In the wake of the COVID19 pandemic in India, people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of good personal hygiene, good hygiene habits & healthy food for ensuring optimal immune function to keep viral/ other infections (communicable diseases) at bay. As for diet, “MY-PLATE-FOR-THE-DAY” depicts eight different kinds of foods to be consumed in a day by an individual. If you were to place all the foods that are to be consumed in a day in a plate, half the plate should be occupied with essentially four groups of foods: vegetables, green leafy vegetables, fruits and roots, followed by cereals and millets, then pulses/ flesh foods and nuts &oils.
SOME USEFUL DIETARY AND LIFESTYLE GUIDELINES
- Follow a healthy diet and the make right choices from available sources
- Choose to consume local foods, whole grains, fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Ensure that you eat variety of foods.
- Choose traditional recipes and methods of preparation.
- Avoid over eating and undereating. Exercise portion control. Stop eating a little before when you are absolutely full.
- Limit consumption of highly processed foods, avoid fruit juices & carbonated drinks – these are high in fat, salt and sugar, and poor in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients)
- Consuming meat, poultry and eggs is not risky, but hand wash hygiene must be followed after handling raw meat, eggs or even vegetables. This should be a part of your top 10 personal hygiene practices. Thoroughly cooked meat/ poultry may be included in moderation.
- Avoid too much fat (no more than 30 gm/person/day-preferably more than 2 varieties of oils), salt (no more than 5gm/person/day), and sugar is just calories with no nutrients, hence, keep it to bare minimum.
- Maintain ideal body weight (less than 18.5 BMI is undernourished, and more than 25 is overweight) being underweight or overweight/obese – impairs immunity and increases inflammation
- Moderate physical activity/yoga will reduce stress and build immunity
- Keep your body hydrated with adequate water intake for good immune response to any infection.
- Get enough sleep.
- Seek appropriate medical and nutrition advice from qualified professionals.
- De-stress and be positive.
- Maintain an overall balance and good lifestyle by exercise, yoga, meditation, good nutrition, sleep and hydration.