Red, purple and blue… could keep COVID from killing you

COVID

Did you hear the big news from the CDC on Sunday?

They announced that 94 percent of all people who have died of COVID-19 had an underlying medical condition that contributed to their death.

The following are the top underlying medical conditions linked with COVID-19 deaths.

• Influenza and pneumonia
• Respiratory failure
• Hypertensive disease
• Diabetes
• Vascular and unspecified dementia
• Cardiac arrest
• Heart failure

This is wonderful news for people who don’t suffer from any of these conditions. They can breathe a little easier knowing that COVID-19 on its own isn’t likely a death sentence.

But please don’t take this as a free pass to be reckless. Even if you don’t die, you can still have a whopper of a time with the virus. Stay vigilant. Social distance, wear a mask and wash your hands often.

Keep in mind that you can still transmit the disease and you never know who around you is especially vulnerable.

For those of us with underlying conditions (I have thyroid disease and heart disease runs rampant in my family), the CDC’s announcement was heartbreaking.

As most of you know, I had the COVID early on… thankfully my case wasn’t life-threatening. But it could have been. And we still don’t know the facts about antibodies and future immunity… there’s a chance I could get sick again.

And just in case, I refuse to sit idly by. As I’ve said many times throughout the pandemic, the best defense is a strong offense.

Everyone, but especially anyone with any of the aforementioned underlying medical conditions, needs to prepare. Get your body in the best possible shape so that your chances of successfully fighting off whatever might come your way are the best they can be.

I want to take this time to focus on how folks with diabetes can protect themselves.

If you’re already a diabetic (34.2 million Americans — just over 1 in 10 — have diabetes), it’s not too late for you to help yourself… controlling blood sugar before and during a COVID-19 infection can be helpful.

88 million American adults — approximately 1 in 3 — have prediabetes. Many don’t even know it…

There’s no question that diabetes is an epidemic. And a pandemic during an epidemic is bad news…

With no COVID-19 vaccine in sight, diabetes is a bigger concern than it has ever been before.

If you already have diabetes or are showing signs of developing it, you probably already know that eating foods that help you control your blood sugar is one of the most recommended prescriptions by doctors across the country.

But knowing what foods to eat that will actually work can be tricky.

Now, however, we have a cheat sheet.

Thanks to a groundbreaking scientific study, we know that the key is in the anthocyanins.

The research found that specific compounds found in purple corn, along with numerous other fruits and vegetables, actually have the power to not only reduce inflammation but to also improve insulin sensitivity and fight obesity to help you ward off blood sugar problems.

The road to these findings all started two years ago, when a study showed that rats who ate extracts of blue corn, even while following a traditional Western diet, had less abdominal fat, better blood cholesterol, better triglycerides and lower blood pressure than rats who weren’t fed the extracts.

This led the research team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to wonder what else extracts of vibrant corn varieties were capable of when it comes to your health.

The team fed extracts of 20 varieties of corn derived from Apache red maize. These extracts were packed with compounds known as anthocyanins, the pigments that give them their red and purple colors. They also delivered a punch of phenolic compounds, including caffeic and vanillic acid, luteolin and quercetin.

And, here’s what they found…

When they exposed macrophages (immune cells that play a role in inflammation) to the compounds, the number of pro-inflammatory molecules was dramatically reduced.

They even found that the compounds were “mildly toxic” to fat cells.

And, if that weren’t enough, the team discovered that the anthocyanins and phenols lowered levels of oxidative stress in the mouse cells, an accurate measurement of insulin resistance.

You would think that with just those findings alone, anthocyanins and phenols would become the holy grail of diabetes prevention, but there was more…

The team was also able to show that the extracts helped to powerfully inhibit two proteins, alpha-amylase and dipeptidyl-peptidase 4, which can lead to lower blood sugar levels and improve the regulation of insulin secretion.

I don’t know about you, but after hearing all of those results, I immediately wanted to add as much purple and red corn into my diet as possible.

But, there’s one problem with that…

I’ve never seen any in the fresh vegetable section of my grocery store… and I’ve only seen them here and there seasonally at my local farmer’s market.

The good news is that there are other colorful foods readily available that are chock-full of anthocyanins:

  • Black raspberries
  • Black currants
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Red cabbage
  • Black plums
  • Red radish
  • Red raspberries

You can also get anthocyanins in supplement form.

In addition to eating a healthy diet full of anthocyanins, exercising regularly is the next most effective way to control diabetes.

Exercise increases the insulin sensitivity of your cells. So when you exercise, less insulin is required to keep your blood sugar levels under control. All kinds of physical activity have been shown to reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar. These include aerobic exercise, high-intensity interval training and strength training. Pick something you enjoy and think you can commit to doing long-term.

You have control over many of the factors that influence diabetes… and now you know what foods help maintain healthy blood sugar.

That gives you a major leg up in the fight against COVID-19. Don’t be part of the 94 percent. Get healthy now so that if you get the coronavirus down the road, you’ll have the best chance possible of coming out on the other end triumphantly!

Stock up on the fruits and veggies I mentioned, grab a superfruit supplement and move your body.

Stay safe out there. We’ll get through this together.