One of the keys to staying healthy is to eat a well-balanced diet. Though no studies have been conducted to determine the best dietary habits to protect against Coronavirus, we do know that certain foods promote a healthy and resistant immune system.
The dietary recommendations below will not cure you of COVID-19, nor will they prevent you from becoming infected. However, the beneficial effects they can have on the immune system are critical when it comes to preventing and fighting viruses. At the same time, there are some foods that should be avoided.
Make good use of ingredients by prioritizing fresh products
Fresh ingredients and those with a shorter shelf life should be used first. Prioritize fresh products over non-perishables if fresh products, particularly fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, remain available. Frozen fruits and vegetables can also be stored for longer periods of time and have nutrient profiles that are similar to fresh foods. To avoid food waste, consider freezing any leftovers for later use.
Limit your salt intake
Fresh food availability may decrease, necessitating a greater reliance on canned, frozen, or processed foods. Many of these foods are high in sodium. WHO recommends consuming less than 5 g of salt per day. Prioritize foods with little or no added salt to achieve this. You could also rinse canned foods like vegetables and beans to remove some of the excess sodium. Pickled foods, on the other hand, frequently contain high levels of sodium. In many countries, the foods we eat contain 50–75 percent of the salt we consume, rather than what we add ourselves. Given that you may already be consuming enough salt, avoid adding extra salt when cooking and at the table. Instead, experiment with fresh or dried herbs and spices to add flavor.
Limit your sugar intake
According to WHO, adults should consume no more than 5% of their total energy intake from free sugars (about 6 teaspoons). If you're craving something sweet, fresh fruit should always be your first choice. Fruits that have been frozen, canned in juice rather than syrup, and dried fruits with no added sugar are also good options. When choosing other dessert options, make sure they are low in sugar and that you eat small portions. Low-fat options should be avoided because they are often high in added sugars. Limit the amount of sugar or honey added to foods and avoid adding sugar to beverages.
Limit your fat intake
WHO recommends limiting total fat intake to less than 30% of total energy intake, with saturated fat accounting for no more than 10%. To accomplish this, instead of frying foods, use cooking methods that require less or no fat, such as steaming, grilling, or sautéing. To cook foods, use small amounts of unsaturated oils such as rapeseed, olive, or sunflower oil as needed. Choose foods that are high in unsaturated fats, such as fish and nuts. Trim excess fat from meat and poultry and choose skinless options to limit saturated fats. Avoid red and fatty meats, coconut oil, butter, and full-fat dairy products.
Trans fats should be avoided to the greatest extent possible. Check nutrition labels to make sure partially hydrogenated oils aren't listed as an ingredient. If you don't have access to food labels, avoid processed and fried foods like doughnuts and baked goods – including biscuits, pie crusts, frozen pizzas, cookies, crackers, and margarine that contain partially hydrogenated fat. When in doubt, choose minimally processed foods and ingredients.
Consume enough fiber
Fiber promotes a healthy digestive system and provides a longer feeling of fullness, which aids in the prevention of overeating. To get enough fiber, include vegetables, fruit, pulses, and wholegrain foods in all of your meals. Oats, brown pasta and rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread and wraps are examples of wholegrain foods, as opposed to refined grain foods like white pasta and rice and white bread.
Hydration is essential for good health. Tap water is the healthiest and cheapest drink when it is available and safe to drink. It is also the most environmentally friendly, as it generates no waste when compared to bottled water. Drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages is a simple way to reduce your sugar and calorie intake. Fresh or frozen fruits such as berries or citrus fruit slices, as well as cucumber or herbs such as mint, lavender, or rosemary, can be added to enhance the flavor.
Drinking a lot of strong coffee, tea, and especially caffeinated soft drinks and energy drinks is not a good idea. These can cause dehydration and have a negative impact on your sleeping pattern.
The World Health Organization recommends consuming at least 400 g (five servings) of fruits and vegetables per day. Citrus fruits such as oranges, clementines, and grapefruit are excellent choices, as are bananas and apples, which can be cut into smaller pieces and frozen for later consumption or to add to smoothies. Carrots, turnips, and beets, as well as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, are nonperishable root vegetables. Garlic, ginger, and onions are also good to have on hand because they can be used to flavor a variety of dishes.
Wholegrain rice and pasta, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, and other unrefined whole grains are excellent foods because they have a long shelf life, are simple to prepare, and contribute to fiber intake. Bread can be frozen for later use, preferably in slices for easier defrosting, to prolong its freshness.
Starchy roots such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cassava are also high in carbohydrates and have a long shelf life. These are best baked, boiled, or steamed. Keep the skins on for added fiber and flavor.
These, especially if unsalted and unsweetened, can be used as healthy snacks or added to porridge, salads, and other meals. Nut butter and spreads are also good choices, as long as they are 100 percent nut butter with no added sugar, salt, or partially hydrogenated or palm oils.
Eggs are a high-protein, nutrient-dense food that can be used in a variety of ways. Instead of frying, try boiling or poaching.
Although fresh or frozen vegetables are typically preferred, canned vegetables such as mushrooms, spinach, peas, tomatoes, and green beans are good alternatives with a longer shelf life to ensure adequate vegetable intake. Remember to select options with wit whenever possible.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
It is also critical to remember to eat healthily and stay hydrated in order to maintain optimal health. Water is recommended by the World Health Organization as an alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages. Adults should limit or avoid alcoholic beverages, while children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people with other health issues should abstain entirely.
There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food or food packaging. COVID-19 is thought to be transmitted from person to person. To avoid food-borne illnesses, it is always important to practice good hygiene when handling food.
Wash fruits and vegetables as you would in any other situation. Wash your hands properly using soap or hand wash and water before handling them. Then, especially if you eat raw fruits and vegetables, thoroughly wash them with clean water.
Eat a variety of foods every day, including whole grains like wheat, maize, and rice, legumes like lentils and beans, fruits and vegetables, and some animal products (e.g. meat, fish, eggs, and milk).
There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food or food packaging. COVID-19 is thought to be transmitted from person to person. To avoid food-borne illnesses, it is always important to practice good hygiene when handling food.