tsai, Che-Chung, et al. “Cyanovirin-N Inhibits AIDS Virus Infections in Vaginal Transmission Models.” AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2004, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15000694.


[3] Bayan, L., Koulivand, P. H., & Gorji, A. (2014). Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 4(1), 1–14.

[4] Trapithi ,P. (2015 )Shikimic acid, a base compound for the formulation of swine/avian flu drug: statistical optimization, fed-batch and scale up studies along with its application as an antibacterial agent.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25563634

[5] Chang, Jung San, et al. “Fresh Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Has Anti-Viral Activity against Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Human Respiratory Tract Cell Lines.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 9 Jan. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23123794.

[6] Zakay-Rones, Z, et al. “Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections.” The Journal of International Medical Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016.

[7] Gilling, D H, et al. “Antiviral Efficacy and Mechanisms of Action of Oregano Essential Oil and Its Primary Component Carvacrol against Murine Norovirus.” Journal of Applied Microbiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24779581.

[8] Sina, F, et al. “Protective Effects of Moringa oleifera on HBV Genotypes C and H Transiently Transfected Huh7 Cells” Journal of Immunology, Oct 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5682080/

[9] Rahar, S., Swami, G., Nagpal, N., Nagpal, M. A., & Singh, G. S. (2011). Preparation, characterization, and biological properties of β-glucans. Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research, 2(2), 94–103. https://doi.org/10.4103/2231-4040.82953.

[10] Furushima, D., Ide, K., & Yamada, H. (2018). Effect of Tea Catechins on Influenza Infection and the Common Cold with a Focus on Epidemiological/Clinical Studies. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(7), 1795. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071795

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