Local doctor says food, spices in your home could boost your immunity

A recent New York Times article said that most Americans don’t have the diet or overall health to fight COVID-19. A Weymouth doctor said a strong immune system is needed to fight the virus.

Dr. Pat Hopkins, a rheumatologist and director of the Boston Functional Medicine Group, looks at the root cause of diseases. She said it’s important to eat healthy to keep a strong immune system to be at your best to fight a virus.

“I always like to say the best offense is a good defense so you’re building up your immune system,” Hopkins said. “If you get the virus your immune system should roll over and say no problem.”

Hopkins said the best way to flatten the curve and protect yourself from coronavirus is to keep away from the “Quarantine 15.”

“This isn't the time you treat yourself with Oreos for breakfast, ice cream for lunch, and pizza for dinner,” Hopkins said.

She added that it’s important to focus on not only what you eat, but how much.

“If you look in my refrigerator every day there are certain cornerstones that I have. I have parsley, cilantro -- cilantro’s a great detoxifier,” Hopkins said.

She said onions, scallions, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, leafy greens and eggs can improve your gut, along with spices.

“I have a little herb garden and you can do it in a flower box. It is OK to use dried spices, but you can’t keep them in your cabinet for 20 years. They do expire,” she said.

The best spices to boost your immunity are thyme, basil, turmeric, rosemary, dill and sage, Hopkins said.

She said her favorite immune-boosting meal is miso soup because it involves fermentation, which is good for gut health. She recommends using an organic miso.

Hopkins added that because COVID-19 droplets live in the air, anti-viral throat and face sprays could be more effective than wearing a mask.

“We know the viruses are entering our mouths -- our oral cavity, our nasal cavity and attaching right onto our tissues and then they’re anchoring right in and we’re swallowing them," Hopkins said.

Whenever she leaves her house, she sprays her eyes and mouth, she said. For eyelids and eyelashes, Hopkins recommends OCuSoft HypoChlor spray. For your throat, she suggests Beekeeper’s Naturals Propolis throat spray and Mediherb herbal throat spray.

Here’s a list of Hopkins’ top supplements to help boost your immunity:

-Vitamin D3, 5000 IU per day

-Zinc, 30 MG per day

-Vitamin C, 1 to 3 G per day, divide doses

-Curcumin, 500 to 1000 MG twice a day

-Quercetin, 1,000 MG twice a day

-Elderberry, 500 MG per day

-Melatonin, 3 to 20 MG at bedtime

-Myrrh and Echinacea

Before changing your diet or starting on supplements, it’s always important to talk to your doctor.