Extra hand-washing and social distancing are clearly the best tools to fight COVID-19, but another way to defend yourself against the virus is keeping your immune system in tip-top shape with healthy eating. We asked Daniela Troia, owner of Plantbar—one of Baltimore’s fan-favorite plant-based juice bars—what foods and supplements she recommends to kick our immunity into high gear.
What are some essential immune-boosting foods to keep on hand?
Garlic has antiviral properties; you can consume that every day by adding it to juice recipes or to use while cooking. Ten drops of oregano oil, another antiviral, can be taken as needed for maintenance or to fend off a bug. Otherwise, sources of polyphenols (a natural micronutrient) help to increase antioxidants. I like to use parsley, mint, and cilantro in juices and then sage, rosemary, bay leaves, and oregano in foods. The more herbs, the better! Other common polyphenols to add into smoothies are acai, pomegranate, and coffee.
Are there supplements that might help, too?
I take a teaspoon of the My Doctor Suggests brand of structured silver to keep my immune system super healthy. It’s a pH solution that claims to help remove bad bacteria and toxins, which bombard our bodies, so this is a daily must for me. I also take the Bulletproof brand of vitamin A-D-K2 and their zinc supplement, in addition to the BiOptimizers magnesium supplement, and the Ester-C vitamin C. These are all basic, key supplements that I think everyone should take.
What is your go-to immune juice?
One hundred percent, hands down, the Plantbar “Flu Shot.” It’s an antiviral concoction made with garlic, parsley, ginger, turmeric, pineapple, and oregano oil. I created it to keep my staff and customers healthy, as well as to fight off illness. [The Brewer's Hill location is currently offering online take-out orders and delivery services.]
Are there any other ways we can support our immunity in addition to eating healthy foods?
Reduce the amount of sugar you eat. I use a few things to promote healthy glucose levels: apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and bitter melon extract. Don’t eat crappy oils—this is a big one for me that also means becoming a ninja when eating out. Canola is the go-to oil in basically every single restaurant, but it’s toxic, so I don’t mess with it. Of course, get the best sleep you can. I have a grounding pad on my mattress and have noticed the difference in how rested I feel when I wake up. Also, using a red light therapy lamp is said to help regulate serotonin levels so you can get better sleep, while using blue light filtering glasses helps make your eyes feel relaxed.
WHAT YOU NEED:
SUPPLEMENT: Vitamin C, A, D, and K, as well as zinc and magnesium, are among Troia’s top recommended daily supplements.
TAKE CARE: Watch your sugar and fat intake, and make sure you get a restful night's sleep
ESSENTIALS: Garlic, oregano oil, herbs, açai, and coffee are natural immunity boosters.