Nutrition Myths and Misconceptions During COVID-19 

woman chopping vegetables

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the information we hear and see about the coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s important to know that not all information is fact or from a reliable source. Misinformation spreads rapidly and adds complexity to our response.   

So, let’s look at some facts! 

Fact: Vitamin and mineral supplements cannot prevent or cure COVID-19. 

There has been a lot of press about certain micronutrients and COVID-19 prevention and/or cure. 

Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin D are critical for a healthy immune system and work to promote our overall health and nutritional needs of our diet.  They do not prevent or cure the virus. The same is true for the use of green tea or Echinacea supplements that do not prevent individuals from getting the virus. 

Fact: Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19. 

The use of alcohol will not protect you from or cure COVID-19. 

The use of alcohol can increase your risk for health problems. It is important to drink responsibly. For those who choose to drink, in moderation, up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks a day for men – only adults of legal drinking age. Many individuals should not drink alcohol at all.  Individuals taking certain over-the-counter medication or prescription medications or have certain medical conditions, those with alcoholism or women who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding. 

Fact: Garlic is not a treatment or prevention for COVID-19 

We know garlic is a commonly used herb that may havsome antimicrobial properties. It enhances the flavor of our food. Allicin is the predominant phytochemical in garlic and may provide some health benefits when used as part of a well-balanced diet. There is no evidence to suggest it can prevent or cure COVID-19. 

Fact: Adding pepper to our meals or soups does not prevent or cure COVID-19. 

Hot peppers and other related spices might help improve the taste of your meals, but will not help you avoid contracting COVID-19.   

Fact: Products containing colloidal silver or oleander do not prevent or treat COVID-19 and can be dangerous. 

While these products have been marketed as COVID-19 treatmentsthey are not safe or effective. Colloidal silver can cause serious side effects and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned it isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition. The extract from the oleander plant is poisonous and shouldn’t be taken as a supplement or home remedy.  

Try your best not to draw conclusions based on incorrect or incomplete information.  This can cause stress, create confusion and can prevent you from making informed decisions regarding your health. 

No food or supplement can protect you from the coronavirus. Nevertheless, having a well-balanced diet is important in supporting our immune function and may influence the body’s ability to fight infection. 

During the time of the pandemic it is important to take control of what we can to optimize our health.  Focus on eating well, maintaining adequate hydration, exercise and practice proven stress management techniques.   

Be sure to social distance, wash your hands thoroughly and wear a mask.  

Ann CaldwellAnn Caldwell is a nutritionist and registered dietitian at Anne Arundel Medical Center. To reach her, call 443-481-5555.