HYDERABAD: If we do catch Covid-19, our immune system is responsible for fighting it. Research shows improving nutrition helps support optimal immune function,” says Soumya Kuthadi, a Hyderabadi who is an Australia-certified accredited practicing dietitian working in private practice and research in Melbourne, Australia.
Soumya (Insta: @NutritiousNudge) says, “To put it simply, you cannot ‘boost’ your immune system through diet, and no specific food or herbal supplement can prevent one from catching Coronavirus or cure one of it.” However, she adds, “Nutritionally, we can help support optimal immune function by choosing a healthy lifestyle.”
Dr Janaki Badugu, consulting nutritionist, explains, “Our body is divided into two immune systems- innate and acquired. Acquired is when we develop antibodies after an infection. In Covid-19, this is not possible since it is a novel virus and is not leaving any traces of it after leaving the body (this is the current knowledge).”
On innate immunity, she says, “This is naturally present. All the immune cells which form innate immunity come from body systems such as lymphatic system, mucosal cells, bone marrow, intestines, stomach acids etc. Therefore, it is important that all our organs are functioning well. Since these systems are built over a period of time and may undergo abuse, re-strengthening them with balanced nutrition, optimal exercise and timely sleep are of pivotal importance.”
Using supplements to prevent contracting the virus
According to Soumya, vitamin and mineral supplements are not recommended for the healthy general population, however, there are some exceptions. She says, “Pregnant women, those deficient in certain nutrients (Vitamin D), people with chronic diseases and conditions and those who are on restrictive diets may need specific supplements.”
To takeaway or not?
“Usually, takeaway foods are high in saturated fats, sugar, salt and calories and consuming these foods regularly would mean that you’re preventing your immune system from functioning optimally,” share Soumya. She adds, “That being said, moderation is key. Therefore, limit it to one to two meals per week.” Coming to safety, it is essential to ensure that the takeout place is following proper food safety and hygiene protocols.
Right way to wash fruits and vegetables
As suggested by the WHO, before, handling them, wash your hands with soap and water. Then wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean water, especially If you eat them raw.
Shop for groceries safely
When grocery shopping, keep at least one-meter distance from others and avoid touching your face. If possible sanitise the handles of the shopping trolleys or baskets before shopping. Once you’re home, wash your hands thoroughly and also after handling it.
Homemade kadha, immunity booster
The Kadha is ideal for everybody. There are no age restrictions. However, one must remember that the spices might cause heat in some people. So children or persons with ‘heat bodies’ (vata) can reduce the spices quantity and then have it. It’s advisable to have during monsoon and winters, again for the same reason of heat. A healthy adult can consume two cups a day. If the days are warm, one can change ingredients to fennel seeds and rose petals, fresh turmeric instead of cinnamon and cloves. We Gujaratis love this drink.
- Esha Hindocha, model, Hyderabad
(with input from Manju Latha Kalanidhi)
— Tamanna S Mehdi