Nutrition and COVID-19: Q & A | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 06, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 06, 2021

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Nutrition and COVID-19: Q & A

Recently, there has been a surge in the number of patients infected with the novel Corona virus. Proper diet is one tool for building the body's strength against the disease. Here, we present some of the frequently asked questions, and their answers, regarding the role of diet in fighting COVID-19.

There has been much talk about nutrition as a defence mechanism to reduce the chances of contracting the Corona virus. How important is a change in our dietary intake in order to fight the virus?

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The Corona virus is an unpredictable enemy for all of us, but it's been proven that a good immune system can save us from any viral or bacterial infection. So, especially in this pandemic, our utmost effort should be towards strengthening our immune system.

To boost up the immune system the utmost need is to enrich the diet with vit C (guava, citrus fruits, amloki, bitter guard, etc), zinc (spinach, beef, nuts, milk, and milk products), vit D3 (sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes from 10 am to 3 pm), anti-oxidants (colourful fruits and vegetables), selenium, magnesium, etc.

Why hydration is considered so important?

Hydration is key in regulating body temperature. Staying hydrated also means healthy membranes. When we cough, sneeze or just breathe, membranes in our nose and mouth eliminate bacteria. Moisture helps heal the broken membrane, so additional organisms can't enter the body. And also, we need to replace our body fluid loss to make the respiratory secretion thin.

The Corona crisis has led people to unprecedented financial hardships. What would be your suggestion for people to include in their diet at an affordable price?  

Right at this moment not just for economic crisis, even for those who do not want to go to the grocery shop to maintain physical distancing can depend upon sprouted Bengal gram for a rich source of vitamin C.

We can prepare khichuri (the mixture of pulses and rice) as a source of first-class proteins. We should depend upon seasonal colourful vegetables as rich sources of vitamins and minerals.

What should be included in the diet of those who have unfortunately contracted the Corona virus? Should the diet change as they recover?

COVID-19 positive patients must have a high protein diet to make the immune system stable, as well as to stop the catabolism. Also as per WHO guidelines, they need to intake minimum 2.5 lit fluid and fresh, healthy vitamin enriched foods. There is a need to restrict consumption of raw sugar, and to include at least 5 servings of vegetables and 4 servings of fruits per day.

Black cumin, ginger, honey, and turmeric have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, so can be included in the diet as well.

Lastly, can diet alone help prevent Covid-19?

No, diet alone cannot fight against the Corona virus. Proper and balanced amount of exercise, sound mental health and to maintain all the protocols of hygiene and physical distancing are essential.

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