Lies are convenient when the truth is unpleasant. Right now, we’re faced with a number of unpleasant truths, so lies are popping up like springtime flowers. The virus that’s plaguing us will “miraculously” disappear, says a politician. “Stock up on these nine healthy foods to boost your immune system,” says CNBC. Unfortunately, both of those are nothing more than expedient lies. Stocking up on healthy foods will not boost your immune system – unless you are seriously malnourished.
We strongly recommend paying attention to things that will actually make a difference and putting your mind at ease about all the other noise. Shut it out. It’s only there to exploit your fears. The people who are spinning it out are simply trying to sell a product or attract attention so they can sell advertising.
“Yes, but” is the construction that hypesters use to open the door to this nonsense. For instance, Healthline says it quite clearly: “There’s no evidence that vitamin C supplements help prevent COVID-19.” Unfortunately, they go on to offer advice on how to take a supplement.
This is what we call a mixed – and thus misleading – message.
The fact is that there’s not even good evidence to say that vitamin C supplements prevent colds or anything else – unless you’re malnourished and not getting much. In that case, the answer is simple. Fix the malnourishment. Get to the root of the problem. Figure out how to improve your diet.
Dietitians of Canada recently offered up the truth about immune boosting hype:
Simply put, you cannot “boost” your immune system through diet and no specific food, supplement or natural health product will prevent you from catching COVID-19. Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others.
There are many nutrients that are involved with the normal functioning of the immune system and therefore we encourage eating a variety of healthy foods each day in order to support immune function.
The bottom line is that a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables, protein foods and whole grains is important for a strong immune system as are other healthy lifestyle habits (e.g exercise, not smoking, adequate sleep, managing stress etc).
In other words, eat well, sleep well, stay active, and make peace with the fact that you’re doing all you can. Your immune system will do its job.
For perspective on why people believe liars, this article is well worth a read.
Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.