A strong immune system is needed for combating the rampaging Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, just as regular intake of orange fruit juice is essential for building the immune system. This was the view of an expert, Olusola Malomo, the Publicity Secretary of Nutrition Society of Nigeria.
The expert who stated this in his monthly health dialogue, an initiative supported by CHI Limited, observed that though there are still relatively few studies on the effect of nutrition on the human immune system, Harvard Medical School said 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 added that fruit juice contains the vital micronutrients needed to boost immunity.
He also said that there has been a sharp increase in the demand for pure fruit juice, especially the orange category, which he said could be attributed to the immune-boosting power of orange juice. “Peter McCaffery, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Aberdeen, said Vitamin C, which is contained in orange juice, helps to strengthen the immune system to fight off bacteria and virus infections like the one the world is currently grappling with,” he stated.
Malomo added that the shopping lists of households across different parts of the world, including Nigeria, have revealed remarkable changes, with CNN reporting 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.
Narrowing it down to Nigeria, he said that there has been surplus demand for pure fruit juice in the country, pointing out that “during the five weeks the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun were on lockdown, shops and supermarkets had run out of orange fruit juice.”
The expert, however, revealed that the intake 100% pure fruit juice is just one out of the other ways to boost one’s immune system. According to him, there are several other things one can do to achieve this – adequate sleep, thorough cooking of meat, maintaining good hygiene, moderate intake of alcohol and regular exercise.
“There are lots of herbal mixtures on the shelves of local stores with labels containing ‘support immunity’, ‘immune booster’ etc. So far, there is no evidence that such substances can strengthen immunity,” Malomo cautioned.