Olusola Malomo, a leading Lagos nutritionist/Publicity Secretary of Nutrition Society of Nigeria, has called for regular intake of 100% fruit juice and regular exercise among others, as measures to boost the immune system and combat the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic. He gave the advice at his monthly healthy living dialogue.
While noting that COVID-19 is a respiratory infection which causes fever, tiredness, sore throat and in severe cases, shortness of breath and respiratory difficulty, he said that the World Health Organization (WHO) and other global public institutions have confirmed that the severity of the COVID-19 infection is linked with the overall state of the body’s immune system. He stated that this is the reason why people with pre-existing health challenges are most vulnerable to the contagion.
Quoting the Harvard Medical School in its Harvard Health Publishing, Malomo revealed that deficiency in Zinc, Iron, Copper, Folic Acid, Vitamins A, B6, C (which is contained in large quantity in fruit juice) and E have negative impacts on immune responses.
He said: “CNN reported that the United States retail sales of orange juice jumped about 38 percent in the four weeks ending on March 28, 2020, when compared to the same period last year. Also, the Florida Department of Citrus disclosed that there was a spike in demand for 100% orange juice within the same period.”
“During the five weeks the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun were on lockdown, shops and supermarkets had run out of orange fruit juice stock in the first two or three weeks of the restriction.”
“In fact, less than a week into the lockdown, my favorite Chivita 100% Real Orange Fruit Juice which would have made the stay-at-home less boring for me, had rapidly been purchased off the shelves in Lagos. The scramble for unavailable raw fruits in the open markets started in earnest as the restriction on movement cut off a large chunk of the supplies.”
The expert, however, stated that fruit juice intake is just one of the many ways to boost one’s immune system. Others measures according to him include getting adequate sleep, thorough cooking of meat, maintaining good hygiene, moderate intake of alcohol and exercising regularly.
“Regular exercise is an essential component of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular function, helps control body weight, removes toxins in the body, increases blood circulation and lowers blood pressure. The result of these is a strengthened immune system that protects the body against infections and diseases. Regular exercise is most valuable when one shuns junk food and sticks to healthy eating habits and a balanced diet,” he noted. It is difficult to ascertain the level of good hygiene maintained by those who sell raw fruits, and considering that good hygiene is essential to combat COVID-19, Malomo said pure fruit juices, where available, can be substituted for raw fruits. He, however, cautioned against the consumption of brands whose production processes are not trusted.