How your diet can help flatten the curve

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian is a cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University. Follow him on Twitter: @Dmozaffarian. Dan Glickman was the US Secretary of Agriculture from 1995 to 2001.
Dr. Simin Nikbin Meydani is professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the authors; view more opinion articles on CNN.

(CNN)The Covid-19 coronavirus is disrupting almost every aspect of our lives in the US and across the world. As we face this daunting new challenge, it's important to assess and bring to bear every tool we have in our arsenal to reduce infections, deaths and suffering from this outbreak.

Dariush Mozaffarian
Dan Glickman
Simin Nikbin Meydani
Social distancing, hand washing, and quarantine can "flatten the curve." But what role can food and nutrition play? We believe there are at least three important ways diet can help alleviate the public health crisis.
    First, higher intakes of specific nutrients appear to boost the immune system, while low intakes lead to less effective immune responses and higher susceptibility to infection.
      Stronger immune systems can help people fight the virus, and may help keep some patients out of the hospital, leaving room for those in most dire need. Nutrients that may help the immune response include micronutrients like zinc, selenium, iron, and vitamins A, C, D, E, B-6, and folate; with additional potentially promising effects of whole foods like goji berry, broccoli, green tea, and turmeric.
      Some of these nutrients may help to reduce excess inflammation and tissue damage caused by the virus that can lead to severe lung injury and failure and even death.
      It is too early to know what cocktail of nutrients is the best to counter Covid-19. But we do know that several of these nutrients have shown promising effects for common colds, influenza and other respiratory infections. With many restaurants closed, take this opportunity to eat healthy foods at home like: citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes