The food we eat gives us the body the energy to fight infections. So we should consume foods that provide nutrients that nourish our body. Nutrition is the cornerstone for a strong immune system that has to fight back the infection. When you are in quarantine, you won’t be able to access fresh ingredients and the thought of preparing meals may not please you. But not eating isn’t an option, even if your taste buds aren’t working. If you are losing weight, it means you aren’t eating enough meals so make an effort to have one. Here are some foods to be taken at the time of self-quarantine:
1. Don’t quit on carbs: Our body needs adequate energy intake. Carb-rich foods items provide energy, that includes whole grains, vegetables, dairy and legumes. Taking whole grains is good for health, but it is even more essential for COVID patients because this infection is associated with oxidative stress like no other. Whole grains are rich sources of antioxidants, in addition to that millets also bring a lot of phytonutrients to our meals. Make simple whole-grain rotis, boil some brown rice, choose oat-based muesli or put a quinoa salad together. Whole grains are also rich in energy and keep the body energized for longer. Steroids tend to push up sugars, whole grains balance out the blood sugars well.
2. Eat more protein: Proteins are said to be the building blocks of our body. To support the integrity of our lung tissue, our immune system has to be healthy – and for both proteins are very essential. Dals are the simplest way to add proteins to our meals. Whole dals are also very rich in Phytonutrients that will give additional antioxidant support. Eggs are A-class protein sources like chicken and mutton, but these should be freshly frozen not processed.
3. Choose Healthy Fats: This is not the time to abhor fats. Oils and fats add real energy. Do not fry or add too much to the food but a little extra oil content will help fuel the body. Put a little ghee on the chapati, add a nice tadka to the dal, try nut butter to have a healthy sandwich.
4. Milk and Dairy: It is the all in one food that also add antioxidant phytonutrients. An intake of 600mls/ day is a must. Milk is a warm fluid that nourishes and calms a sore throat. Dahi or Yogurt is also essential. All those medicines disturb digestion, so a natural probiotic is the safest way to protect the gut. With a sore throat and cough being the most common symptom of COVID, people are a little careful of eating dahi but do take it at room temperature and if you feel uncomfortable then keep it for your lunch and may avoid it in dinner.
5. Fruits and vegetables: This is something that you must take in maximum quantity. Choose as colourful fruits and vegetables as possible. Each colour adds a unique antioxidant that is healthy for our body. It adds fibre and lots of vitamins, minerals that are crucial for our immune system, they also keep us hydrated, and vitamins help fight the infection. Vitamin C, as we know is one of the most crucial nutrients for lung health. In addition to citrus fruits, Papaya, tomatoes, Kiwi, Mango are all excellent sources of this Vitamin.
6. Nuts and seeds, dry fruits: These tiny wonders of nature are packed with healthy fats, complex carbs, antioxidants and proteins. Your go-to snack should be almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and raisin mixture.
7. Fluids: Keep your body hydrated always. Have adequate water, fresh coconut water, chaas, and warm infusions of spices like Cinnamon, Ajwain, Saunf, Giloy sticks, Ginger. You can make them in various combinations and if your blood sugars are normal then you can add honey to them. Broths and soups will also soothe the throat.
Avoid these items:
- Packaged food, ready to cook ready to eat food as this is customarily high in salt and spices and may not give the same nutriment as fresh food.
- Unnecessary intake of sugary drinks. These nutrient-free drinks add to oxidative stress and fill up the stomach without providing nourishment. Excessive sugar intake is also not too good for gut health.
- No alcohol never mix alcohol with medication. Alcohol also weakens the immune system. It may be good for killing the virus on surfaces, but it does not protect against COVID.
- Healthy food is the cornerstone for rapid recovery and blunting the effect of any illness. Remember, to fight COVID, the medicines work better and faster in a healthy body.