Health and Wellness

Dr. Oz on coronavirus: Why it may help to meditate, and other advice to stay healthy

Dr. Oz on the Today Show
NBC | Getty Images

TV host Dr. Oz, aka, Mehmet Oz, has some advice when it comes to protecting yourself amid the growing coronavirus outbreak.

Some of the heart surgeon's recommendations echo the CDC's prevention guidelines — like washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. 

But Oz also recommends overall wellness measures to stay healthy: get more than seven hours of sleep per night, exercise for 30 minutes every other day and meditate daily, he said On "The Dr. Oz Show" on March 6.

While there is no science directly linking lifestyle choices and enhanced immunity, a healthy lifestyle is always a good idea.

There is evidence that adequate sleep supports the immune system, and that lack of sleep can make you more susceptible to colds or viruses, according to the Mayo Clinic.

It's unclear whether or how regular exercises effects the immune system, but it does reduce stress hormones (some kinds of stress can make you more susceptible to illness), keep your heart healthy and it can increase energy levels

As for meditation affecting the immune response, there's no definitive science. But at least one study, which looked at 20 studies across nearly a 50-year period, shows potential: "Mindfulness meditation likely reduces inflammation and improves health at least in part by relaxing the 'fight-or-flight' stress response, which produces proteins in the body that can drive inflammation," Dr. George Slavich, Director of the UCLA Laboratory for Stress Assessment, who conducted the 2016 study tells CNBC Make It. 

However Slavich says more research is needed for a clearer understanding of the findings and to "replicate these effects and to determine how they occur."

Oz also recommends adding food like vegetables and fruits to your diet. And research shows that some vegetables, like spinach and red peppers, as well as fruits like blueberries and kiwi, may help strengthen the immune system. 

However, at least one recommendation that Oz made may be inaccurate. Oz advised using a humidifier or HEPA filter to improve air quality and decrease the number of virus particles in the air. But "[y]our typical HEPA filter is not going to be able to remove coronavirus from the air," Erin Sorrell, an assistant professor of microbiology and a member of Georgetown's Center for Global Health Science and Security, told Buzzfeed News, explaining that the virus is too small.

A spokesperson for Oz told CNBC Make It "while air filtration can't eliminate viruses, it is a recommended as a tool to improve air quality and reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission," citing a New York Times op-ed by Joseph Allen an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The Times piece argues that "proper ventilation, filtration and humidity reduce the spread of pathogens like the new coronavirus." The spokesperson also noted certain HEPA filters are part the CDC's coronavirus protocol for filtering air from isolation rooms.

This story has been updated to include comments from a spokesperson for Oz. 

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