First we heard how vitamin D status can play a role in the severity and morbidity of COVID-19; now we’re learning that another nutrient may affect how well people respond to the virus. This is according to research presented at the online European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Conference on Coronavirus Disease, held in September.

Using information gathered from 249 patients (average age 63), the researchers reported that people hospitalized with COVID-19 tended to have worse responses—including more inflammation and higher death rates—if they had low levels of zinc in their blood (compared with those with healthier levels).

Zinc is an important player in immune health, so it stands to reason that the trace mineral can affect a person’s defense against the virus. While this relatively small study didn’t prove cause and effect, it does again hint at the idea that nutrition status is an important player in battling this deadly illness. Foods to bolster your zinc status include shellfish, legumes, seeds and yogurt.

See also: Is There a D-fence Against COVID-19?