Covid-19, the most discussed issue of year 2020 in the entire world. But along with this adjective to Covid-19, one more adjective added is fear amongst mankind, fear of getting ill and lastly fear of corona. But humanity has overcome fear many times with its fighting spirit. Now this time the enemy is a virus affected disease and to fight it back our most important weapon is boosting our own immunity and looking after our nutrition during covid 19.
But before that the basic points which we need to keep in mind are:-
Social distancing : As we all know, the best way of prevention from Covid-19 infection is maintaining 2 metre distance with each other.
Sanitization : We should keep washing our hands with soap and alcohol based sanitizers.
Habit of conscious touching and wearing a mask : Whenever we are somewhere outside home, we should avoid touching our own eyes and nose as we do not know whether we have come in contact with coronavirus affected fomite or not. It is difficult to judge that with naked eyes. Hence, it is safe we carry a habit of consciously not touching the nose and eyes.
Ignoring myths and relive stress: The biggest myth in this genre is that it is a air-borne disease. But this is a myth, I have already mentioned that, corona virus can only be transmitted if you come in contact with an affected person or come inside 2 metre diameter of an affected individual. So do not be stressed by this kind of myths.
Nutrition during Covid-19
Covid-19 infection is a type of respiratory illness with symptoms similar to that of SARS. In normal medical terms, these symptoms come under Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). But nowadays we are also getting patients who are asymptomatic. As we know this disease is caused by a virus nCov-19, and no vaccine has yet been invented to cure the disease, hence the mainstay of treatment in treating the symptoms/probable symptoms individually.
Now coming towards the dietary norms, the primary initiative should be boosting our immunity for prevention from this respiratory illness. In technical terms, the non protein calories ratio should be 1:1 as per WHO guidelines.. Now let me explain this in common terms. our diet consists of macronutrients and micronutrients. Macro nutrients are those whose required dietary allowance is more than 100mg per day, e.g. Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat.
Micro nutrients are those whose required dietary allowance is less than 100mg per day, e.g. Vitamins and Minerals. We get our calories mainly from macronutrients and the required dietary allowance for sedentary male is 2320 kcal and for sedentary females is 1900 kcal, as per ICMR RDA chart 2010.
Proteins are required to combat any kind of infection causing virus, hence, it is mandatory that we allow protein to do its work rather than get energy from it. The remaining calorie givers are carbohydrate and fat. Carbohydrate and fat provides us with the non protein calories and the ratio of carbohydrate:fat should be 1:1.
Low fat diet is not required and excessive fat intake would hamper metabolism, hence, moderate fat, moderate carbohydrate and high protein diet is normally prescribed for a person to stay fit during this pandemic situation to fulfil the nutritive requirements of nutrition during Covid-19. Milk fat is a good source of fat in this case, hence, unlike normal days double toned milk can be replaced with cow’s milk, which has a high amount of fats in it. Simple carbohydrates are mostly preferred for better digestion.
As said earlier, boosting immunity is a major duty to keep us healthy. But a myth which is circulated all around is drinking water and honey on an empty stomach helps build immunity and also helps in losing weight. But this statement is completely wrong . Honey when taken on an empty stomach produces certain toxins which are harmful for our health and serves as poisons. Honey nowadays contains added sugar which increases the Glycemic Load and can never be included inside the weight loss regime.
Now if we divide the dietary management according to meals, it goes as follows :-
Normal household breakfast should be incorporated which may include bread and butter or chapati and vegetables or wheat flakes or cornflakes with milk and an egg/egg white. This is a complete high protein breakfast meal. I prefer prescribing wheat flakes over cornflakes more due to its fiber content but of course cornflakes are not at all restricted. I would rather restrict muesli as it contains dried fruits and berries which are additionally sweetened by dipping into sugar syrup which in turn increases the sugar content to enhance taste.
But this extra sugar is not required in our body. The wheat flakes or cornflakes should be the normal category one and not the one which are promoted for having the effect of weight loss. We should eat normal butter and not margarine, as margarine contains trans fat which is harmful for our body.
During mid morning, one should have any local fruit which is freshly available. It may be banana or ripe papaya or guava or mango or orange. Orange is the best one that can be taken as it is a rich source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and is an immunity booster. Banana contains Calcium and Chromium which also boosts immunity very much, but in case of people with diabetes mellitus, it is preferred that bananas should be avoided.
All fruits are also good sources of Vitamin A which is required for proper immunity build up. Along with fruits, coconut water or daab water should be incorporated during this time as we need to dehydrate our body in this situation. Coconut water or daab water should not be taken, if you are having kidney problems or potassium is restricted from your diet. In such cases, tomato soup can be substituted in place of coconut water or daab water.
This meal should be a normal one with rice, pulses, vegetables, fish or chicken or soybean, chutney and fruits raita. Vegetables and fruits can be taken in ample amounts with no limitations. We should not buy local soyabean nuggets, rather it is preferable that we buy the packaged ones because soybean lacks a specific amino acid and packaged soyabean nuggets are fortified with this specific amino acid which is required by our body.
Chutney needs to be incorporated as the fruits required for chutney contain citric acid, tartaric acid and malic acid (in case of apple). Sugar can be added to this chutney because as we are having chutney along with so many other foods, the glycemic load neutralises when calculated for the whole meal.
Tea is a mandatory item in every household during this time of the day. We also suggest having tea during the evening. but the only point that needs to be noted is one should have liquor tea with no milk. Tea contains flavonoids which help in boosting immunity, but when milk is mixed to it, all the factors diminishes leaving no nutritive impact.
The amounts are similar to that of lunch. It includes rice or chapati, pulses, vegetables, soybean curry and chutney. Green leafy vegetables should not be incorporated at dinner as it contains resistant starch which will be difficult to digest at night.
Some more points
- Washing of vegetables and all raw foods should be done thoroughly.
- No salad needs to be incorporated in the meal as cooked food is preferred at this point time.
- Vegetables and fruits can be washed in diluted hydrogen peroxide or chlorine or simply liquid soap and then again washed under running water to make it fomite free.
- Water tank of the household needs to be cleaned frequently because in this season a new type of issue has started which is catalyzing fungus growth in water containers making it unhealthy. This is leading to gastrointestinal problems which can not be afforded now.
- Unlike normal times, raw rice needs to be washed thoroughly and the water needs to be drained out. Draining away the water increases the loss of Vitamin B, but in this scenario hygienic food is preferred more.
Generalised Diet Plan
|BREAKFAST||BREAD (3-4 PCS) / WHEAT FLAKES (75 GM) / CORNFLAKES (75 GM)|
BUTTER (5-10 GMS)
MILK (250 GMS)
EGG / EGG WHITE (1 PC)
|MID MORNING||FRUITS (250 GMS)|
DAAB WATER / COCONUT WATER / TOMATO SOUP
|LUNCH||RICE (75 GMS) / CHAPATI (3 PCS)|
PULSES (20 GMS)
VEGETABLES (250 GMS)
FISH (65 GMS) / CHICKEN (65 GMS)
|EVENING SNACKS||LIQUOR TEA WITHOUT MILK|
|DINNER||RICE (75 GMS) / CHAPATI (3 PCS)|
PULSES (20 GMS)
VEGETABLES (250 GMS)
SOYBEAN (25 GMS)
By keeping the above points in mind we will surely be able to combat with this devil named corona virus. It is food which can definitely save out health as there is no specific medication for this. This is to be noted that the diet plan is a generalized one and specific diet plans need special calculation according to the persons vitals and underlying comorbities. It is preferred that if you want a specific diet plan, you can always come up to me for a customized one. The links for the same is given below.
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