New Delhi: World Health Organisation states that eating a healthy diet is very important during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also states that what we eat, and drink can affect our body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections.
Time and again experts have also highlighted the importance of having a nutritious diet in COVID-19 times. WHO says while no foods or dietary supplements can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection, healthy diets are important for supporting immune systems. Here are some of the tips suggested by World Health Organisation for maintaining a healthy diet at home:
- Ensure you eat a variety of food, including fruits and vegetables: WHO says that every day, one should 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 like meat, fish, eggs and milk. One should choose wholegrain foods like unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice when they can; they are rich in valuable fibre and can help you feel full for longer. For snacks, choose raw vegetables, fresh fruit, and unsalted nuts.
- Cut back on salt: As per WHO, one should limit their salt intake to 5 grams (equivalent to a teaspoon) a day. One of the basic tips one should follow while cooking and preparing foods is use salt sparingly and reduce use of salty sauces and condiments (like soy sauce, stock or fish sauce). Another is to remove the salt shaker from the table, and experiment with fresh or dried herbs and spices for added flavor instead.
- Eat moderate amounts of fats and oils: WHO states that one should replace butter, ghee and lard with healthier fats like olive, soy, sunflower or corn oil when cooking. Secondly, choose white meats like poultry and fish which are generally lower in fats than red meat. Select low-fat or reduced-fat versions of milk and dairy products. Avoid processed, baked and fried foods that contain industrially produced trans-fat. Lastly, if possible, one should try steaming or boiling instead of frying food when cooking.
- Limit sugar intake: Limit intake of sweets and sugary drinks such as fizzy drinks, instead choose fresh fruits. Ditch sweet snacks such as cookies, cakes and chocolate. When dessert options are chosen, ensure that they are low in sugar and consume small portions.
- Stay hydrated: 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.
- Avoid hazardous and harmful alcohol use: Alcohol is not a part of a healthy diet. Drinking alcohol does not protect against COVID-19 and can be dangerous. Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption increases your immediate risk of injury, as well as causing longer-term effects like liver damage, cancer, heart disease and mental illness. There is no safe level of alcohol consumption.
Tips for Food Safety during COVID-19
WHO says that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through contact with food or food packaging? COVID-19 is generally thought to be spread from person to person. However, WHO states that it’s always important to practice good hygiene when handling food. Here are WHO’s Five keys to safer food:
1. Keep clean
2. Separate raw and cooked
3. Cook thoroughly
4. Keep food at safe temperatures
5. Use safe water and raw materials
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.