7 September 2020
Covid-19 is a leading challenge across the world. To maintain good nutrition is the major tool for all of us to fight against this virus. Good Nutrition and proper hydration can ensure overall health and a robust immune system.
Sonia Gandhi, Head of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics Department, Fortis Hospital Mohali said, “Comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac, renal, liver and gastrointestinal disorders management is very important for the prevention and the better outcome of infection. Weight management is also very important and weight gain or loss both should be monitored for diet modifications.”
She was speaking at webinars organized at Shemrock School Mohali and MCM DAV College, Chandigarh on the occasion of Nutrition Week being observed across the country. The topic of the talk was ‘Nutrition and Immunity During Covid – 19 Times’.
She said it was important to follow a well-balanced healthy diet plan that includes all the food groups in quality and quantity as per nutrient recommendations such as whole cereals, pulses, legumes, milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables, eggs and lean cuts of chicken/fish, nuts /seeds and sugars and oils in moderation to ensure adequate calories, essential macro and micronutrients.
“Nutrition has an important role in supporting the immune system and maintaining proper immune function. While immunity does not strengthen overnight, your consistent efforts can make your body stronger and ready for the fight against pandemic, now or in future”, she said.
Proper nutrition and hydration are vital, said Gandhi, adding, 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 is therefore recommended that you should eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, protein and antioxidants your body needs.
One should eat fruits vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils, beans), nuts, seeds, whole grains, dairy products like milk with turmeric powder, curd, cottage paneer and poultry as per your requirement. For snacks, choose raw vegetables and fresh fruit rather than foods that are high in sugar, fat or salt. “Do not overcook vegetables and fruit as this can lead to the loss of important vitamins. If at all, and when using canned or dried vegetables and fruit; choose varieties without added salt or sugar. Avoid canned food as far as possible and go for fresh and safe food choices by intent”, she said, adding that one should drink 2-3 liters of water, provided not suffering from any ailment where extra liquid is contraindicated.
She suggested eating moderate amounts of fat and oil from plant sources. Consume unsaturated fats (e.g. found in fish, avocado, nuts, olive oil, soy, canola, sunflower and corn oils) rather than saturated fats (e.g. found in fatty meat, butter, coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee and lard), further advising to avoid non-veg if you can and go for fresh vegetable diet as far as possible. Gandhi also advised that we should use national Indian herbs and spices in routine while cooking and less salt and sugar consumption is the key to a healthy lifestyle.