Eating More of This Could Help Protect You From Coronavirus

A new study shows how one vitamin—in many of your favorite foods—can combat COVID-19.

With the coronavirus still causing global concern, health and hygiene remain a top priority. While washing your hands has been recommended from day one, a major component of your health routine that hasn't been widely discussed is your eating habits. Maintaining a balanced diet is paramount in keeping your body strong (though we don't blame you for stress snacking every now and then). In fact, researchers have recently discovered that vitamin K, found in many popular foods, may help combat COVID-19.

According to The Guardian, Dutch researchers teamed up with the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht to study 134 hospitalized patients in Nijmegen, Netherlands. They found that those in intensive care with the worst coronavirus cases tended to have a vitamin K deficiency. This makes sense as vitamin K protects against lung disease and regulates blood clotting, which can be a symptom of coronavirus (think: COVID toes).

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To boost your immune system, the medical experts say to mix up your meal plan. Vitamin K has two groups: K1 is common in green vegetables, and K2 is prevalent in dairy, according to Healthline. You can get a good daily dose of the nutrient by filling up on kale, spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, as well as chicken and eggs.

Cheese lovers should also rejoice. A 2018 study published in Nutrients reported that cheese is the most important source of vitamin K2 and should be part of a heart-healthy diet. But don't go digging into that mac n' cheese just yet—not all cheeses are rich in the nutrient. The ideal cheese plate should contain Münster, Camembert, and blue cheeses like Stilton or Roquefort. Note: Italian varieties, including Parmesan, mozzarella, pecorino, and gorgonzola, are low in vitamin K2 and therefore not the best supplements.

assorted cheeses on table

Rob Janssen, PhD, a scientist involved with the Dutch study, which is currently under peer review, told The Guardian that nattō (a Japanese staple made from fermented soybeans) is another superfood in terms of vitamin K2. "I have worked with a Japanese scientist in London, and she said it was remarkable that in the regions in Japan where they eat a lot of nattō, there is not a single person to die of COVID-19," said Janssen. And for more ways to monitor your health, check out the 20 Surprising Signs You Have a Vitamin Deficiency.

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