COVID-19: Who’s at Higher Risk of Serious Symptoms? What The Science Says

According to the mayo Clinic, the following conditions can increase your risk of developing dangerous symptoms if you become infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19):

  • Older age
  • Lung problems (including asthma)
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes and obesity
  • Cancer and certain blood disorders
  • Weakened immune system
  • Chronic kidney or liver disease
  • Down Syndrome

See the original article from the Mayo Clinic HERE

I think most of us can agree with these health issues as increasing a person’s risk of having severe issues of covid.

But here’s my question:

If we know covid severity is linked to these various conditions, why aren’t we focused on alleviating these health problems?

Where are the mainstream reports on how to strengthen the immune system? Why is it all we see are requests to get vaccinated?

This is not for or against the vaccine. That is a choice each person should make for themselves. But with that said, can agree that every single one of us should work on maintaining good health?

Protecting Yourself Against Covid

While no one can guarantee you won’t get covid, the goal is to do everything you can to decrease the risk of getting it, and lessen the severity of the symptoms if you do. Mainstream media focuses on wearing masks, vaccines and social distancing, but two other potential ways that might help include diet and exercise.

Here are a few scientific studies on how to decrease some of the high risk symptoms listed above that have been linked to covid. Click the title to read the actual study:

#1. Exercise

Exercise has many amazing health benefits. In addition to helping combat obesity, studies indicate exercise can help strengthen the immune system and decrease risk of some cancers:

Exercise and the immune system. Physical exercise as a tool to help the immune system against COVID-19: an integrative review of the current literature:

“The practice of physical activities strengthens the immune system, suggesting a benefit in the response to viral communicable diseases. Thus, regular practice of adequate intensity is suggested as an auxiliary tool in strengthening and preparing the immune system for COVID-19.”

Read the study HERE.

Exercise and cancer. Exercise in cancer:

There is strong evidence for reduced risk of colorectal and breast cancer with possible association for prostate, endometrial and lung cancer with increasing physical activity. Exercise helps cancer survivors cope with and recover from treatment; exercise may improve the health of long term cancer survivors and extend survival.

Read the study HERE.

Exercise and heart disease. Cardiovascular effects and benefits of exercise

“Frequent exercise is robustly associated with a decrease in cardiovascular mortality as well as the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Physically active individuals have lower blood pressure, higher insulin sensitivity, and a more favorable plasma lipoprotein profile.”

Read the study HERE.

Exercise and lung health. Your lungs and exercise.

“Regular physical activity and exercise improves quality of life, whether you are healthy or you have a lung condition. Many people associate keeping fit with maintaining a healthy heart, losing weight and reducing the risk of illnesses such as diabetes, but exercise also helps keep lungs healthy.”

Read the study HERE.

Exercise and aging. Effects of Exercise and Aging on Skeletal Muscle

“Exercise and physical activity can influence many of the changes in muscle during aging, and thus should be emphasized as part of a lifestyle essential to healthy aging.”

Popular Exercises

We all should aim for 15-30 minutes of exercise daily. The following are among the most popular:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Yoga
  • Exercise class
  • Weight training
  • Skipping rope
  • Bodyweight exercises (pushups, squats, lunges, etc.)

A bonus tip is to exercise outdoors. Studies indicate a vitamin D deficiency can increase the severity of covid symptoms:

#1. Vitamin D.

Vitamin D and Its Potential Benefit for the COVID-19 Pandemic

There are a growing number of data connecting COVID-19 infectivity and severity with vitamin D status, suggesting a potential benefit of vitamin D supplementation for primary prevention or as an adjunctive treatment of COVID-19.

Read the scientific studey HERE

#2. Diet.

The foods we eat play a pivotal role in our overall health.

Diet and obesity. The role of diet in the prevention of type 2 diabetes

“An increased intake of plant-based foods, and a lower intake of red meat, meat products, sweets, high-fat dairy and refined grains) or a Mediterranean dietary pattern rich in olive oil, fruits and vegetables, including whole grains, pulses and nuts, low-fat dairy, and moderate alcohol consumption (mainly red wine) appears as the best strategy to decrease diabetes risk.”

Read the study HERE.

Diet and cancer. Mediterranean Diet and cancer risk: an open issue

A study by the  World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AIRC) found that “a diet rich of whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits, limited in high-calorie foods (foods high in sugar or fat), red meat and foods high in salt, without sugary drinks and processed meat is recommended to reduce the risk of cancer.”

Read the study HERE.

Diet and kidney disease. Diabetes and Kidney Disease: What to Eat?

Less sodium in your diet will help lower blood pressure and decrease fluid buildup in your body, which is common in kidney disease. Focus on fresh, homemade food and eat only small amounts of restaurant food and packaged food, which usually have lots of sodium. Look for low sodium (5% or less) on food labels.

Read the study HERE.

Diet and lung health. Nutrition and lung health.

“High intake of fresh fruit and some vegetables appears to have a beneficial effect on lung health and their consumption should be recommended on a daily basis. Studies also suggest that antioxidant vitamins, particularly vitamin C, and to a lesser extent other antioxidants, have a protective effect against lung diseases.”

Read the study HERE.

Top Foods For Good Health

The following are some great foods to eat daily, and some of the foods that should be avoided:

Top Foods To Eat Top Foods To Avoid
Green leafy veggies (spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, etc.)Processed foods
Assorted nuts (peanuts, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, etc.)Sugary drinks
Seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.)Fast foods
Healthy oils (Almond, olive, butter, avocado)Unhealthy oils (Vegetable, corn, cottonseed)
Citrus fruits Pastries, cookies and cakes
Assorted spices (turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, etc.)Sweetened breakfast cereals
Beans and legumes (black, pinto, navy, lima, chickpeas)French fries, potato chips
Grass fed beef Wild fish GMO Foods
Grains (Barley, wild rice, quinoa, oats, whole wheat)Fruit juice

Moderation is key. The majority of calories should come from foods on the left. Foods on the right can be eaten sparingly. They should not be the primary source of meals or calories.

Honorable Mention: Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that switches between periods of eating and not eating. Intermittent fasting typically consist of going between 12-24 hours of not eating foods and only consuming liquids, such as water, coffee or tea.

Intermittent fasting has been shown to promote autophagy in the body, which is the body’s way of cleansing itself by removing toxins and uses sick and diseased cells for energy.

Call To Action

While the world focuses on the vaccine, it’s critical we remember to keep our immune systems in peak condition. This is accomplished in a variety of ways, including eating a healthy diet and getting plenty exercise.

If we know the issues that can increase the severity of covid, we must focus on ways to lessen the severity of these various issues. Get more great health tips in my book The Diet of Success: Healthy Eating Tips For Hard Working Professionals. Available on Amazon.

Get more health tips in my online class: Success Principles 101: The Peak Performance Guide for Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and Financial Fitness. Available on Udemy.

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