Healthy Living Expert offers advice on diet, vitamins to stay healthy


(WEHT) — Seeking comfort in junk food is common, but it’s not the best way to fortify your body to fight off COVID-19. Dr. Jason West is an integrative medical physician and fourth generation owner of the West Clinic in Idaho. Dr. West joined Eyewitness News’ Brandon Bartlett to talk about vitamins and healthy food options for your immune system.


Brandon Bartlett: Dr. West, thanks for being with us tonight. First off when it comes to staying healthy, should we be focusing on our immune system? And if so, are there any supplements that we should be taking?

Dr. West: Absolutely, there are. I think this is a wake up call for everyone to get your immune system dialed in. And I think the most important ones are the ones that grandma and your mom tell you about, you know, vitamin C, about 3000 milligrams is some recommendations, vitamin A, vitamin D, about 10,000 units, 30 milligrams of zinc. I mean, if we just could focus on those, and don’t forget essential fatty acids because they protect the cell. There’s a lot we can do besides just social distancing. 

Brandon: And of course, eating healthy also plays a very big role. Let’s say that I’ve had fast food most days this week, if I’m going to the grocery store this weekend, and I do want to buy some healthy items, what should I be putting in my cart? 

Dr. West: Well, the first thing thing I tell people is you should eat healthy and alive foods and only eat foods that spoil, just eat it before it spoils. So anything plant based vegetables, fruits, I think are so good for you the best source of vitamins and minerals are your knife and fork.

Brandon: We should be having vegetables every day. Is that right? 

Dr. West: Absolutely. You know, I tell people just hold up your hand. There’s about a serving size right there in the back of your hand. Just try and get, you know, four to five of those a day of healthy plant matter. And you’re beating the curve, you’re so much healthier than most people that don’t eat very well. 

Brandon: Well, for those of us who work and want to bring healthy lunches to work, what are some easy lunches that we can make to bring to stay healthy? 

Dr. West: Well, just you know, celery, carrots, raw nuts. I tell people all the time pecans are great. Walnuts are great. And really just fruits, oranges, apples, bananas. I think animal protein has a place for it. Although most Americans eat too much meat. But if you could just focus on healthy, alive, colorful foods, it can’t be Skittles or Starburst, it has to come from a plant, you’re going to be doing really well. 

Brandon: Well, there’s a lot of buzz about probiotics, are they helpful? And what should we look for when choosing one? 

Dr. West: Well, probiotics help to synthesize vitamins that you can’t make from the foods that you put into your system. And so they’re incredibly important. They’re good bacteria for our system, and fermented foods, sauerkraut, kimchi, buttermilk, yogurt are all really, really healthy to keep your gut healthy, and it helps your gut to make vitamins that you can’t make yourself. 

Brandon: Are there any foods that we should be avoiding? You mentioned Skittles, which is kind of disappointing.

Dr. West: It is and I have to say as a former Skittle addict that I’ve recovered from that, but foods that you shouldn’t eat are inflammatory foods. And so I tell people that you know, there’s a reason why sugar and high fructose corn syrup tastes so good because it’s not good for us. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have healthy foods that tastes good. Honey, fruits, stevia, there’s lots of things that taste good but avoid inflammatory foods and white sugar because it decreases your immune systems response to bad guys. 

Brandon: So the bottom line with everything that’s going on right now, should we be focused on our health? 

Dr. West: Absolutely, I mean, and it’s so simple, get your body on a schedule, get lots of water in your system. water helps to lubricate your mucous membranes so viruses can’t attach, healthy and alive foods, some green, some red, some yellow, eat foods that spoil, just eat them before they spoil, I mean, just really good rules of health. It’ll really protect your system because eventually we’re all going to get exposed to this virus. I mean, if the data is correct, it’s coming our way. If your immune system is healthy, you’re not going to have problems.

Brandon: So we need to fight back?

Dr. West: We got to fight back. It’s time to go on the offensive and say, look, I’m taking back my health. Eat healthy and alive. Get your body on a schedule with vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc. Good things are going to happen for you. 

Brandon: All right, great information. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. I appreciate it. Thank you. See you later. 

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