I get curious when I hear that a whole continent is enjoying a great immunity to the coronavirus pandemic. Although they had high infection numbers, their resilience is undeniable in this 2023 article.
Why greater immunity and strong resilience?
The researchers identified fermented foods (of all sorts!) and herbs, including garlic.
This interesting scientific group comes from Italy, Belize, and Nigeria; their examination of different aspects of resiliency within the African culture and the reasons behind their greater ability to resist covid is well worth the read!
With over 6 million coronavirus pandemic deaths, the African continent reported the lowest death rate despite having a high disease burden. The African community’s resilience to the pandemic has been attributed to climate and weather conditions, herd immunity, repeated exposure to infectious organisms that help stimulate the immune system, and a disproportionately large youth population. In addition, functional foods, herbal remedies, and dietary supplements contain micronutrients and bioactive compounds that can help boost the immune system. This review identified significant traditional fermented foods and herbal remedies available within the African continent with the potential to boost the immune system in epidemics and pandemics. Methodology: Databases, such as PubMed, the Web of Science, and Scopus, were searched using relevant search terms to identify traditional African fermented foods and medicinal plants with immune-boosting or antiviral capabilities. Cereal-based fermented foods, meat-, and fish-based fermented foods, and dairy-based fermented foods containing antioxidants, immunomodulatory effects, probiotics, vitamins, and peptides were identified and discussed. In addition, nine herbal remedies and spices belonging to eight plant families have antioxidant, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, and antiviral properties. Peptides, flavonoids, alkaloids, sterols, ascorbic acid, minerals, vitamins, and saponins are some of the bioactive compounds in the remedies. Bioactive compounds in food and plants significantly support the immune system and help increase resistance against infectious diseases. The variety of food and medicinal plants found on the African continent could play an essential role in providing community resilience against infectious diseases during epidemics and pandemics. The African continent should investigate nutritional, herbal, and environmental factors that support healthy living and longevity. Article
Frazzoli, C., Grasso, G., Husaini, D. C., Ajibo, D. N., Orish, F. C., & Orisakwe, O. E. (2023). Immune System and Epidemics: The Role of African Indigenous Bioactive Substances. Nutrients, 15(2), 273. Article
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Traditionally, garlic has been used in Africa to manage bacterial, parasitic, viral, and other infectious diseases [136,137,138]. Other uses included gynecological diseases, toothaches, snake bites, arthritis, and hypertension [136,137,139,140].
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