Experts call for vitamins, minerals rich diet to fight against COVID-19

Published: 09 August, 2020 12:07 IST | IANS | Mumbai

The experts weighed in that traditional Indian foods and natural herbs are a potent combination to avert threat from the deadly virus

This picture has been used for representational purpose only
This picture has been used for representational purpose only

During a session held at the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the health experts stressed the need for inclusion of vitamins and minerals in daily diet to build immunity for the battle against the COVID-19.

The present pandemic has brought the focus back on the role of vitamins as part of nutrition going beyond popular proteins and carbohydrates, they said on Saturday. The experts weighed in that traditional Indian foods and natural herbs are a potent combination to avert threat from the deadly virus.

"There are several foods which are rich in natural minerals and nutrients, but we destroy their nutritional value in the course of our cooking and consumption practices. Wheat, which in its original form is Dalia, it has important minerals like phosphorus. Still, in our strange wisdom we powder it into a refined maida which is nothing but starch and increases weight and risk of diabetes," said Dr Shikha Sharma, founder and managing director of Dr Shikha's NutriHealth.

Dr Sharma named traditional food items and Ayurvedic herbs that can increase immunity level in the body. "Barley, Channa, Sattu, seeds - pumpkin, sunflower, chia and flax among others that can be included in diets for a nutrition boost across all age groups. Ashwagandha and Giloy are potent herbs that can be given to both seniors and children. They purify the blood, build the body's immunity, reduce stress and keep intact, healthy pH level in the body," she added.

The session was held while concluding the second edition of the 'Illness to Wellness' series themed 'Building immunity through nutritious food during COVID-19' by ASSOCHAM. The experts also dismissed the need for a protein or carbohydrate-rich diet, instead advocated for a wholesome, balanced diet especially in times of Corona.

"The beauty of Indian traditions during COVID times is that we need the support of this amazing knowledge of Indian Ayurveda and traditions to beat it," Dr Sharma said.

The coronavirus has individually turned fatal for individuals with existing comorbidities, for such cases, Dr Sharma emphasised that the first course of action needs to address the health issues through long-term preventive measures such as exercising, avoiding sugar and a maintaining a balanced diet.

Meanwhile, Sangeeta Narayan, nutrition educator and wellness expert, commenting on the impact of proper diet on the mental health said, "Stress plays an essential part in mental health considering the current times. With everything changing, we have to be adaptive. The first and foremost thing is to have a proper 6-8 hour sleep, plan your day in advance, doing all the chores can be overwhelming so allocate tasks for each day whether living with a family or alone. Add fruits or food items rich in Vitamin C. They act as a stress buster and immunity booster. Having proper meals is important, especially a nutritious and nourishing breakfast. Exercising also plays a vital role in managing stress and keeping the mind clear."

Besides, the experts also commented on other aspects which have been impacted after the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.

Anil Rajput, Chairman, ASSOCHAM CSR Council, weighing in on the economic and personal effect of coronavirus, said, "COVID-19 has had a destabilising effect on almost all walks of life for almost five months now. Right now, from nations to societies to economies to health of individuals, it has been an extremely stressful period for all. It has forced on us an unprecedented situation. One has taken quite a bit of time for us to understand the magnitude and painful reality of how slow the recovery is likely to be. It is the individual who has been at the centre of all-round anxiety and insecurity be at economic or personal health front."

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