Published By: Shriparna

WHO recommendations: Strengthen your Immune System

Preventing the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19 is one of the biggest fears the world is facing now. Even when vaccines are round the corner, one must pay attention to nutrition needs of the body, particularly in times when life needs to get back on tracks, and the immune system might need to fight back.

Here are some of the WHO recommended nutrition and diet hacks to improve immunity.

  1. Eat a healthy balanced diet, a mix of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains like wheat, maize and rice and legumes such as beans and lentils. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and instead drink a lot of water to limit your sugar intake and excess calories.
  2. It is advisable to avoid processed food. Instead, use fresh ingredients and those that have a shorter shelf life first. Prioritize on consuming vegetables and reduced-fat dairy products over non-perishables.
  3. If you are a subscriber on app-based fruits, veggies groceries delivery service, let it know to your delivery partner that it is essential to keep food at safe temperatures, i.e. below 5 °C or above 60 °C.
  4. World Health Organization recommends consuming less than 5 g of salt every day. Avoid adding extra salt when cooking and to your meals at the table. Replace salt with garlic or dried herbs and spices for added flavour.
  5. WHO recommends less than 5% of total energy intake for adults should come from free sugars. So if you crave something sweet, fresh fruit should always be all in your mind.
  6. According to WHO health advisory, your fat intake should be less than 30% of total energy intake, of which a maximum 10% should come from saturated fat. To achieve this, avoid deep-frying food. Instead switch to steaming, grilling or sautéing.
  7. Include healthy sources of unsaturated fats, such as seeds and nuts to your diet. Reduce foods such as red meat, coconut oil, palm oil, butter and full-fat dairy products, solid shortening and lard.
  8. Fibre betters your gut health and offers a prolonged feeling of fullness, which helps prevent overeating. Vegetables, fruit, pulses and wholegrain foods like oats, rice, brown pasta and quinoa, whole-wheat bread are a good source of fibre.
For patients fighting COVID-19, the diet may differ from the ones who are self-quarantining to stay clear from contracting the disease. Experts suggest optimal nutrition is required, which is a combination of micronutrients like minerals and vitamins and macronutrients like carbohydrates and proteins. Care-givers must also learn by asking the doctors or nutritionists about how to incorporate all kinds of nutrition in a limited number of meals as they tend to lose appetite.