Strengthen your immune system against COVID with a healthy diet
A healthy body and strong immunity can considerably increase your chances of tackling the coronavirus and a healthy diet lays the foundation for it.
Eating healthy is very important during the COVID-19 pandemic. What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections.
While no foods or dietary supplements can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection, healthy diets are important for supporting the immune systems.
Good nutrition can also reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer and combatting comorbidities.
Eat a variety of food, including fruits and vegetables
Your body needs a plethora of nutrients and micronutrients. A wide variety of foods will help create a balanced diet that your body needs.
Every day, eat a mix of wholegrains like wheat, maize and rice, legumes like lentils and beans, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, with some foods from animal sources (e.g. meat, fish, eggs and milk).
Choose wholegrain foods like unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice when you can; they are rich in valuable fibre and can help you feel full for longer.
Limit sugar intake
Sugar is one of the leading causes of obesity and can lead to diabetes, insulin resistance, inflammation, etc. It can also increase risk of cancer. It is important to monitor and moderate your sugar intake to ensure continued health.
Limit intake of sweets and sugary drinks such as fizzy drinks, fruit juices and juice drinks, liquid and powder concentrates, flavoured water, energy and sports drinks, ready-to-drink tea and coffee and flavoured milk drinks.
Choose fresh fruits instead of sweet snacks such as cookies, cakes and chocolate. When other dessert options are chosen, ensure that they are low in sugar and consume small portions.
Cut back on salt
Salt, while an essential nutrient for your body, needs to be moderated. Too much salt can increase risk of high blood pressure and consecutively heart failure, heart attack, kidney problems, fluid retention, stroke and osteoporosis.
Limit salt intake to 5 grams (equivalent to a teaspoon) a day.
When cooking and preparing foods, use salt sparingly and reduce use of salty sauces and condiments (like soy sauce, stock or fish sauce).
If using canned or dried food, choose varieties of vegetables, nuts and fruit, without added salt and sugars.
Drink enough water. Good hydration is crucial for optimal health. Drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages is a simple way to limit your intake of sugar and excess calories.
Eat moderate amounts of fats and oils
Fats, contrary to popular belief aren’t all bad. Too much fat can cause multiple health issues like obesity, heart disease, fatty livers, etc. But the body needs a small amount of healthy fats to ensure proper nutrition.
Replace butter and excessive ghee with healthier fats like olive, soy or corn oil when cooking.
Choose white meats like poultry and fish which are generally lower in fats than red meat; and limit the consumption of processed meats.
Select low-fat or reduced-fat versions of milk and dairy products. Avoid processed, baked and fried foods that contain industrially produced trans-fat. Try steaming or boiling instead of frying food when cooking.