New Delhi, April 16: Going beyond precautions and vaccinations, doctors and the World Health Organization (WHO) have advised that proper nutrition and hydration would be key in fighting the second wave of Covid-19. This is a throwback on some essential ancient wisdom. 2500 years ago, Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, hit the nail right on the head when he said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
In January, the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad had entered into an agreement with Arya Vaidya Sala (AVS), Kottakkal to check for the efficacy of ayurvedic formulations in the fight against coronavirus. AVS will provide standardised ayurveda formulations, and the CCMB will test them on the lab-grown coronavirus strains in cell culture system, and check for their anti-viral efficacy.
According to WHO, people who eat a well-balanced diet tend to be healthier with stronger immune systems and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. It goes on to add that one should eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants for body needs.
A balanced diet helps in building a strong immune system that can help withstand any assault by the virus. In the current situation, it is necessary to be aware of the specific types of food that can improve our immune system in order to combat Covid-19.
Here are some professional and authentic dietary guidelines to withstand Covid-19.
- Eat fruits like guava, apple, banana, strawberry, cantaloupe melon, grapefruit, pineapple, papaya, orange, Longman fruit, blackcurrant, pummelo, daily, with a serving size of two cups (4 servings).
- Eat fresh vegetables like, green bell peppers, garlic, ginger, kale, lime, coriander (dried), broccoli, green chili pepper) 2.5 cups of vegetables (5 servings) legumes (beans and lentils).
- Eat whole grains and nuts, 180 gms of grains like unprocessed maize, oats, wheat, millet, brown rice or roots such as yam, potato, taro or cassava.
- Use nuts like almonds, coconut, and pistachio.
- Red meat can be eaten once or twice per week, and poultry two to three times per week. Use foods from animal sources (e.g. fish, fish, eggs, and milk) and 160 gms of meat and beans.
- For snacks, choose fresh fruits and raw vegetables rather than foods that are high in sugar, salt or fat. Avoid irregular snacking.
- Limit the salt intake to 5 gms a day.
- Consume unsaturated fats. These are found in avocado, fish, nuts, soy, olive oil, canola, corn oil, and sunflower rather than saturated fats found in butter, fatty meat, coconut and palm oils, cheese, ghee, and cream.
- Drink 810 glasses of water every day. It helps to transport nutrients in the blood, gets rid of waste, and regulate the body temperature.
- Avoid all fizzy, carbonated, concentrated juices, and all drinks which contain sugar.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle of exercise, meditation, and regular sleep. Adequate sleep will help to support immune functioning.
- Eat at home to avoid contact with other people and try to reduce the chance of being exposed to Covid-19.
- When using dried or canned fruits and vegetables, choose varieties without added sugar or salt.
Besides this, the following steps need to be adopted for cooking:
- Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly before eating. Wash, rinse, and disinfect objects and surfaces every time before and after use.
- Keep cooked and raw foods separate, as it would prevent the harmful microbes from raw foods spreading to cooked foods.
- Use different chopping boards and utensils for cooked and raw foods to prevent cross-contamination.
- Do not overcook vegetables as it leads to the loss of important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
- Make sure the food is prepared and served at acceptable temperatures.