Covid-19: 5 questions from readers

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Homemade Coleslaw with Shredded Cabbage, Carrots (moderate salicylates), and Lettuce

Five useful questions (and answers) from people about coronavirus and food issues

1.  What are the best fruits/veg for Vit C when you have salicylate and amine problems?

People often assume they have to eat fruit to get Vitamin C but that’s not right.

"It's a myth that fruit is packed full of vitamins and minerals … The really sad thing is that we don't eat enough vegetables, such as cabbage … "
says Tom Sanders, director of the Nutritional Sciences Division at King's College London

Cabbage is failsafe. One cup (89 grams) of red cabbage contains 85% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C - the same amount as in a small orange. 

For failsafers who are on the strict RPAH diet, that is, low in salicylates and amines, the RPAH diagnostic elimination diet handbook, p89, recommends the following fruit and vegetables for Vitamin C:

  • potatoes

“the potato is one of the most near-complete foods on earth. They provide 45% of the daily requirement of Vitamin C, the protein of half a glass of milk, more potassium than a banana, fibre and other B vitamins and minerals …” says Christ Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission, while eating a potato-only diet for 60 days 

For failsafers who can tolerate some moderate S/A/G fruit and vegetables, there are plenty more options. Snow and sugar snap peas contain 100% of the daily recommended allowance of Vit C in 100 gm and there are many others because nearly every vegetable you eat contains Vit C, eg:

2. What is the best Vitamin C supplement for failsafers?

Obviously, failsafers should try to avoid coloured, flavoured or preserved tablets. RPAH recommendations include the following – but always check the label, because pharmaceutical  ingredients can change at any time.

RPAH warns that megadose intake of Vitamin C (over 600 mg/day) may be harmful for some people.

3. Zinc is meant to help our immune system. What are the best foods for zinc when you have salicylate and amine problems?

According to the RPAH handbook: meat, chicken, seafood (e.g. oysters), tofu, eggs, legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas, split peas) and grains. For vegetarians, cashew nuts and legumes are good sources; note that wholegrains such as quinoa, rice, rolled oats and wheat contain more zinc than refined grains, but as with legumes, the zinc will be more accessible if they are soaked before cooking

4. If we get the virus what would you recommend?

Follow the instructions of your healthcare provider - likely to be as for flu: eg, rest and drink lots. For fever control and pain relief, the RPAH recommendation is paracetamol, not aspirin or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (nurofen). Interestingly, health experts in France and the UK also now recommend paracetamol rather than ibuprofen because several studies have found that anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen are more likely to lead to severe illness or complications in respiratory infections.

Obviously, failsafers prefer to avoid nasty additives - colours, flavours, preservatives - in their paracetamol. We buy Herron Gold Tabsules – failsafe because the pale yellow colour is iron oxide and the flavour is vanilla. Our favourite, Amcal paracetamol white tablets, are currently unavailable. Another option is to ask a Compounding pharmacist (under C in the yellow pages).

5. Can you explain to me why we don’t get sick when on failsafe?

"Something to do with improving your immune system? I practically gloat when everyone around me moans about their colds and flus they have all the time as I don’t get them anymore!! …" - Rosemaree (failsafe 8 years)

It’s true, many common food additives have been found to suppress the immune system – including the bread preservative that many people in English speaking countries eat every day – often unknowingly due to misleading labelling. See recent post on immune systems and caution: cultured dextrose (it’s really the bread preservative)

Read more

The strict RPAH diet is considered to be for diagnosis. After challenges to find out exactly what each person is sensitive to, your dietitian should help you to reintroduce foods gradually. If that hasn’t happened, you can request our RPAH reintroduction sheet (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

See our list of experienced supportive dietitians

Intro to food intolerance