Vitamins & minerals for NHS Frontline staff

Staff at Morriston Hospital, Swansea

A crowdfunding project, Frontline Immune Support,  is providing frontline staff with immune support supplements, with over 500 doctors, emergency nurses, and other NHS staff having so far taken up the offer. The pack includes Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc and other immune supporting supplements including homeopathic remedies and mushroom complex.

Dr Alex Mentzer*, an Infectious Disease registrar at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, tells Healthy Soul, ’As I’m an Infectious Disease doctor married to a Nutritional Therapist, I am very aware of the importance of looking after my body during times of stress. For the past six weeks I have been working relentlessly with constant demands on my physical and mental state. I don’t think I could have coped without the support of my wife’s nutritious meals and the Immune Support Team’s valuable supplements. They have helped me build the resilience I needed to get through this challenging time.

‘It certainly isn’t over for us frontline workers. We are running a marathon and not a sprint. We need every source of support we can be given now more than ever. Thank you Immune Support.’

Leading UK nutritionist Patrick Holford, nutritional advisor to the Frontline Immune Support Team, says: “Frontline NHS staff are in a virally high risk environment. There is clear evidence that 6 grams of vitamin C reduces duration and severity of infections. The Chinese in Wuhan gave all hospital staff daily vitamin C for prevention. Many Covid-19 patients have shown to be deficient in Vitamin D, especially in the BAME community, so getting vitamin D as well as zinc levels up is another wise move when virally exposed since they both support healthy immune cell strength, and zinc also inhibits viral replication.

‘That’s why I’m supporting the Frontline Immune Support Team. These great people need all the support they can get to keep going in the face of adversity. This is the least we can do and hopefully the life-saving information about nutrition will filter through into frontline treatment.’  Read
Patrick Holford’s new book, The Flu Fighters, which explains how Vitamin C, zinc and Vitamin D (and other supplements) are key to fighting viruses.

To donate to the Frontline Crowdfund please click here

Vitamin C has been used in hospital trials on Covid-19 patients in several countries with good success rates, although trials will not be completed until September this year. Research into the effect of vitamin D status in COVID-19 patients are also being carried out in France, Spain and the United States.

*Caroline Mentzer, Nutritional Therapist,

The merry month of May

Spring flowersSpring is here – and so are we! Still in lockdown, so let’s see this as an opportunity to think about healthy eating and try some new things. While I’m not going to make any claims about boosting immunity, this month’s recipes do have that in mind.

Blueberry smoothie

This smoothie contains three immune-boosting ingredients – blueberries, cacao powder and turmeric. Warning – this looks like a muddy sludge, but it is delicious.

Serves one
200-400g blueberries
One tsp cacao powder
One tsp turmeric latte powder
One tsp chia seeds
One tsp linseed meal
Half tsp matcha powder
Whizz all the above with coconut/almond milk in a Nutribullet and drink immediately.

Lockdown pasta

I’ll admit, I’d been planning to share a more original recipe but I looked in the store cupboard and saw – a lot of tins and pulses. So, here’s a simple pasta dish packed with vegetables and protein. The sauce will serve two for two days – on the second day I stirred in a bag of spinach and added a tin of baked beans while re-heating. The vegetables can be varied, of course, but try to find four different ones.

Serves two over two days
Two large carrots, chopped
Two peppers (red/green/yellow/orange) chopped
Four sticks of celery, chopped
Three cloves of garlic, crushed
Two onions, chopped
100-200g dried red lentils
400g tin kidney beans/chick peas
One tbsp. dried mixed herbs
Two tsp. chilli flakes
600g tomato pasta sauce

Cook the vegetables in olive or coconut oil until soft, then stir in the lentils and add the tomato sauce, herbs and chilli flakes. Cook until the lentils are soft (about 20 minutes) and add in the beans/peas. Heat everything together for about 10 more minutes, while cooking pasta. Serve with half the sauce and save the rest to reheat.

Bank holiday salad

There are two bank holidays this month, so let’s celebrate with a healthy seasonal salad. For salad dressings, I’m using triple the amount of immune-boosting garlic. It doesn’t matter – you’re not getting close enough to anyone except your ‘household’…
I am starting a collection of mint plants this year – in this recipe I used a mixture of apple and chocolate mint.

