This review deals with the relationship among nutrition, the immune system, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The influence of nutrients and bioactive molecules present in foodstuffs on immune system activity, the influence of COVID-19 on the nutritional status of the patients, and the dietary recommendations for hospitalized patients are addressed. Deficient nutritional status is probably due to anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypoalbuminemia, hypermetabolism, and excessive nitrogen loss. There is limited knowledge regarding the nutritional support during hospital stay of COVID-19 patients. However, nutritional therapy appears as first-line treatment and should be implemented into standard practice. Optimal intake of all nutrients, mainly those playing crucial roles in immune system, should be assured through a diverse and well-balanced diet. Nevertheless, in order to reduce the risk and consequences of infections, the intakes for some micronutrients may exceed the recommended dietary allowances since infections and other stressors can reduce micronutrient status. In the case of critically ill patients, recently published guidelines are available for their nutritional management. Further, several natural bioactive compounds interact with the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, the gateway for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Natural bioactive compounds can also reduce the inflammatory response induced by SARS-CoV-2. These compounds are potential beneficial tools in the nutritional management of COVID-19 patients.
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