June 9, 2019
February 6, 2022
The uncertainty over Covid-19 has been prolonging and people are finding ways to stay healthy and boost immunity to prevent infection with Covid-19 as much as recover faster and better. Food plays a major role in keeping the pandemic at bay and also help recover and get back to normalcy.
Let’s get the basics right
Hydration and proper nutrition are major factors in boosting immunity. People who tend to eat a balanced diet stay healthier with strong immune systems and have lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. Consuming a variety of unprocessed and fresh foods daily will go a long way in getting vitamins, minerals, protein, dietary fibre, and antioxidants that your body needs. Drinking enough water, avoiding excess use of sugar and salt, eating less fatty food are other hacks that lower risk of obesity, heart-related ailments, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Not just what to eat but how to eat is also makes a difference.
Fresh and unprocessed foods
You can eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole, and foods from animal sources.
Daily eat 2 cups of fruit in 4 servings, 2.5 cups of vegetables in 5 servings, 180 g of grains, and 160 g of meat and beans (red meat can be eaten 1−2 times per week, and poultry 2−3 times per week). Add legumes, (e.g., lentils, beans), whole grains (e.g., unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat, brown rice or starchy tubers or roots, such as potato, yam, taro or cassava) and also foods from animal sources (e.g., meat, fish, eggs and milk).
Instead of fried snacks that are high in sugar, fat, or salt choose raw vegetables, fresh fruits or nuts in moderation.
Cook the vegetables carefully as overcooking leads to the loss of important nutrients present in canned or dried vegetables and fruit, choose ones without added salt or sugar.
Plenty of water
Water is essential for transporting nutrients and compounds in blood, regulating your body temperature, getting rid of waste, and lubricating and cushioning joints. It is advised to take 8 to 10 cups of water daily. Drink throughout the day evenly until evening. Although water is the best choice, you can also have other drinks, water-rich vegetables and fruits, tea and coffee. But be mindful of the caffeine. It is better to avoid sweetened fruit juices, syrups, fruit juice concentrates, and fizzy drinks as they all contain excessive sugar.
Moderate consumption of fat and oil
It is better to consume unsaturated fats, such as fish, avocado, nuts, olive oil, soy, canola, sunflower and corn oils rather than saturated fats that found in fatty meat, butter, coconut oil, cream, cheese, and clarified butter.
Choose white meat (e.g., poultry) and fish, which are generally low in fat, over red meat and processed meats because they are high in fat and salt.
In dairy products, go for low-fat milk and other dairy products.
Completely avoid processed food, fast food, snack food, fried food, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines and spreads as they contain industrially produced trans fats.
Less salt and sugar
While cooking and preparing food, limit the amount of salt and high-sodium condiments, such as soy sauce and fish sauce.
Minimize your daily salt intake to approximately 1 teaspoon, and prefer iodized salt.
Avoid snacks and other food that are high in salt and sugar.
Limit your intake of soft drinks or sodas and other drinks that are high in sugar, such as fruit juices, fruit juice concentrates and syrups, flavoured milks and yogurt drinks.
Lean toward fresh fruits instead of sweet snacks such as cookies, cakes, and chocolate.
Ensure quality and safety while eating outside
WHO recommends maintaining a distance of at least 1 metre between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. That is not always possible in crowded social settings like restaurants and cafes. So, book your table prior to going to a restaurant to avoid waiting with others. Droplets from infected people may land on surfaces and people’s hands, so ensure the staff are vaccinated and keep proper hygiene protocols. Go to restaurants that have proper cleaning and disinfectant use.
Counselling and psychosocial support
Although proper nutrition and hydration improve health and immunity, they are not enough. People living with chronic illnesses who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or who are recovering may need support with their mental health and diet to recoup. Seek and arrange counselling and psychosocial support from trained healthcare personnel and also community-based counsellors.
Special tips for those recovering from Covid-19
There is no need to panic. Our daily food prepared with little more information actually help recover faster and better. There is no need to diet blindly without a medical practitioner’s advice. Taking four or five supplements is unnecessary in most cases. Better stick to freshly prepared food and well-balanced diet.
Covid-19 seems to be affecting people with comorbidities, diabetes and other metabolic disorders. So, people who are recovering need to be aware of the dietary needs and get proper professional advice for diet and treatment.
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