Serves two (with a serving for the next day)
Two bunches of asparagus, cooked and cooled, then chopped
Broad beans (you may need to seek these out a specialty greengrocer – otherwise fine to use frozen) shelled
Four to six carrots (if you’re at that specialty greengrocer, see if you can pick up some purple/yellow carrots to add extra colour),
One bag  lambs lettuce
Peas, shelled
Mint, chopped
Mixed radishes, sliced
For the dressing, bash three cloves of garlic with herby rock salt to make a paste, then whisk with mustard, cider vinegar and flax seed oil.
Mix all the ingredients and toss with the dressing.

Deep breathing could save your life

Deep breathingMany of us shallow breathe not using the full capacity of our lungs, therefore not getting enough oxygen into the body. Now we know that deep breathing could save your life it takes on a much bigger perspective.

A 59 year old man survived Covid-19 due to his deep breathing. NHS staff at the Gloucester Royal Hospital were reported as having named Rob Thomas ‘the king of breathers’ because of his deep breathing techniques. He not only contracted the virus but also initially had sepsis, and when he went into intensive care he was believed to have a 50/50 chance of survival during the first few days. Apparently his sister told him to ‘keep breathing’ and it worked, because he did not have to go on to a ventilator and eventually recovered.

Richard Kravetz, yoga teacher from Yoga For All, who provides chair yoga and mat yoga (currently online) for everyone whatever their ability or disability, explains how to practise deep therapeutic breathing into the diaphragm.

It is preferable to lie down with knees bent and feet on the floor (semi-supine position) but if this is difficult, a sitting position is OK. Try to breathe through the nose. Richard says, ‘Put one hand on your abdomen, one hand on the upper part of your chest and breathe, noticing how the chest, the ribs and the belly expand and rise as you breathe in, and relaxes on exhalation. This will enable the diaphragm to move more freely.’

Alternatively, Richard suggests you put your hands across the lower rib cage with the fingers touching, and during the in breath, the ribs expand and the abdomen rises the hands will move apart. As you breathe out the fingers will move back together.
Practise this as often as you can, and stay safe.

Richard Kravetz:

Easter healthy treats

MagnoliaWhen I first started planning this month’s blog, I had no idea how life was going to be when it got to actually sending it out. My original thought was how to deconstruct that childhood favourite – the Crème Egg. So, something with eggs and something with ‘ultimate’ – ie 100% cocao solids – chocolate and, of course, the usual seasonal juice.

I don’t want to lay on any detailed health or lifestyle advice for these long days of social distancing ahead – there’s no shortage of that elsewhere. Just a couple of points…

  • More time at home means more time for smoothies and juices. Why not set up a daily habit? There are plenty of immune-boosting recipes out there.
  • Small, local ethnic shops can be a good source of lesser-known pulses and other new foods to try – and they need the business now! Check they’re not crowded and watch out for narrow aisles.


Green juice with extras

Spinach is just coming into season, so I combined this with grapefruit and a Bramley apple, throwing in a cucumber to boost the alkalising effect. Then checked the fridge and fruit bowl for any tired old leftovers and threw them in too.

Serves one

Bunch of spinach (from local greengrocers)

One Bramley apple, peeled and sliced

One cucumber, chopped roughly

Three tired celery sticks, chopped roughly

One broccoli stem, from last night’s dinner, chopped

One kiwi fruit from bowl husband keeps to add to his breakfast (I don’t like them on their own), peeled and sliced

One inch turmeric root, peeled and chopped

One inch ginger root, peeled and chopped

Feed everything into the juicer and drink immediately.

Spinach, grapefruit cucumber and apple juice kiwi – stolen from husband’s breakfast fruit bowl – I only like them in juice


Mung dhal with eggs and vegetables

This is a highly nutritious and cheap meal. Mung dhal is the inside of green mung beans.  It is cheap and very easy to cook (no soaking) – I got a big bag from my local Asian shop and wondered why people seem to be swooping on the pasta and leaving the pulses behind.  Ring the changes by serving with, or without, eggs, with salad(s), with rice or naan bread, raita and pickles – or even thinned down as a soup. We had it with mixed vegetables one day, peas the next, then I made it thinner and served as a sauce with hard-boiled eggs.


