Basically put, there are no foods that will “boost” our immune systems and prevent or cure COVID-19. However, eating a balanced and healthy diet is still essential for good health and normal immune function. Therefore, following the dietary guidelines of your country remains the recommended way to satisfy nutritional needs and stay healthy during quarantine(isolation). Here we are going to speak about the principles of a healthy diet during the quarantine.
1. Eat Lots of Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are one of the most important foods for the supply of vitamins, minerals, and fibers necessary for good health and normal immune function of our body.
We must aim to eat at least 5 servings (equivalent to about 400 g) of fruits and vegetables per day. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and juice (maximum 1 serving per day), all versions count as one serving.
Since differently colored fruits and vegetables provide different combinations of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, try to add different fruits and vegetables to your daily meals whenever possible.
2. Choose Whole Grains Instead of Refined Grains
Whole grains, unlike refined grains(seeds), maintain most of the grain structure, preserving layers that contain vitamins, minerals, and fibers. In addition, whole grains also represent an important source of carbohydrates that give us energy and can help us feel fuller for longer periods.
3. Substitute Saturated Fats with Unsaturated Fats
Fats represent an important portion of a healthy diet. However, not all fats(body fat) have the same effect on our health. Substituting saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help reduce our LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. And thus decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. We can do this by dropping our intake of foods like fatty meats, high-fat dairy products, and tropical oils like coconut and adding foods like nuts, fatty fish, and vegetable oils like olive and rapeseed.
4. Limit the Consumption of Foods Rich in Fat, Sugar or Salt
When eaten in large quantities, foods and beverages that are high in fat, sugar, and salts, such as cookies, chips, chocolate, and sugary drinks, can lead us to consume more calories than we need. Because these foods often provide little nutritional benefit, they are not necessary for a healthy diet and should only be eaten occasionally in small amounts.
5. Control Portion Sizes
Obtaining the correct portion sizes can be difficult, especially when cooking at home. It seems that understanding the correct portions can help us maintain energy balance and avoid overeating or under-eating. The portion sizes change depending on the type of Food. Be careful, children’s portions should be smaller!
6. Choose Vegetable and Animal Proteins
Protein is important for the healthy functioning of our body and immune system. Protein sources can be of animal or plant origins, such as beans, legumes, fish, eggs, dairy products, and meat. Our protein requirement depends on our stage of life. It is recommended that adults consume at least 0.83 g of the protein per kilogram in body weight per day. Which is equivalent to 58 g / day for a 70 kg adult. We must choose protein-rich foods that not only help us meet our needs but also support a healthy and sustainable diet.
If you have limited access to fresh fish and meat, frozen and canned options also represent convenient and nutritious alternatives. However, since the fat and salt content can be high in canned meats and fish, it is important to check the label and choose low fat and salt varieties. Plant-based proteins such as legumes, cereals, nuts, and seeds have a long shelf life and can provide protein-rich meals or snacks.
7. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential for overall health. The amount of water we need depends on our age, sex, weight, height, level of physical activity, and environmental conditions (that is, in hot weather, you probably have to drink extra water). Taking into account that about 20-30% of the water we need comes from our food.
If you have access to safe drinking water, this is the cheapest and healthiest drink. For a refreshing boost, you can add lemon, cucumber, mint, or berry slices. Other beverages like coffee without sugar, soda, water, tea unsweetened iced tea, or unsweetened water, infused or flavored, are also good choices for hydration.
8. Get your Dosage of Vitamin D in Isolation(quarantine)
Sun is the greatest source of vitamin D, but during quarantine or self-isolation, it can be more difficult to get enough sun exposure to meet our needs. Therefore, it is recommended that people who cannot go out consume many foods rich in vitamin D and consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement. The recommended intake of vitamin D by age:
- 15 µg / day for adults(grown person) (18+ years), children (1-17 years) and pregnant people
- 10 µg / day for an infant (7 – 11 months)
- 10 µg / day for infants (0 – 7 months)
If you are self-insulating and have access to an open window, garden, or balcony, then short periods (15-30 minutes) of daily sun exposure of your arms and face without sun protection can help you meet your daily vitamin D needs. However, we cannot forget that for good sun protection, we must avoid exposure to the sun without protection for more than 30 minutes.
9. Stay Safe when you Buy Food
Grocery stores remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic(Quarantine) , and there is no need to store Food as the food supply to stores(shops) remains stable.
The risk(threat) of contracting COVID-19 from touching contaminated food containers is very low. And this form of infection has not been reported. In stores, the greatest risk of contamination remains from contact with other people and “high touch” surfaces such as weigh scales, shopping cart handles, or elevator buttons, although many stores are taking steps to disinfect these surfaces. Therefore, we must keep an adequate distance from other people , avoid touching our faces while shopping, and wash our hands both after returning home and after handling newly purchased food containers.
10. Don’t Forget About Food Security
There is no evidence that Food can be the transmission route of COVID-19. However, good food safety practices are vital to minimize the risk of Foodborne illness.
- During food preparation and handling, make sure:
- Wash hands at least 20 seconds with soap before and after food preparation or consumption in quarantine
- Cover(protect) your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and then don’t forget to wash your hands
- Wash fruits and vegetables with water before consuming them
- Disinfect surface and objects before and after use
- Keep cooked and raw foods separate to avoid contamination of ready-to-eat foods
- Use different utensils/cutting boards for raw and cooked food to avoid cross-contamination
- Cook and reheat Food to suitable temperatures (≥72 ° C for 2 minutes)
Also Read: The Best Foods To Increase Platelets
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