Healthy Diet & Exercise vs. COVID Vaccination? Try both!

Health & Wellness Uncertainty and Misinformation Vaccines

We’re hearing so many people repeat this line: “just eat well and exercise, that’s the best prevention for COVID-19!” Is this true?

Healthy diet and exercise *are* good for your health! Unfortunately, they do not really prevent COVID. The best prevention for COVID-19 is to be vaccinated. If you do get COVID, being vaccinated is also your best protection against ending up in the ICU.

Don’t get us wrong–we’re all for a healthy lifestyle. People who eat healthy foods, exercise, and get enough sleep are less likely to develop many chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, stroke, cancer, and heart attack.

And it’s also true that diabetes, cancer, and some other chronic diseases are among the risk factors for a serious case of COVID-19. That’s because maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle might help your adaptive immune system be prepared with resources to keep you healthy. However, just being healthy overall won’t keep you from breathing in someone else’s exhaled virus particles. (And guess what *very* effectively prepares your immune system with resources to fight an infection? Yes… vaccines.💉)

Another note: if you already have any chronic conditions or are in some other high-risk category (like age), taking some turmeric and a long walk will NOT help you (or your lungs) evade viral particles–no matter what else they do for you.

So the truth is that your best protection is vaccination + a healthy lifestyle. Why not try both? 🍎🏃‍♀️ + 💉 = the best medicine.

But wait–we still have questions. How did this idea suddenly take over the vaccine-no-thank-you zeitgeist a few weeks ago? Where did this misinformation come from? The (partial) misconception that general good health is enough to protect us from new diseases is an old one, but there was a noticeable & sudden uptick in chatter about healthy lifestyle.

After some light googling, we learned that this latest trend in vaccine rumors originated with an anonymous social media user who lists his profession as “news personality.” He posts many, many, many times a day across many social media platforms, offering a consistent drip of hatred against people who are Muslim, immigrant, LGBTQ+, scientists, large-bodied, progressive, and much (much) more. He’s pumped out hundreds of comments about all kinds of issues, including COVID-19 vaccines. This particular post falls into his larger fat-shaming theme. He evidently has no credentials other than the number of his followers. For whatever reason, this particular post went into the social media stratosphere and reached hundreds of thousands of people. And it seems like he just… made it up. 🤷🏻

It’s a great example of Brandolini’s law, which states “The amount of energy needed to refute bullsh*t is an order of magnitude larger than is needed to produce it.”

Or as Mark Twain put it, “How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!”

What can we do? One great way to protect yourself from 💩 is to ask for the credentials of your sources.

If you’re interested in the science of bullsh*t, we recommend the wonderful, practical, and often funny popular press book on the subject by Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West.

A couple of previous posts about misinformation:

How do I fight fake news?

What can I do to stop health misinformation?

How can I spot misinformation?

Link to Original FB Post