MANAGEMENT OF DIET DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Ideas to help your family maintain a nutritious diet

The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is causing many changes in the daily lives of people around the world, but some things can be done to maintain a healthy lifestyle in these difficult times by taking a proper diet during COVID19 pandemic. It is difficult to follow any of the physical activities during the lockdown period, as successfully as before. This inertia may lead to indigestion and related health issues. The proper diet planning is an utmost aspect which includes the food habits, nutrition, wholesome diet, low-calorie diet healthy diet, dietary measures include various things like the type of diet, time to consume, the interval between two food, intake of food, nutritional values, proper calorie intake. Sleep is an essential component of healthy living. There is a strong relationship between the gut and the mind. Proper sleep is vital to digest the food and enhance immunity in the lockdown period.

There are various food ingredients which are available in our kitchen only and with the help of this, we can make tasty and nutritious food. For example, like lemon, ghee, dates, ginger, cumin seeds, milk etc.

Role of the diet, which increases body immunity

Food Habits: One has to ensure that getting a wide range of nutrients, the three nutrients that should include are Vitamin A (found in sweet potato and spinach), Vitamin C (found in berries, tomatoes and peppers) and also zinc (found in dairy products).

General food items which increase body immunity

Nutritive and and low-calorie diet: A healthy diet comprises a combination of different type of foods. These include staples like cereals (wheat, barley, rye, maize or rice) or starchy tubers or roots (potato, yam, taro or cassava), legumes (lentils and beans), fruit and vegetables, foods from animal sources (milk). Not only in this COVID-19 pandemic time but also every day we should eat food which is full of nutrition. Addition of sprouts, salad, leafy vegetables will keep us fit and fine

How to plan a diet for COVID-19 patients? 

Healthy diet in adults: 

  • Reducing the amount of total fat intake to less than 30% of total energy intake helps to prevent unhealthy weight gain. Butter, lard and ghee should be replaced with oils rich in polyunsaturated fats, such as soybean, canola (rapeseed), corn and safflower and sunflower oils. Eating reduced-fat dairy foods and lean meats, or trimming visible fat from meat
  • Salt intake can be reduced by limiting the amount of salt and high-sodium condiments (e.g. soy sauce, fish sauce and bouillon) when cooking and preparing foods. 
  • Sugar intake should be less than 10% of total energy intake would provide additional health benefits.
  • Excess calories from foods and drinks high in free sugars contribute to weight gain, which can lead to overweight and obesity. Reduction in free sugars intake reduces risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
  • Increase the intake of liquids about 6 – 7litres per day such as coconut water, buttermilk, lemon water etc.

Infants

In the first 2 years of a child’s life, optimal nutrition fosters healthy growth and improves cognitive development. It also reduces the risk of becoming overweight or obese. Advice on a healthy diet for infants and children is similar to that for adults, but the following elements are also important: 

  • Infants should be breastfed exclusively during the first 6 months of life.
  • Infants should be breastfed continuously until 2 years of age and beyond. 
  • From 6 months of age, breast milk should be complemented with a variety of adequate, safe and nutrient-dense foods. Salt and sugars should not be added to complementary foods.

Conclusion

In COVID-19 pandemic, the people should focus on food habits and take healthy nutritive low-calorie food which can be easily digested with minimum efforts. Proper diet care helps to improve immunity, due to which everyone will be able to fight against virus and enhance the quality of life.

VKML Sulakshana Naidu

Dietitian

OMNI Hospitals, Visakhapatnam

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