Introduction: COVID-19 outbreak: Dear friends, I hope you all are well during these crucial days. As you know, the entire world has been suffering from the novel coronavirus issue. As on 13th April, 10.50 GMT, 1,14,980 (source-world meters) people already died all across from China, Italy, the USA, Britain, Spain, France, and other countries including India. As per WHO guidelines and subsequent implementation of the national health authority of the respective country, everyone should be at home to keep safe distancing from others to avoid infections through COVID-19. It is our moral responsibility that we must not spread the infections among others directly or indirectly. We should avoid all social distancing, gatherings and keep away from sick people mainly who are suffering from flu/influenza and who have recent travel history from the respective infected countries. For taking care of the already ill and infected persons & their treatment, our valuable doctors, nurses, medical workers are working day in and day out. Washing hands frequently with soap (sanitizer if available), proper diet and some exercises are the best way to be fit during these days. Protecting yourself means protecting the community and the entire society.
To fight against coronavirus, we all need some critical practice during these locked down days:
Right nutrition: Proper nutrition and enough water are mandatory during the COVID-19 outbreak undoubtedly. For some persons, this could be a severe infectious disease; so a person must have to maintain good health and immunity to protect against this deadly virus.
In the world, the various communities are already attacked by other viruses-infected diseases:
1. Chikungunya 2. Cholera 3. Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever 4. Ebola virus disease 5. Hendra virus infection 6. Influenza (pandemic, seasonal, zoonotic) 7. Lassa fever 8. Marburg virus disease 9. Meningitis 10. MERS-CoV 11. Monkeypox 12. Nipah virus infection 13. Plague 14. Rift Valley fever 15.SARS 16. Smallpox 17.Tularaemia 18. Yellow fever and 19. Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) - (Source: WHO)
Drink plenty of water (total hydration): Water is life, as everybody knows. Water maintains body temperature, blood circulation, and keeps hydration and overall metabolism to all. In the outbreak of COVID-19, water is required sufficiently to keep ourselves hydrated. An adult person must drink 3 ltr. to 4 ltr as per height, weight, indoor activities. We can consider 250 ml-300 ml per glass/serving, and this way, the average of 10 glass water is recommended per day. In addition to plain drinking water,we must also drink ORS and home-made fruit juices (not artificial/commercial) during this summer season even though you are at home/indoor due to the COVID crisis.
Staple foods to prepare staple meals: There are some people, mainly the young generation always over-concerned about the diet for quick weight loss or toning body like a film star. During the virus outbreak, as a nutritionist, I must suggest having a certain quantity of staple foods like rice or chapatti along with pulses (dal-20-30 gm/day). Diet should be balanced but not only fruit or vegetable soup based on so-called diet patterns e.g. keto, crash, intermitted fasting or liquid diet. So make a balanced-plate with cereals approximately 200 gm per day ( lunch+dinner) in addition to veg or-veg. special menu. Not necessary, we have to spend a lot of money to buy raw ingredients but make it simple middle-class, affordable and adjustable.
Minimum quantity of green vegetable; people must protect the body through his or her immunity system. Immunity gets maintained not only carbs, protein and fat but also water-soluble vitamins(B-Complex and C) and fat-soluble (A, D, E, K). The silent roles of minerals(macro and micro) which are available in fruits and vegetable abundantly. WHOrecommends 2.5 cups (approx. 200-250 gm uncooked) green vegetables daily to be incorporated with staple meals duly served at lunch and dinner. Do not overcook vegetables and do not eat raw but cook properly and before cooking wash surely.
Consume fruits as possible; WHOrecommends during this crisis period, everyone should consume an average of 3-4fruits ( 3-4 serving). It is suggested to have 2pcs ( 200gm) solid or semi-solid fruits like guava/berries/apple and 1-2 citrus fruit, e.g. mosambi/pineapple/cranberries. The entire consumption should be as per your budget & availability at your nearby market.
Low fat and oil; This is also the most crucial part of our diet that knowingly or unknowingly, we consume unwanted trans-fat and saturated fat. So avoid butter, ghee,(low quantity only) cheese mayonnaise (very low), etc. too much and add any good branded oil. Fat should max 20% visible-fat out of total daily calorie intake. It means 2-3 tbsp cooking oil with some other unsaturated fat foods is welcome to add diet in the locked out period.
Very less salt and sugar; At typical person can consume salt (white/table salt) below 5 gm, which is the same as1 tsp and raw sugar within 20 gm (2 tbsp) either raw or for cooking purpose in total. This could be a person to person variable because of their existing health issues. To get hydration and instant energy, you can make a mixture of lemon water added with a pinch of salt & sugar. Apart from salt & sugar, we should also cut down unnecessary spices (taste/readymade) while preparing various meals for your entire family. So overall, we must limit all salted and sugar-rich foods. All commercial/outside similar foods must be restricted during these days (only home-made meals).
Vegetarian diet: If you are vegetarian, then you may add 2-3 pcs ( 10 gm each) cream less paneer, little more pulses (dal-all types) in addition to plenty of green vegetables which all are rich in fiber and vitamins. You should also prepare a special menu with kidney beans( rajma), Dal Tarka ( chaunk (in Hindi), dal makhani, lassi, sour curd. At night you can add chana (dry milk) or some pasteurized milk (not lactose intolerance)in your dinner.
Non-vegetarian diet: In your daily meals, you can add 100 gm fresh local fishes like rohu, catla, bata, tilapia ( suggested-3-4 days in a week)and chicken breast (suggested-2 days/week) avoiding curry or gravy. It is suggested to cook simply by using little garlic, turmeric, onion, cumin, black pepper, etc.. In general, you have to add a reasonable amount of oil, salt, sugar to these dishes.
Special antioxidant foods- In your daily meals/diet, you should add raw turmeric, neem leaves, curd (Dahi-khatta/sour taste) peanut butter, little dry fruits (almond, walnut 3-5 pcs each), fenugreek, drumsticks, all gourds vegetables, all citrus fruits as the applicable time to time.
Practice daily exercises: As a nutritionist, I must advise practicing some basic exercises morning cum evening both the times being at home or indoor. I can suggest practicing Surya namaskar poses, bazrasan, boat pose, snake pose and more. The young generation can practice skipping, jogging at your home campus because walking outside not recommended. Breathing exercises are suitable for the lungs and heart.
Patients with Comorbidities - People who are suffering from type II DM, or CKD (kidney diseases) or other lifestyle disorders must be taken care of very right diet and medications as per the supervision of a doctor. Your single mistake may be a big mistake to cope up the situation during this crisis period.
Take home message: Dear friends, Finally I advise you once again to stay home; engage yourself in your hobbies and uncompleted works which you planned to complete. I think that we, the majority of the city people do not get time to spent some days and full days with our family but now you are getting that much deserved time.
So do not be afraid but let's enjoy yourself with your family during these days. Salute to all medical workers !! God bless you! Stay Home, Stay Safe and help the community.
( This is a generalized article; all advice, suggestion, and the content may differ person wise but not applicable to all similarly ).