• First lady Melania Trump said on Wednesday that she treated her mild symptoms of COVID-19 using “a more natural route” of “vitamins and healthy food.”
  • She has since recovered from the disease, caused by the novel coronavirus, and encouraged Americans to improve their health with “a balanced diet, fresh air, and vitamins.”
  • She also said that mental health was an important part of her recovery and that focusing on family, friendships, and work kept her morale up.
  • While nutrition is crucial for a strong immune system and overall health, there’s no evidence that diet or supplements alone can cure or prevent COVID-19.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

First lady Melania Trump said in a White House letter on Wednesday that she recovered from the coronavirus through “a more natural route” of “vitamins and healthy food.”

While her husband, President Donald Trump, took a catalog of pharmaceuticals — including remdesivir, the steroid dexamethasone, and an experimental antibody cocktail from Regeneron — the first lady credited her diet and vitamins with helping her to recover.

The first lady also said she kept her morale up by focusing on her family, friendships, and work, and she stressed that mental health is a crucial part of well-being.

She didn’t specify which vitamins or foods she relied on but said her symptoms were mild, including aches, a cough, and fatigue.

“I encourage everyone to continue to live the healthiest life they can. A balanced diet, fresh air, and vitamins really are vital to keep our bodies healthy,” she wrote.

There is no evidence that food or vitamins can treat COVID-19 in most cases. However, some supplements, such as vitamin D, have shown promise in several studies.

Food can’t cure or prevent COVID-19

It’s true that nutrition is essential for a strong immune system and overall health. Eating healthfully can help protect against some conditions — such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure — that have been linked to a higher risk of developing a serious case of COVID-19.

However, there’s no evidence that diet alone can stave off the illness or help to treat it if you do get sick.

“If you’re in contact with coronavirus, it doesn’t matter how many oranges you eat — you’re going to get it,” Dr. Caroline Apovian, the director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Program at Boston Medical Center, previously told Business Insider. “The only thing that a healthy diet and being in shape will do is make sure if and when you get sick it won’t be as severe.”

There’s some evidence that vitamin D might help, and Dr. Anthony Fauci has recommended it

While the first lady didn’t mention vitamin D, it’s one of the best-studied supplements for fending off a viral infection.

The president was taking a regimen of vitamins and supplements, including vitamin D.

There’s extensive evidence linking a vitamin D deficiency to a greater risk of infection, particularly from respiratory diseases like COVID-19, though researchers don’t fully understand whether vitamin D supplements can lead to better health outcomes.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has recommended taking vitamin D and said in September that he did so himself.

Vitamin C and zinc may shorten some types of infections and speed up healing

Two other nutrients have an important role in immune-system health but have not been found to treat or prevent COVID-19.

Getting enough vitamin C is crucial for a healthy immune system. While it can’t prevent disease, there’s some evidence that it might help people recover more quickly from illnesses such as the common cold.

There’s also some evidence that zinc, a mineral necessary for human health, might help shorten the duration of some infections such as the common cold. Research indicates that it’s important for immune-system health generally. But no studies have found that zinc can treat or improve outcomes in patients with COVID-19.

Walking or jogging outside is crucial for health and well-being

As for the fresh air the first lady mentioned, taking a walk or jogging outdoors offers substantial health benefits.

Exercising outdoors is one of the safest ways to work out right now, since it gives you plenty of space to avoid other people, though it’s still best to bring a mask for those times when you might encounter others.

Doing so can help boost your mood, improve your sleep, and get you some additional vitamin D (produced naturally in response to sunlight).

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