Blog Category: Uncategorized


By Richard Bell,

Adam Usher says…

Besides washing your hands, the best way to prevent coronavirus is to make sure your immune system is in good shape. That means getting all the sleep you can, not overexercising (but not under-exercising, either), and eating a nourishing, varied and complete diet. 

That way, if you’re exposed to the virus, you’ll be stronger to fight it. That’s what the immune system does.

The job of your immune system is to keep you healthy by killing off pathogens such as viruses and harmful bacteria (like coronavirus), or even unhealthy cells that have been damaged by the sun or cancer. Vaccines, which I am 100% supportive of, help your body fight off some viruses like flu. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for coronavirus. Hopefully soon.

While there are a lot of products promising ‘immune-boosting’ properties, an overactive immune system isn’t a good thing. Diseases and conditions such as lupus and even seasonal allergies, are examples of what happens when the immune system goes into overdrive. So technically, it’s not a good idea to ‘boost’ your immune system, unless you want to feel terrible all the time. 

Instead, you want to ensure a balanced immune response – which means that your immune system is functioning normally, and not over or under responding to invaders.

Here’s a very oversimplified rundown of the immune system:

There are two parts of the immune system: the innate and the acquired.

The innate response comes in first in the form of the skin forming a natural barrier to pathogens, a fever (to boil the invader to death), a cough (to eject the nasty things out of your body), and increased mucus production to trap anything that’s not supposed to be inside of your respiratory system. You’ll see fever and coughing with both the coronavirus and the flu. 

The acquired response is the secondary response. Once a pathogen gets past the innate response, your body jumps into action to control the infection by releasing immunoglobulins (aka antibodies), which are proteins in the blood that attack and destroy antigens.

Both the innate and acquired systems require certain nutrients to ensure that they work properly. That’s where diet comes in!

The main vitamins and minerals required for a healthy immune system are: vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, and B12, folic acid, iron, selenium, and zinc. These are all readily available in most peoples’ diets, with the exception of vegans, who may need B12 supplementation if they’re not consuming B12-fortified foods. Vitamin D can also be sub-optimal if you’re not eating animal products or eating fortified foods. 

Here are some good sources of the above vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A, C: Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables
  • B vitamins: Whole grains, meat, dairy, legumes
  • Vitamin E: Avocadoes, nuts, and seeds
  • Vitamin D: Salmon, mushrooms, egg yolks and fortified dairy
  • Folic acid: Whole grains, leafy greens
  • Iron: Meats, beans, tofu, beans
  • Selenium: Brazil nuts, meat, eggs, dairy
  • Zinc: Meat, shellfish, legumes

In short, if you’re not getting enough of these nutrients, your immune system might suffer. 

There are no ‘superfoods’ that help with immunity.

Here are some of the foods being promoted on social media that people are claiming can help prevent and treat coronavirus:

Probiotics: We just don’t know about probiotics. First of all, we have zero clues as to which bacteria can help with the prevention of viruses. Also, everyone’s microbiome is different – so what works for one person might not work for another. Probiotics are not harmful if you decide to take them anyway. 

Elderberry: The evidence for elderberry is weak and based on small studies. It also evaluates elderberry as a treatment for cold and flu symptoms, not for the prevention of illness. Hey, if you like elderberry and want to take it, no dramas. 

Colloidal silver: I have no idea why anyone would want to ingest silver. Not only does colloidal silver have no evidence behind the claims people are making about its preventative mechanisms, it’s also toxic. Do not take it. 

Essential oils: Sorry, but no. They might be ‘antimicrobial’ and ‘antiviral,’ but trying to kill coronavirus with lemon oil is like trying to kill a rattlesnake by stepping on it. Essential oils smell nice, and that’s it. 

Cysteine: One old, small study shows reduced flu episodes in people who were taking cysteine for 6 months…meaning, they took it long-term as prevention, not amid a viral outbreak. Still, this is poor quality research. Not recommended at all. 

Vitamin C: You get enough vitamin C in a stalk of broccoli or an orange. Over-consuming water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C just results in expensive urine, since that’s where excess of these vitamins end up. Your recommended intake is around 70-90mg/day, which you can easily get from 1/2 cup of capsicum, or many other foods. 

Selenium: Selenium is well-known for its role in a healthy immune system. But that doesn’t mean you need to take selenium supplements. Most adults need 55 micrograms of selenium a day, which you can get by eating a single Brazil nut. If you don’t’ like, or can’t eat Brazil nuts, get your selenium from turkey and other meats, eggs, oatmeal and a variety of other foods.   Also: overconsumption of selenium is a thing, and can happen if you mega-dose it with supplements. 

Alkaline water: NO. Please just, no. 

Spirulina: This algae is a known antioxidant, but can it prevent coronavirus? No. There is some weak research that suggests spirulina can increase killer cell activity (great if you have a virus), but evidence is still lacking. If you want to take spirulina for its other health benefits, notably protein and antioxidants, go right ahead. 

Honey: Not even close. 

The primary problem with believing nonsense like the above is that it gives people a false sense of security. You are not less likely to get coronavirus if you’re taking megadoses of vitamin C or ‘sanitizing’ your hands and countertops with essential oils. 

In short, here’s what you can do to help prevent coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands properly, with soap
  • Stop touching your face (yeah, I know. It’s tough)
  • Don’t hang around sick people.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Don’t wear yourself down by over-exercising or stressing out (but exercise regularly).
  • Get enough sleep.

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Tracy’s Breakout Muffins for Lockdown

By Richard Bell,

These are great with a cup of freshly brewed tea or coffee ?
Hope you like them, Tracy x


1 cup unbleached plain flour (use SR flour if that is all you have)
1 cup wholemeal plain four (use SF flour if that is all you have)
4 level metric tsp of baking powder (eliminate if using SR flour)
2 large eggs (Free Range of course…gotta respect those girls!)
½ cup of preservative free dried fruit (sultanas, dates or prunes are good, but you can use whatever you have…go wild)
½ cup of neutral vegetable oil (I have used grapeseed, rice bran and olive oil successfully)
½ cup of honey
¾ cup of milk (soy or other milk is fine)
1 large apple or pear
1 tsp of spice (I often use cinnamon and clove, but ginger and all spice are also lovely…again use what you have or what you love)
1 orange for juicing (you can throw a little finely grated rind into the mix for more flavour if you like)
1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
Butter for greasing muffin tins

Preheat oven to 175◦C fan forced. Grease the muffin tins thoroughly with butter.

Chop the dried fruit if using larger fruit. Juice the orange and combine with the dried fruit in a medium bowl to plump it up. You can throw in a little grated orange rind if you like. Chop the pear into small pieces or coarsely grate the apple (no need to remove skin from the fruit, just wash thoroughly) and then combine with the orange juice and dried fruit. Put aside while you prepare the batter.

Combine the flours, baking powder (if using plain flour) and spice and sift into a large mixing bowl. Then use a balloon whisk to mix very thoroughly.

In a second generous bowl whisk the eggs and then add oil and honey (put the oil in your measuring cup first and swirl to coat the inside of the cup, then after pouring out oil measure your honey in the same cup and it should pour out easily ?). Add milk and vinegar. Whisk your wet ingredients so they are well combined.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and gently combine with a wooden spoon until you have a thick batter. If you are using wholemeal flour and the batter is very heavy, just add a little more milk. You want the mix to be quite thick so you can spoon it into the tins. A few little lumps are ok. Don’t overmix. Finally, fold in your fruit mix, holding back any excess juice (unless the mix it still a bit heavy…in which case, throw it all in).

Spoon into greased muffin tins and place on middle rack in oven. Cook for 20 mins until golden. Remove from the oven and stand for a few minutes, before turning out. I usually gently loosen under the top of the muffin with a bread and butter knife, so they turn out easily. Give them a sharp tap!

Devour with gusto (and a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt, if you feel inclined).

These muffins are best eaten fresh, but they will freeze well.

Note: If you feel creative, you can add a simple topping. I use a dusting of cinnamon sugar, mixed seeds, pecan nuts or a thin slice of apple or pear (pink lady apples look pretty). Just make sure to gently press your topping into the top of the muffins before you put them in the oven, so you don’t lose bits when turning them out.

Enjoy xx

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