MyMT™ Blog

The Corona Fruit Bowl: Nutritional evidence for boosting immunity.

I have two ladies in the MyMT™ Community who were diagnosed positive for the Covid-19 virus. Thankfully they are recovering well in self-isolation. For the past 2 months they changed their nutrition to the anti-inflammatory approach that I promote in my 12 week online programmes which I have developed from women’s healthy ageing research – I’m so pleased that they did. Because they learnt why we become more vulnerable with our health during our menopause transition, and then followed my plans and my Food Guide. To their benefit, every single nutrient that the American Nutrition Association [ANA] has evidenced for our health during the Covid-19 crisis, is also in the MyMT™ Food Guide in all of the MyMT™ programmes.

None of us could have predicted that now, more than ever, whilst we reside in our home-bubble, that we need to be focused on our health – and not just our immune health. For women in menopause, we need to reduce stress, sleep all night, lose weight if we need to and of course, manage our hot flushes, turn around joint health and help out mental health as well. 

Last week, if you read my newsletter, I talked about some of the food I had stocked in my ‘Corona Pantry’. I had jars of Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, organic dates and cans of beans. Whilst the supermarkets were running out of staples such as flour, sugar and bread, I was busy telling the hundreds of ladies in the MyMT™ community what to buy so that even in a crisis, they could still follow the programmes they are on.

For those on my weight loss programme, it’s too easy when you are working from home or just being in your home-bubble, to jump into the fridge or pantry every 5 minutes to well …. eat! With stress comes emotional eating and I’ve been working with women in my coaching community to stay on track as much as they can. 

But the best thing is that I’ve also been sharing with them, new research about the best foods to boost our immunity. And today, I want to share some of that information with you. 

Scientists the world over are looking for answers. And at last people are listening to scientists and not social-influencers’. It’s about time I say! Since the Covid-19 outbreak arrived, I too have been following the science as fast as it is coming out. Some of that research has been from nutritional science sources, so a big shout-out to the American Nutrition Association (ANA) which quickly formed a task-force of clever nutritional scientists to bring together the latest evidence that is helping me to help women on my programmes as well as in my newsletter community. That’s you. 

There’s also a note of caution from the ANA Task Force, that these nutritional strategies are supportive only. Obviously, there has been no large-scale study undertaken providing long-term data, but what they have provided is a brief overview of foods, nutrients and food compounds backed up by research, that is evidenced to optimise our immune function. 

Our immune function matters. Especially during menopause. I’ve spoken about the fact that this is a time in our lives when we become more vulnerable to health problems. But this isn’t ‘just’ because our hormones are changing. Our organs and tissues are ageing and ageing itself can set up pockets of inflammation around our cells and tissues. Add to this the Corona-virus induced inflammation that occurs in mucous membranes and you have a cocktail of inflammation that needs to subside … or as the women on my programmes who developed the Covid-19 symptoms have found, prevention pays – big time!

 How does the Corona-virus Function?

If it’s a virus, then it’s going to replicate. The Corona-virus are a large family of RNA viruses that cause a variety of inflammatory diseases in the body. As we are all hearing day after day, severe acute respiratory syndrome is the hallmark of this one. 

When the virus binds to it’s host cell in the body, it is very ‘sticky’ and as such it fuses to the cellular membrane. When it fuses, it releases its genetic material into the cell’s nucleus. It then replicates and makes new harmful cells. I bow down to the incredible work of the medical teams helping patients to heal and recover. 

Nutrition and Our Immune Function: 

Information about how to boost our immunity using nutrition has been emerging for a number of decades now. I think that we all know that what we eat matters to our health. But not all food is evidenced against our immune health or even for us during menopause and post-menopause. In fact there are many nutritional approaches around today, that promote high saturated fats and high proteins that don’t meet the women’s healthy ageing research either and I have written about this numerous times in this forum. 

Our immune system comprises various organs such as our spleen, thymus gland and lymph nodes, our skin, gut and numerous cells such as white blood cells and lymphatic cells – in an ideal world, all of these function together to keep us healthy. But when things go awry and foreign invaders arrive, we need a healthy immune system to provide as much resistance to infections as we can. 

This is where nutritional science comes to the fore. Scientists who work in this area know that certain nutrients or compounds can impact positively on our health status. In the case of our immune system and the Covid-19 virus, the American Nutritional Association has been busy bringing together current research on boosting immunity with certain nutrients. I thank them!

Identifying that there is a need to reduce inflammation as well as reduce the viral load, with this approach, the ANA suggest that the following bio-active nutrients may be helpful (please note that this information is not intended as a ‘cure’ but as immune enhancing prevention only): 

  1. Curcumin (Turmeric). 
  2. Bergamot – part of the citrus fruit family.
  3.  Quercetin – I wrote about quercetin in last week’s newsletter and it is a plant pigment (flavonoid) found in numerous foods such as  such as leafy green vegetables, broccoli, red onions, peppers, dill, oregano, green tea, apples, berries and red wine. 
  4. Kaempferol – this is another flavonoid which is found in a variety of plants and plant-derived foods including kale, beans, tea, spinach and broccoli.
  5. Oleuropein – in the MyMT programmes, all of the women know that olive oil matters to their joint health! But they also know now, that it matters to their immune health as well. This powerful immune-boosting anti-inflammatory compound is fond in olive oil and olive leaves. 
  6. Catechins – these are known anti-infectious compounds that are found in certain foods and in Green Tea. Green tea is one of the most popular drinks consumed worldwide. Produced mainly in Asian countries from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, the potential health benefits have been widely studied. It’s a big component of the types of beverages that I advise women to drink in the MyMT™ programmes too. 

