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Guarding against the virus

Tips from a cardiologist on keeping COVID-19 away.

Article Author: Guest Columnist

Article Date:

surgical mask and vegetables

Guest columnist Mona Shah, MD, of Baptist Heart Specialists, is the only physician in Northeast Florida who is board-certified in both cardiology and holistic medicine.

By now, we should all know that wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and regular hand washing are the main ways to protect ourselves against COVID-19.

But is there anything else we can do to help prevent or fight the coronavirus?

Food for the fight

For starters, always eat healthy and choose foods that contain essential vitamins and minerals that boost the body’s immune system, which helps fight infections and diseases.

Avoiding processed foods and excess sugar can also help keep our immune systems strong. Excess sugar increases the inflammatory response in our bodies and weakens our immune cells.

The right amount of fiber, protein and balanced fats (saturated and unsaturated) is not only good for our immune system but also helps prevent obesity and cardiovascular disease. Obesity has been found to be a major risk factor in more severe COVID-19 outcomes.

Watch your weight

Other ways to guard against the virus: start a weight-loss program and stay in shape.

Exercising not only helps us manage all different types of stress, but it also helps maintain an overall feeling of wellness and a renewed sense of control.

Maintain your mental health

During my interactions with patients, I get a sense of how the pandemic is impacting them on a daily basis, especially mentally.

There is so much we can't control right now, so we need to try to find a few things that we can take control of to boost our mental well-being. People can try to:

  • Set up Zoom calls or virtual visits with friends and family
  • Meditate, even if only for 10 minutes a day
  • Do something that gives you a positive feeling, like listening to music, painting, or even singing in the shower

Dose of vitamin D?

There have been studies detailing the benefits of vitamin D in helping with respiratory infections like COVID-19 and overall health, including cardiovascular health.

But, for now, there’s not enough evidence to show that vitamin D can prevent COVID-19, according to the National Institutes of Health.

With all the uncontrollable factors in the world right now, one of the best medicines any doctor can prescribe to is to be grateful for the parts of our lives that bring us the most joy.


*To make an appointment with one of our more than 30 board-certified Baptist Heart Specialists, call 904.720.0799.

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