A balanced diet is your best bet in the battle against covid-19. Here’s why

Keeping strong immunity while covid-19 is right around is of utmost importance. Here’s how a balanced diet can help us with it.
Balanced diet
A balanced diet can be the secret of longevity. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
PTI Updated: 13 Oct 2023, 03:29 pm IST
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When soldiers go into war, their armour and artillery are the most important things they take with them. In our fight against covid-19, our armour is our immune system and our artillery is the healthy food we feed our body. It’s time to educate ourselves on how a balanced diet helps to keep our immunity system strong.

A balanced diet comprising nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, pulses, cereals and yogurt coupled with a healthy lifestyle is the key to staying protected from covid-19, says the National Institute of Nutrition, under the Union Health Ministry. 

What is essential for keeping our body healthy?
Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and phytonutrients that are primarily available in fruits, nuts, vegetables and wholegrains (i.e. a balanced diet) enhance both native and adaptive immune function and prevent infection among others

They also aid immune memory formation that helps prevent reinfection with the same pathogen, help scavenge toxins produced in large quantities in the body during infection and immune response, and increase beneficial probiotic bacteria in the intestine among other benefits, director of NIN, Hemalatha R told PTI. 

Also, Read: In the wake of coronavirus, adopt these 5 ways to boost your immunity

What are the foods we should or shouldn’t be consuming right now?
It’s essential to become conscious of the foods that can help us fight against coronavirus.

  • Fruits like papaya, guava, apple, grapes, mango, oranges, tangerines, lemons, sweet lime and gooseberries, all seasonal vegetables, including green leafy, and spices, legumes, millets, flesh foods and fish are among those with rich sources of nutrients, she said.
  • “Curd is a source of many nutrients and it also improves gut health by regulating gut bacteria, aids immune function and reduces inflammation,” the Director said.
  • Suggesting dietary and lifestyle guidelines during these times, she said consumption of highly processed foods should be limited and fruit juices and carbonated drinks should be avoided.
  • Consuming meat, poultry and eggs were not risky in present circumstances, but hand wash hygiene must be followed after handling raw meat, eggs or even vegetables, she said adding thoroughly cooked meat and poultry products may be included in diets in moderation.
  • Avoid too much fat (no more than 30 gm per person per day – preferably more than two varieties of oils), salt (no more than 5 gm per person a day).
    Sugar is just calories with no nutrients, hence, keep it to the bare minimum, she said.
  • Maintaining ideal body weight and keeping the body hydrated with adequate water intake is essential.

What are some of the lifestyle choices, apart from a balanced diet, that are important right now?

balanced diet ti keep immunit strong during covid-19
Keep your hands clean as coronavirus is in the air and on the surface too. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What precautions should people with underlying health issues be taking?
People with diabetes or other chronic illnesses should continue their regular medication and prescribed healthy dietary patterns along with adequate physical activity and keep themselves stress-free,” Dr Hemalatha said, replying to a question. 

In the vulnerable times of covid-19, we must practise these guidelines on a balanced diet seriously and make health our utmost priority,  

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