Nutrition Advice During COVID-19

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“What to eat?”

“Proper nutrition and hydration are vital.” by World Health Organisation. Nutritional deficiencies of energy, protein, and specific micronutrients are associated with depressed immune function and increased susceptibility to infection.

We understand the state of lockdown and confinement could also increases sedentary behaviours that involve activities with very low energy expenditure, mainly in a sitting or supine position, irregular eating patterns and frequent snacking, both of which are associated with higher caloric intake and increased risk of obesity. So, you should eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants your body needs and drink enough water. 

Indeed, consuming good quality diets is always desirable, and this is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Eat fresh and unprocessed foods every day

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils, beans), nuts and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed corn, oats, wheat, brown rice or starchy tubers such as potato, yam, taro or cassava), and foods from animal sources (e.g. meat, fish, eggs and milk).
  • Eat 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables daily.
  • For snacks, choose raw vegetables and fresh fruit rather than foods that are high in sugar, fat or salt.
  • Do not overcook vegetables and fruit as this can lead to the loss of important vitamins.
  • When using canned or dried vegetables and fruit, choose varieties without added salt or sugar.

Drink enough water every day

  • Water is the best choice, but you can also consume other drinks, fruits and vegetables that contain water, for example fresh fruit juice, tea and coffee.
  • Be careful not to consume too much caffeine, and avoid sweetened fruit juices, syrups, fruit juice concentrates, soft drinks as they all contain too much sugar.

Eat moderate amounts of fat and oil

  • Consume more unsaturated fats (e.g. found in fish, avocado, nuts, olive oil, soy, canola) than saturated fats (e.g. found in fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oils, cream, cheese, ghee and lard).
  • Choose poultry and fish, which are generally low in fat, rather than red meat.
  • Reduce processed meats because they are high in fat and salt.
  • Where possible, opt for low-fat or reduced-fat versions of milk and dairy products.
  • Reduce trans fats found in processed food, fast food, snack food, fried food, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines and spreads.

Eat less salt and sugar

  • When cooking and preparing food, limit the amount of salt and high-sodium condiments (e.g. soy sauce and fish sauce).
  • Limit your daily salt intake to less than 5 g (approximately 1 teaspoon)
  • Avoid foods (e.g. snacks) that are high in salt and sugar.
  • Choose fresh fruits instead of sweet snacks such as cookies, cakes and chocolate.

More home-cooked food

Eat at home to reduce your rate of contact with other people and lower your chance of being exposed to COVID-19. When you are out, please practice 1 metre social distance with others. Droplets from infected people may land on surfaces and people’s hands (e.g. customers and staff), and with lots of people coming and going, we cannot make sure if hands are being washed regularly enough, and surfaces are being cleaned and disinfected fast enough.

Reference

  1. Naja, F., Hamadeh, R. Nutrition amid the COVID-19 pandemic: a multi-level framework for action. Eur J Clin Nutr (2020)
  2. http://www.emro.who.int/nutrition/nutrition-infocus/nutrition-advice-for-adults-during-the-covid-19-outbreak.html
  3. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2020/04/01/ask-the-expert-the-role-of-diet-and-nutritional-supplements-during-covid-19/

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