Strengthening Your Immune System in the Time of Covid-19

Living through a pandemic can be frightening, but you don’t have to be in the dark about how to strengthen your immune system against both COVID-19 and the flu.

You already may be aware of some risk factors such as obesity, lung or heart disease, aging, autoimmune conditions, and immune suppressing medication that make COVID-19 more dangerous, should you become infected. Keeping your body and immune system healthy with the right diet and spices has the possibility of

making you less susceptible, or having a milder illness, if you are exposed to the virus.

This is not a prescription for prevention or treatment. It is just an extension of common sense information you probably know or have been reading or hearing from your grandmother, or nutritionally-oriented friends or doctors.

While there are really no good human studies on diet and immunity with Covid 19, there are various articles in the literature and historical practices that suggest to me that some of the foods and spices below might make some kind of difference in keeping me healthy or possibly making me less ill, if I do get sick.

I will discuss some reasons why the recipe I have made for myself is likely to be helpful (in later blogs), but now I will just talk about delicious healthy meals to prepare and eat.

Let’s start with breakfast. Several times a week, I start with grapefruit, being sure to chew the pulp, and chew off some of the white inside the skin, especially if it’s organic. However, if you are taking any medications, check to be sure their levels are not affected by grapefruit. In that case, have an orange instead. The pulp and white inside the skin is where the bioflavonoids, and in particular, the naranganin is found.

Next, eat some ground, soaked flaxseed, or put it in your cereal. You could also add some cinnamon to your cereal for sweetness. Hold off on the sugar. Finally, how about a cup of green tea, with EGCG as a natural component? You could also cinnamon to your tea or coffee for flavor.

I just made a stew for lunch. Besides lots of kale and onions, I have seasoned it with thyme and turmeric, to name a few. Carrots, celery, and garbanzo beans made up some of the bulk. I used a quart of chicken soup liquid, but could have used vegetable soup stock instead. Miso and garlic and caramelized onions were added for flavor. I put in a big piece of astragalus root while I cooked it, for both sweetness, anti-viral protection and immune support.

While I was preparing this soup, I put a few handfuls of dried Shitake mushrooms into a pot of boiling water and flavored them with soy sauce blend and seasonings. Half of the soup got the bones and part of a chicken. I poured the stew over mashed potatoes and quinoa. I will add the Shitake mushrooms for the next meal. I added sweet white miso, flavored soy sauce, along with the Bragg’s aminos, and garlic and spices to flavor the soup).

With a few additions, this yielded 3-4 delicious meals for 2 people. I made the same recipe again tonight, vegan, with red lentils and vegetable broth instead of chicken, and it was delicious as well.

Here’s My Shitake Mushroom Stew Recipe:

  1. Rinse Shitake mushrooms with water, and boil them in a separate pot, with spices, until soft.
  2. Use a pint of water saved in the fridge from the pot where organic vegetables were steamed
  3. Add vegetable or chicken broth 1-2 pints
  4. Add water to a total of 2 quarts including above
  5. Lightly sauté 2 sweet onions salt in olive oil with 4-6 cloves of garlic added toward to end, and salt or vege salt.
  6. Flavor with sweet pale miso diluted in soup stock, turmeric, thyme, garlicsalt, basilrosemary, and Italian spices, Bragg’s Aminos with whatever deletions or additions suites you.
  7. Boil the above liquid in a 6-8 quart pot and add in chopped celery and carrots, well chopped kale or cabbage, spices, Astragalus root, chicken bones with chicken, tofu, red lentils, or vegetable protein powder and any other slow cooking vegetables you like.
  8. When vegetables become almost cooked and softened, add sautéed onions, cooked beans, and Shitake mushrooms. Finish seasoning to taste.
  9. Serve over cooked quinoa, rice, squash, or potatoes. Put some aside for the next few days, and a container in the freezer to thaw for a later meal.

Stay safe with adequate distance, and wash those hands!

To your health,

Dr. Dattner


By reading this you agree that this article is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for advice from a qualified practitioner who understands your conditions and what you are taking, and is not a substitute for best preventative measures such as social distancing (but not emotional isolation!), hand washing, and wearing a mask. Getting enough sleep and avoiding excess sugar, smoking or other lung irritants is also a good idea.

Got Warts? ~ Integrative Dermatology Treatment

Got Warts? ~ Integrative Dermatology Treatment

Let’s talk a little bit about warts and integrative dermatology. Now warts can be very annoying because they are just have an appearance that is unusual and of course some people don’t want to touch other people with them. So we know that they are caused by a virus. And that virus can actually be transmitted.

If they’re at the bottom of your feet they can be very hard to get rid of. And the virus can be transmitted by scraping off a little bit, so that material when you are walking around a swimming pool or a cement area. So of course prevention involves both the person with warts wearing sneakers or slippers when they are walking around the bathing area, and  people who don’t want to get it wearing slippers in those areas.

One way of treating them is to destroy them: burn them, freeze them. And that may work.

But if you have the virus, it can keep coming back. So the other part of getting rid of warts is enhancing somebody’s immune system so that it gets rid of it.

Various supplements like vitamin A can be helpful but there are a variety of other things that can be useful to boost ones immune system to help get rid of them either without treatment or in conjunction with conventional dermatologic treatments that can be used to destroy the warts.

Treating Food Allergy: Holiday Party Food…

6a00e55255b4628834017eea950612970d-200wiTreating food allergy, Candida overgrowth and sensitivity, and leaky gut, has been a cornerstone of my holistic dermatology practice. I’m sure that there are a lot of my patients out there who struggled with those diets, who will chuckle to hear that I recently got a “dose of my own medicine”. I want to share my experience in a short series of ongoing emails and blogs, in hope of inspiring others to make progress, and tell their own stories of success.

A few years ago, my own doctor heard about my own digestive issues, ordered some tests, and found our that I had antibodies in my blood diagnostic of a gluten sensitivity. Since that time, I have been on a fairly strict gluten-free diet, never eating wheat, barley oats or rye, but perhaps getting small amounts of gluten from Chinese restaurant soy sauce, hidden flour, or a crumb here or there that sticks to the bottom of an occasional desert. I have been well, except for a slightly active digestive system at times, and a little arthritis in two finger joints.

Recently, a repeat food test for allergy was done in thanks for giving blood to use to evaluate new testing methods for wheat sensitivity, by a lab that tested me before. The list had enlarged considerably from the first test, taking away some 50 of my favorite foods. Still reasonably cheerful, I went to the produce store in New Rochelle and bought the vegetables and foods which were still permitted on my list, and found out that I could put together some delicious but simple meals.

I also found out that I could use what was allowed to make some really tasty snacks with allowed ingredients I had never put together in those ways before. I used orange juice instead of lemon, ginger where I would have used garlic, and sesame paste to make my salad dressing.

The problem came with going to a big celebration, and then ordering food the next day. I did not notice any immediate change from all of the foods I ate out, but did get very tired after eating food with my problem soy sauce. The day after, I ate one piece of the dish, permitted by my food test (but interestingly, not by my tribe), and immediately felt a kind of heaviness and faint fogginess overtake my head.

When I bothered to check my chart, two out of three of the vegetables were not permitted, along with the soy sauce (which has traces of wheat and possibly corn starch to thicken it). So much for easy ordering and eating. I will have to prepare food from scratch. 

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York



As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.