Antiviral Functional Foods and Exercise Lifestyle Prevention of Coronavirus

Nutrients. 2020 Aug 28;12(9):2633. doi: 10.3390/nu12092633.


Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing global mortality and lockdown burdens. A compromised immune system is a known risk factor for all viral influenza infections. Functional foods optimize the immune system capacity to prevent and control pathogenic viral infections, while physical activity augments such protective benefits. Exercise enhances innate and adaptive immune systems through acute, transient, and long-term adaptations to physical activity in a dose-response relationship. Functional foods prevention of non-communicable disease can be translated into protecting against respiratory viral infections and COVID-19. Functional foods and nutraceuticals within popular diets contain immune-boosting nutraceuticals, polyphenols, terpenoids, flavonoids, alkaloids, sterols, pigments, unsaturated fatty-acids, micronutrient vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and folate, and trace elements, including zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, and copper. Foods with antiviral properties include fruits, vegetables, fermented foods and probiotics, olive oil, fish, nuts and seeds, herbs, roots, fungi, amino acids, peptides, and cyclotides. Regular moderate exercise may contribute to reduce viral risk and enhance sleep quality during quarantine, in combination with appropriate dietary habits and functional foods. Lifestyle and appropriate nutrition with functional compounds may offer further antiviral approaches for public health.

Keywords: COVID-19; exercise; functional food; immune system; lifestyle prevention; viral infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Diet / methods*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Exercise*
  • Functional Food*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Antiviral Agents