The foods that we put in our mouths are just as crucial as hand washing in helping prevent coronavirus infection. Apparently, what we eat can help boost the immune system and ward off the deadly disease that is COVID-19.
The National Institute of Nutrition recommends eating a balanced diet amid the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that the human body has the right defenses against the novel coronavirus. But what is a balanced diet and how do we know if what we are eating helps boost our immune system?
According to the agency, a balanced diet is one that mainly includes nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, cereals and pulses. The vitamins and minerals or micronutrients present in these food items enhance both the body’s innate and adaptive immune function against infections.
Micronutrients also play an important role in forming immune memory, which helps prevent reinfection of the same type of pathogen. As such, the human body can readily combat seasonal diseases with the right kind of diet and healthy lifestyle.
As to which fruits and vegetables to eat during and even after the pandemic, health officials recommended all seasonal vegetables, especially the green leafy ones, spices, legumes, millets and fruits like apple, papaya, mango, guava, oranges, lemons, tangerines, grapes and gooseberries.
During this difficult time, officials also warned against consuming lost of highly processed foods. Drinking fruit juices and carbonated drinks is also strongly discouraged. The idea is to eat healthy to stay healthy and lower the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that people who are at a higher risk of suffering from the severe form of COVID-19 are those with poor immunity. People who are 65 years old and above and those with underlying medical conditions are the most at risk of contracting the deadly virus.
However, there have been reported cases of the coronavirus infecting younger people, including kids. Although a study found that only a small percentage of children could develop the severe form of COVID-19, this already means that everyone is not safe from the virus and it is up to us to protect ourselves. Eating a balanced diet provides ample protection against the virus.