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Fighting COVID-19: Plant-Based Diet Can Boost Resistance Against Invading Pathogens, Say Experts

In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and considering the goodness of herbs, fruits and vegetables, country’s apex animal protection the body has urged the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India to promote plant-based diet to build immunity and fight against coronavirus

Fighting COVID-19: Plant-Based Diet Can Boost Resistance Against Invading Pathogens, Say Experts
Highlights
  • Limit consumption of highly processed food: Experts
  • As per experts, plant-based diets are higher in essential micronutrients
  • Flavonoids in fruits and vegetables have antiviral capabilities: Experts

New Delhi: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that proper nutrition and hydration are vital to be healthy with strong immune systems to lower risk of chronic illnesses and infections at a time like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to Varda Mehrotra, Executive Director of Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO)- an association of all animal protection organisations across the country, plant-based diet can provide the essential nutrition required to boost the body’s resistance against invading pathogens.

Also Read: Gujarat, Goa, Chandigarh Lead India’s Food Safety Index: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

With an aim to encourage people to adopt a plant-based diet, FIAPO has urged the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) to combine plant-based diets with its recommendation under the ‘Eat Right India’- a campaign of Government of to improve public health and nutrition. It has urged FSSAI to promote plant-based food as an immunity builder and to seek food hygiene during coronavirus disease pandemic.

Make Food A Priority To Strengthen Immunity: Experts

Ms. Mehrotra asserted that several researches have shown that plant based-diets are usually higher in dietary fibre, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins C and E, iron and phytochemicals. The plant-based food tends to have lower calories, saturated fats and cholesterol, she said. According to medical experts, saturated fats and cholesterol are the reasons for the majority of life-threatening disorders in human beings.

In her letter to FSSAI urging to promote plant-based diets, Ms. Mehrotra highlighted that COVID-19 poses a serious threat to people with low immunity and one of the major ways to deal with COVID-19 is by boosting immunity. She said,

Green foods are vital against novel coronavirus by improving the immunity of all age groups and hence should be promoted by FSSAI. One of the most important components of the immune system is the T cells also called T lymphocytes. T-cells play an essential role in supporting our immune system and are responsible for defending our body against invading pathogens that could cause diseases and illnesses. Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids. Flavonoids are found in fruits, vegetables, and grains, and possess antiviral capabilities. They can also stimulate the activities of certain immune cells, including T- cells. Thus, in these days of a pandemic, it is important that we consume healthy foods and strengthen our immune system to give a strong immune response to fight infections and ward off diseases.

Also Read: Opinion: Nourishing The Undernourished In Quarantine During COVID-19 Times

While emphasising on making food a priority for boosting immunity, Basanta Kumar Kar, an expert on nutrition and recipient of Global Nutrition Leadership Award said that consuming a healthy diet that is rich in micronutrients is can help individuals make improvements in their health. This is because food that is rich in nutrition has capabilities to fight anaemia, gut problems, high cholesterol, excessive weight gain and obesity, cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease (CHD) and mortality risks. He said that these underlying conditions and co-morbidities are a major cause of mortality during the current COVID-19 crisis. Mr. Kar added,

Around 53 per cent of women in the age group 15-49 years are anaemic, as per the fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS-IV) and more than 60 per cent children from 12-23 months of age are anaemic, as per the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS 2016-18). Research studies suggest that infection/inflammation, iron deficiency, micronutrient deficiencies such as copper, zinc, Vitamins A, B12, C, riboflavin, folate, and some of the genetic factors like sickle cell anaemia contribute to overall anaemia prevalence. These deficiencies can be addressed by eating foods with rich micronutrients like fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, avocado, coconut oils, and whole grains like unprocessed wheat, maize, millet, oats, brown rice and others.

Dr. Jagmeet Madan, National President Of Indian Dietetic Association, on the other hand, says that in regard to specially COVID-19, there is a lack of concrete evidence regarding specific dietary factors that can reduce risk of COVID-19, but asserts that it is a known fact that a healthy immune system plays a vital role in defending our body against diseases.

Also Read: Nutrition And COVID-19: Drink Ample Water, Eat Unprocessed Food, Advises WHO To Lower Risks Of Infections

World

24,20,23,922Cases
20,36,06,535Active
3,34,95,808Recovered
49,21,579Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,20,23,922 and 49,21,579 have died; 20,36,06,535 are active cases and 3,34,95,808 have recovered as on October 21, 2021 at 4:33 am.

India

3,41,27,450 18,454Cases
1,78,831 733Active
3,34,95,808 17,561Recovered
4,52,811 160Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,27,450 confirmed cases including 4,52,811 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,78,831 and 3,34,95,808 have recovered as on October 21, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,96,645 1,825

29,333 1,075

64,27,426 2,879

1,39,886 21

Kerala

48,79,790 11,150

83,333 2,476

47,69,373 8,592

27,084 82

Karnataka

29,84,484 462

9,103 26

29,37,405 479

37,976 9

Tamil Nadu

26,90,633 1,170

14,058 268

26,40,627 1,418

35,948 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,61,810 523

5,566 88

20,41,924 608

14,320 3

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,058 11

112 6

16,87,048 17

22,898

West Bengal

15,82,813 867

7,491 63

15,56,315 795

19,007 9

Delhi

14,39,466 25

310 12

14,14,066 37

25,090

Odisha

10,36,532 559

4,387 106

10,23,849 451

8,296 2

Chhattisgarh

10,05,735 34

185 3

9,91,979 36

13,571 1

Rajasthan

9,54,393 1

38 0

9,45,401 1

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,340 14

176 9

8,16,077 22

10,087 1

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,709 9

82 3

7,82,104 6

10,523

Haryana

7,71,116 15

133 7

7,60,934 8

10,049

Bihar

7,26,036 3

30 12

7,16,345 15

9,661

Telangana

6,69,556 191

3,968 28

6,61,646 162

3,942 1

Assam

6,07,427 308

3,610 25

5,97,859 282

5,958 1

Punjab

6,02,113 32

232 16

5,85,331 15

16,550 1

Jharkhand

3,48,486 25

142 14

3,43,209 11

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,773 8

176 1

3,36,199 6

7,398 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,299 78

800 3

3,26,070 80

4,429 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,936 110

1,394 46

2,16,815 64

3,727

Goa

1,77,706 47

597 23

1,73,755 70

3,354

Puducherry

1,27,521 42

461 29

1,25,208 71

1,852

Manipur

1,22,970 71

1,360 2

1,19,706 66

1,904 3

Mizoram

1,15,207 741

10,263 505

1,04,548 1,243

396 3

Tripura

84,351 2

95 7

83,440 9

816

Meghalaya

83,158 79

761 21

80,958 58

1,439

Chandigarh

65,312 2

24 1

64,468 3

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,043 12

138 7

54,625 19

280

Sikkim

31,800 17

175 6

31,232 22

393 1

Nagaland

31,659 18

255 8

30,728 10

676

Ladakh

20,886 3

34 0

20,644 3

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,676

2 2

10,670 2

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,646

7 1

7,510 1

129

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