Eat heaps of garlic and boost your immunity with Vitamin C supplements… Wash your fruit with detergent when you get home from the supermarket… Inject disinfectant to kill the virus… Anecdotes of coronavirus cures and ways of “protecting yourself” from the pandemic have been running rampant on social media over the past few weeks and months. I’ll leave the disinfectant injections for other scientists to deal with, but I’ll tackle some of the myths relating to nutrition – since that is my specialty – and dispel of the fiction surrounding coronavirus.


MYTH 1: Eating garlic will protect you from the virus!

  • I’m pretty sure coronavirus is not a vampire. I’m not a 100%, but I’m PRETTY sure it isn’t, even though it may have come from a bat. While garlic is a very healthy food, that contains allicin (an antibacterial) and possesses some anti-cancer properties, the chances of it being a “magic bullet” are very low. There is currently no evidence to show that garlic is protective against coronavirus. It is an excellent flavour-booster, so feel free to use it in place of salt (if you so wish), but don’t bother eating it by the bulb on a daily basis… unless you want certain people to stay away from you… hmm could be a good method of ensuring social distancing.


MYTH 2: Vitamin C supplements are good for your immunity!

  • Vitamin C is essential for a HEALTHY immune system! HOWEVER, there is zero benefit to mega-dose consumption (provided that you’re relatively healthy in the first place – an average Joe or Joanne). It is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that your body is able to eliminate the excess (quite quickly) through urine! You can easily have the recommended daily intake (45mg) from a couple of serves of fruit per day – kiwis anyone? ... If for some reason you can’t or don’t eat fruit and veg, you can supplement the vitamin, but mega-doses will just lead to a bright neon urine.


MYTH 3: Drinking alcohol will protect you from the virus!

  • I know a few people that would love this to be true, unfortunately it’s a big NO! While STRONG alcohol can kill coronaviruses when used as hand sanitiser or disinfectant, drinking alcohol will not protect you and might actually have a negative effect on your health (depending on the amount drunk of course).


MYTH 4: Coronavirus can be transmitted through food!

  • COVID-19 is a RESPIRATORY INFECTION, not a GASTROINTESTINAL INFECTION (like gastroenteritis) or a FOODBORNE ILLNESS (like food poisoning). From my understanding, the virus spreads through respiratory droplets entering the eyes, nose, and airways from coughs and sneezes. At the time of this writing, FSANZ advocate that there is no evidence to suggest COVID-19 is transferred through food. I’d say especially if the food is cooked/heated, as most viruses are killed at 70°C or higher.


MYTH 5: Wash your fruit and veg with detergent!

  • Not sure if we have to go over this, it is specified on the bottles: SOAPS and DETERGENTS are not intended for human consumption! A good rinse under running water just before you eat or cook with raw fruit and veggies is usually enough to ensure the foods are safe for consumption! Why just before? I’m glad you asked (since I’ve got a degree in food science), washing and storing fruit and veg can lead to quicker spoilage. Therefore washing it only as you’re about to use it, ensures the food’s longevity.


Have you heard any other myths? Drop them in the comments and I’ll cover those in the next instalment of Bustin’ Myths.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.