Serves six (or two for three days)

Two onions, peeled and chopped

One large red chilli, chopped

Three garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

Two inches ginger root, peeled and grated

One tbps. turmeric powder

One tsp. cumin seeds, ground

One tsp. black mustard seeds, ground

400g tomatoes

400g tin spinach puree

300 to 500g mung dahl

Mixed vegetables, frozen peas

Hard-boiled eggsFry onions, chilli, garlic and ginger with the spices till soft, then add tomatoes, spinach and bring to the boil. Add around 1.25 litres water (adjust liquid depending on if you want a thin or thicker dahl). Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the dahl is soft. Meanwhile, boil the vegetables/peas till tender, hard-boil the eggs if using. Stir vegetables/peas into the dahl and heat through. Serve over the halved-hard boiled eggs/with rice/bread/raita/salad.

Chocolate peanut brownie  

I’m hearing that people are doing a lot of baking these days, so here’s a recipe I put together. I don’t normally mention brands here, but I’m going to give a shout out to British chocolate company Montezuma’s – high-quality chocolate, with a lovely range of flavours, including the Absolute Black, a 100% cocoa solids chocolate with absolutely no sugar, which I’ve experimented with here. It’s definitely an acquired taste if you eat it as is – dry, rather than bitter. I wondered how it would go down in baking. Here’s how…

80g Absolute Dark with hemp and sea salt and 80g Absolute Dark with Almonds, chopped into chips in a food processor

Sugar (or substitute like coconut blossom nectar – try for as little as you think you can get away with – I added 2 tbsp.)

70g butter, chopped

2 tbsp. water

2 eggs, beaten

125g flour (any flour – I used spelt)

One tbsp. cacao powder

One tbsp. cinnamon

50g salted roasted peanuts

Preheat the oven to around 170˚C. Heat the chocolate chips, sugar, butter and water until melted. Pour into a mixing just and add eggs. Mix well. Then add cacao and cinnamon to the flour in another bowl. Pour in the chocolate mixture, add peanuts and stir well. Add eggs, flour, nuts. Pour the mixture into a baking try and bake for 30 to 40 min. Leave to cool and then cut into squares.





Boost the immune system

cherries for JuneHealth stores are doing a roaring trade at the moment, due to  Coronavirus and that’s because people who know about vitamins and herbal medicines are stocking up. So what are they buying?

Vitamin C:  has a reputation for fighting all viruses, and so it’s a daily essential. When you are healthy you only require 10mg of Vitamin C, because that’s all the body can absorb at once (it pees the rest out). When you are unwell the body is depleted of Vitamin C so you need much more.

How to take it: Cherry Active is made from Montmorency cherries and is packed with Vitamin C – take as a juice (which you can dilute and drink hot) or tablets.  Or you can buy capsules, tablets or gel Vitamin C.  See:See Vitamin C fights all viruses.

Cherry Active liquid made from Montmorency cherries. Delicious and packed with Vitamin C, Concentrate, 473ml, £17.15;  30 capsules.

Nature C Vitamin C tablets, made by A. Vogel. Chewable, tasty and made from food.

To purchase these with a 5% discount go to and put in the promotion code: HSoul1

Echinacea: is a herbal remedy that has the ability to boost the immune system and make you feel better. It was traditionally used by native Americans for many illnesses and infections, including snake bites.

Echinacea Hot Drink from A. Vogel  combines  fresh Echinacea root with herb extracts and Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) which is very warming and is claimed to prevent viruses entering cells of the body.

A. Vogel’s Echinaforce Echinacea Throat Spray moistens your throat and can prevent coughing.

A. Vogel Echinaforce Echinacea tincture, 50ml.

A. Vogel Echinaforce Echinacea tablets, 42.

To purchase these with a 5% discount go to and put in the promotion code: HSoul1

Zinc – 15 mg daily . Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system and may prevent viruses from entering cells which they need to do in order to multiply.

Bee Health, Vitamin C and Propolis, 60 tablets

Garlic – garlic is antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and antibiotic. You can heavily lace your food with garlic, which will keep everyone away, not just the devil. Or you can take Allicin capsules – allicin is the active property in garlic that boosts the immune system. antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and antibiotic.

Allicin Max Veg Caps, 30 – 180.

To purchase these with a 5% discount go to and put in the promotion code: HSoul1