Kolkata, Apr 21: Eating a healthy diet 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,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While no foods or dietary supplements can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection, healthy diets are important for supporting immune systems.
Good nutrition can also reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.
For young children, a healthy and balanced diet is essential for growth and development. For older people, it can help to ensure healthier and more active lives.
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, it’s always important to practice good hygiene when handling food to prevent any food-borne illnesses.
As countries are taking stronger measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, self-quarantine and the temporary closing of businesses may affect normal food-related practices. Healthy individuals, as well as those showing acute respiratory disease symptoms, are being requested to stay at home.
In some countries, restaurants and take-away offers are being limited and some fresh items are becoming less available. Good nutrition is crucial for health, particularly in times when the immune system might need to fight back. Limited access to fresh foods may compromise opportunities to continue eating a healthy and varied diet, WHO said It can also potentially lead to an increased consumption of highly processed foods, which tend to be high in fats, sugars and salt. Nonetheless, even with few and limited ingredients, one can continue eating a diet that supports good health.
Replace butter, ghee and lard with healthier fats like olive, soy, sunflower or corn oil when cooking. The availability of fresh foods may decrease and it may therefore become necessary to rely more on canned, frozen or processed foods. Many of these foods contain high levels of salt. WHO recommends consuming less than 5 g of salt per day. In order to achieve this, prioritize foods with reduced or no added salt.
WHO recommends that ideally less than 5% of total energy intake for adults should come from free sugars (about 6 teaspoons). If you crave something sweet, fresh fruit should always be the priority. Frozen fruits, canned fruits in juice rather than syrup, and dried fruits with no added sugar are also good options. (UNI)