7. Vitamin C – many of us already know that this is an important nutrient for our immune health, but what we need to remember is that it is needed to help white blood cells to fight infections. What I also spoke about in my coaching community this week, was how it is also required to assist the absorption of iron. And adequate iron helps to protect us against vulnerability to infections. If you are in peri-menopause and you are still menstruating, then you need at least 12 mg a day of iron. With the need for Vitamin C, how much time did you spend in the fruit and vegetable section the last time you shopped? 

8. Vitamin A – this terrific vitamin gets forgotten about in times of infection because most people associate it with eye health. And yes, it is important for our eye health, but it also supports the health of mucosal tissues. Our mucosal tissues are the first point of entry for the virus – think about your nose, mouth and eyes! As well, researchers have found that Vitamin A also helps to regulate our immune system via the Gut Microbiome. [PS: If you have IBS or other Gut Health concerns, then please take up my APRIL SALE offer as I have included the Gut Health module as part of my programmes as well – see video below]. 

9. Vitamin D – you’ve heard it before in here and you are going to hear it again. As we go into menopause, our largest organ, the skin, loses the ability to absorb Vitamin D. This makes women in menopause susceptible to respiratory infections because this vital vitamin is well known to help to boost our immune system. Exposure to sunlight or if you can’t get into sunlight because of where you live then please look at sourcing a supplement. 

10. Vitamin E – Whilst not specifically an anti-viral nutrient, ANA researchers promote this nutrient because it is an efficient anti-oxidant and plays an important role in lung and liver protection. This makes it a powerful anti-oxidant (removes harmful particles) and anti-inflammatory nutrition. It is fat-soluble, which means that it accumulates in lipid (fat) membranes. Some of the best sources of Vitamin E available during the lock-down and that can be stored more readily in your pantry, will be Almonds, Sunflower seeds, Butternut Squash, Avocados and Olive-oil. 

Zinc and Selenium are also mentioned by the ANA so don’t forget your Brazil nuts – 1-2 brazil nuts can provide your daily dose of selenium, so get some of these in your pantry as well. Cashews, Almonds and Kidney Beans are also great sources of Zinc in the absence of fresh fish, oysters or beef. 

I have been thinking about how best to support you during the Corona-crisis and giving you relevant, scientifically evidenced information as part of this newsletter is one way to support you.

But I also realise that because you are going through menopause and perhaps you aren’t sleeping, or your hot flushes are getting you down or your joints are sore or you feel depressed, tired and anxious, then I also want to support you by having you join me on the MyMT™ online 12 week programmes.

I have put all 3 programmes on sale throughout April, 2020 and I have taken NZ$100 OFF the cost – I have never done this before, but I so want to support you and realise that for many women there is now uncertainty about finances as well. This makes ANY of my 3 programmes: 

NZ$199 (or 3 x monthly payments of $72 per month).

AUS$198 (or 3 x monthly payments of $69 per month)

UK£98 (or 3 x monthly payments of £34.50 per month)

CAN$167 (or 3 x monthly payments of $60 per month)

Please use the promo code MyMT2020 for any of Circuit Breaker (for thinner/ leaner women), Transform Me (for women needing weight loss) or for a little dose of at-home Exercise, then choose Rebuild My Fitness.

I hope you can join me. I have also added in my joint health module and there are other optional modules for those of you on HRT and Anti-depressants who want to understand the evidenced lifestyle-solutions that you need to know about too. 

Dr Wendy Sweet, PhD/ MyMT/ Member: Australasian Lifestyle Medicine Society. 

References: 

American Nutrition Association (2020). Personalised Nutrition and the Covid-19 Era.  Online Access

Kato, Y., Domoto, T. et al (2014). Effect on Blood Pressure of Daily Lemon Ingestion and Walking. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, Volume 2014, Article ID 912684

Reygaert, W. (2018). Green Tea Catechins: Their Use in Treating and Preventing Infectious Diseases. Biomed Research Int’al, pp.1-9 Open Access: 

Wenyan Sun, Frost B., & Jiankang Liu (2017). Oleuropein, unexpected benefits! Oncotarget, 8, (11), pp: 17409-17409

“If you have ever wondered if there was a clear easy plan to follow to sleep all night, reduce hot flushes and prevent or reduce your weight gain during menopause, then ‘welcome’ – you’re in the right place now.”

Discover how either of my two Menopause Transformation programmes might help you too or take my Symptoms Quiz below… 

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