Why Nutrition and dietitians matter: Covid-19 Edition

Written by Emily Fultz, MS, RD, LDN

We are certainly living in a confusing, unknowing, and scary time. Not a single one of us can turn on the tv or radio without hearing unsettling news about COVID-19 (and now here I am, taking up your feed with more information). My husband is an emergency room nurse, so I try my best to tune out a lot of the news, but one circling piece of information is the number of deaths related to underlying medical conditions.

Per the CDC, these underlying medical conditions may include:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Heart conditions
  • Cancer and other immunocompromised conditions
  • Severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40)
  • Diabetes
  • Renal failure
  • Liver disease

Common theme??? We can decrease the risk, slow the progression, and potentially reverse the majority (if not all) of these medical conditions through adequate nutrition and physical activity. Per the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, about half of all American adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases. So, why are we not putting more of our energy into the prevention of these diseases?

Another reason to keep your local dietitian on speed dial

When the virus was announced, people ran to their nearest store to stock up on vitamins, minerals, kombucha, and juice hoping to become immune. Unfortunately, none of these products have been found to reduce the risk nor slow the progression of the Coronavirus. It is simply too new of a virus, and there has not been a lot of research on the topic. Keep this in mind when you see posts like “Oregano Oil Proves Effective Against Coronavirus” or “prevent infection by taking vitamin C and avoiding spicy foods.” Social media sites are working hard to label misinformation, but it is still out there. If something seems too good to be true, it likely is. I have clients message me frequently with questions/concerns about these posts, and I invite you to do the same.

If you take away anything from this chaos, I hope it is to focus on your health and the health of others from here on out. Improve your health status, and let’s never let a virus like this scare us again.

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