Exploring a Pandemic Diet – Why Eating Well During COVID-19 Is Essential

A colorful salad that is pretty darn healthy

Since the coronavirus spread across the globe, the focus of health organizations has been to promote safety. Hand-washing, face masks, and social distancing have been publicized in nearly every nation and society. As a communicable disease that spreads through the air, these measures are of the upmost importance. These provide basic barriers of protection that prevent getting COVID-19 in the first place. But eating well during COVID-19 is similarly important in this regard. In order to protect yourself to the fullest, proper nutrition is a must.

A pandemic diet isn’t some new weight loss fad or a specific regimen. A pandemic diet is simply one that is most likely to prevent you from acquiring or being symptomatic from the disease. Poor nutrition or dietary choices is well known to lead to chronic disorders like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. But bad nutrition decisions can also make you more vulnerable to infectious diseases like COVID-19. That’s why investing in your own version of a pandemic diet is so important.

Some Immune System Basics

Naturally, we need a strong immune system to be able to fight off any infectious process. Whether it’s the flu or COVID-19, a healthy immune system makes it less likely we will succumb to the illness. Unfortunately, however, our immune systems can become weak without us knowing. For example, immune cells become less robust the older we get. Likewise, excessive amounts of stress and sleep deprivation can do the same. Even very young children whose immune system is yet to mature are more vulnerable. Particularly in these groups, nutrition becomes even more important.

Some salads in mason jars
A pandemic diet should consist of all the essential building blocks of good health.

In terms of eating well during COVID-19, our goals should be two-fold. The first goal is to boost our immune system as much as possible. The second involves preventing it from being damaged. Believe it or not the proper pandemic diet can achieve both goals to some extent. Naturally, eating well during COVID-19 means getting adequate vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, and selenium serve to strengthen our immune systems. At the same time, antioxidants can prevent stress-related injury to our immune system. Vitamin K and a variety of phytonutrients can serve this role with proper nutrition.

In addition to these measures, eating well during COVID-19 is also important in terms of our microbiomes. Did you realize more than 80 percent of our entire immune system is located along our intestinal tracts. With this in mind, the friendly bacteria in our digestive system, known as our microbiome, can also be protective. Certain foods, including prebiotics and probiotics, boosts these good bacteria and reduce the bad. Therefore, these foods and nutritious substances should also be a part of a pandemic diet.

Things to Consider in Your Pandemic Diet

Based on insights about our immune system, the goal of any pandemic diet is to boost essential nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are among those that are most favored when eating well during COVID-19. While the following list is not meant to be comprehensive, it does offer some good dietary options to consider.

  • Vitamin C foods – The vast majority of citrus fruits contain high amounts of Vitamin c and are thus good pandemic diet options. Likewise, other foods like red bell peppers, tomatoes, and even spinach has high amounts of this vitamin as well.
  • Vitamin D foods – Many dairy products are fortified with Vitamin D including milk products and cheese. Likewise, yogurt is a good choice because this also contain probiotics. Other Vitamin D-rich foods also include fatty fish like mackerel and salmon.
  • Vitamin E foods – As both an immune booster and antioxidant, Vitamin E is a good choice for a pandemic diet. Leafy green vegetables tend to have high amounts as do almonds and peanuts. Likewise, sunflower seeds and broccoli are excellent sources as well.
  • Selenium foods – You may have realized eating well during COVID-19 should include selenium foods. But it’s true! Your best food options in this category include sunflower seeds, most meats, and egg yolks. Likewise, many cereals are fortified with selenium as well.
  • Zinc foods – For most diets, the majority of zinc comes from red meats and poultry. But you may also find reasonable amounts in whole grains, beans, nuts, and some seafood options like crab and lobster. Like selenium, many cereals are also fortified with zinc.
  • Antioxidant foods – There are a number of antioxidants as well as several foods that contain them. Thus, a pandemic diet should strive for variety in an effort when eating well during COVID-19. Common foods in this category include artichokes, raspberries, kale, beets, and red cabbage. Strawberries, blueberries, and pecans are also good options.
  • Flavonoid foods – In addition to some antioxidant effects, flavonoids are also anti-inflammatory in nature. They similarly have other health benefits. The most common food sources of these substances include green tea, citrus fruit, juices, berries, red wine, apples, and legumes.

Making Nutrition Part of Your Pandemic Plan

The foods listed can certainly be used to determine the type of nutrition you will include in your daily routine. But in general, a balanced diet of whole foods that include vegetables, fruits and lean meats are ideal. Likewise, many foods retain their nutrients better when eaten raw or lightly steamed. And fresh and organic options are almost always more nutritious when   compared to other options. With this as your guide, you can construct your own pandemic diet.

The safety precautions proposed by the CDC and WHO are of critical important in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Measures that reduce the airborne spread of the coronavirus is a priority in prevention efforts against this disease. But at the same time, eating well during COVID-19 carries additional benefits. By eating healthy foods that boost and protect your immune system, your risks for problems decrease. This is why a pandemic diet should be part of the safety measures you take during COVID-19.


Health is an important Pillar of a Bold Life. For more about the Seven Pillars, check out Ed Kopko’s PROJECT BOLD LIFE: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success!

About the Author

Through timely and thoughtful articles, the book Project Bold Life: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success, and other media, we deliver engaging content that educates, motivates and inspires you to live a Bold Life.
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