(MENAFN- AzerNews) By Ayya Lmahamad
Proper nutrition is extremely important for health, especially at a time when immune system reserves are needed to fight the current COVID-19 infection.
With countries taking tough measures, like introducing lockdowns, to curb the spread of the coronavirus infection, the nature and mode of eating can be affected. The limited availability of fresh foods can reduce opportunities for a healthy and varied diet.
With the beginning of the pandemic, people started to care more about their health. There were a lot of researches on the topic of what food products can help to reduce the risk of getting infected with COVID-19.
Thus, experts at Harvard Medical School have found that a large amount of plant-based foods can reduce the risk of getting infected with COVID-19. The experts collected data from nearly 600,000 people about what they ate before and during the pandemic.
The research showed that those who ate a healthy and balanced diet were 10 percent less likely to get COVID-19 than those whose diets were less than perfect. People who included in their nutrition large amounts of vegetables, fruits, grains, fish and minimal amounts of processed foods showed to strengthen the immune system and were less likely to get infected.
A lot of doctors and experts believe that proper nutrition can help counteract COVID-19. Doctors underline that with the help of food containing a lot of vitamins and minerals, it is possible to strengthen the immune system. And on the other hand, the insufficient intake of such food reduces the functional activity of the immune system and increases the risk of getting infected with the coronavirus.
According to researches, vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, and B12, folic acid, iron, selenium, and zinc are most important. Vitamin D supports the production of specific antimicrobial proteins in the respiratory epithelium, thereby reducing the likelihood of virus infection and progression of infection symptoms. Sources of vitamin D are cod liver (which is also a source of vitamin A), fish, egg yolk, butter.
To replenish the body's need for vitamin A, doctors recommend eating green vegetables, carrots, melon, pumpkin and sweet potatoes, and for vitamin E- nuts, spinach and sunflower oil.
Likewise, the experts advise eating foods that are most rich in vitamin C, as this vitamin is involved in immunomodulation. Sources of vitamin C are broccoli, sweet peppers, all kinds of cabbage and citrus fruits.
Zinc and selenium are important components for the formation of an adequate immune response. Sources of zinc include beef and chicken liver, cheese, and nuts. Selenium is found in chicken egg yolk, beef and chicken liver, and cottage cheese.
Moreover, there were a lot of researches to found out how nutrition affects the rehabilitation of people who recovered from COVID-19 and experts identified a list of foods that speed up recovery.
Experts believe that such foods as vitamin C-rich broccoli, black currants, vitamins enriched breakfast cereals and oranges, zinc-rich canned crab, shrimp, canned beans, and boiled eggs, and vitamin D supplements can speed up the process of recovery after COVID-19.
Furthermore, experts say that in the fall and winter, it is recommended to eat foods that help the body produce the hormones of joy: dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. These include fish, bananas, non-fat dairy products, avocados, leafy greens, poultry, bitter chocolate, and wholemeal bread.
Additionally, to maintain optimal health, it is important to remain physically active.
The researchers note that their recommendations are for generally healthy people. For those with comorbidities such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as immune problems, prior consultation with a doctor is necessary.
It is worth noting that the optimization of nutrition is needed not only during periods of increased risk of infection but also during periods of relative well-being.
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