Covid-19 seems to be a part of our lives now with no clear end in sight. Thankfully, panic has subsided, and people, in general, have understood that they can be cured by Self Quarantine most of the time. WHO has suggested various tips to stay healthy while in Self Quarantine, and I will share a few crucial ones today. Here are a few Self Quarantine Tips – What WHO Suggests related to food and nutrition.
Avoid Panic Buying
Do not go for panic buying. WHO advises following a particular plan of action so that everyone gets a chance to use available resources at a particular span of time.
It is important to think about what you already have at home, especially the foods with lesser shelf life. During these testing times, it is important to control food wastage.
Eat home-cooked meals
Cooking is an essential skill for everyone, and that will come in handy while in Self Quarantine. Longer time at home now allows cooking simple recipes at home. A simple Dal or fresh vegetable khichdi can do wonders to your recovery process.
Be careful while ordering food.
If one plans to utilize home delivery for food, WHO advises ensuring “contact-less delivery” options. It is important during the self-quarantine period to avoid human interaction. Another significant suggestion for food transportation is to keep food at safe temperatures under 5 °C or above 60 °C.
Keep an eye on your food portion size.
It is highly possible to eat more than required while in self-quarantine, mainly due to stress. Staying alone at home for a long time without much physical activity might also lead to overeating. It is important to be mindful and eat smaller portions.
Be safe while handling food.
Food safety is essential for a healthy diet, and one needs to remember that safe food is the only healthy food during Covid-19. It is important to follow hygiene rules to avoid food contamination and additional foodborne diseases.
As per WHO, the key principles of food hygiene are:
- Keep hands, kitchen, and utensils clean.
- One should keep raw and cooked food separately.
- One must thoroughly cook food.
- Maintain food-safe temperatures, either below 5 °C or above 60 °C; and
- Raw material and water should be safe enough, keeping in view the Covid-19 situation.
Control sodium intake
While in self-quarantine, one might feel it easier to rely on canned, frozen or processed foods, but it is necessary to keep in mind that most of these contain high sodium levels. According to WHO, consuming less than 5 g of salt per day is helpful from a recovery point of view. The best way is to eat fresh or rinse canned vegetables and beans, etc., to get rid of the excess sodium.
Also, Indians need to be careful while eating pickles. So avoid adding extra salt, especially table salt, and experiment with fresh or dried herbs and spices.
Control sugar intake
Ideally, less than 5% of total energy intake for adults should come from free sugars, according to WHO guidelines. That comes to not more than 6 teaspoons of sugar in any form.
- When you crave sweets, eat fresh fruit.
- Frozen or canned fruits in juice are any day better than syrup.
- Eat dried fruits with no added sugar. Consume small portions of desserts.
- Opt for low-fat and low sugar options.
- Check the ‘Added sugars’ in any packed desserts.
- Stop all kinds of sugar or honey if you are a diabetic or pre-diabetic.
WHO recommends no more than 30% fat of total energy intake, and no more than 10% should come from saturated fat.
- Choose cooking methods that require less or no fat, such as steaming, grilling, or sautéing in place of frying.
- If required, use a minimal quantity of unsaturated fats like olive or sunflower oil to cook foods.
- Use natural foods that contain healthy sources of unsaturated fats, like fish and nuts.
- Reduce foods like butter, full-fat dairy, palm oil, coconut oil.
- Avoid trans fats.
- Read nutrition labels to ensure the right kind of fats.
- Go for unprocessed foods.
Eat enough fiber to keep bowels moving.
Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system. It also gives a feeling of fullness, which helps control overeating. To help an adequate fiber-rich meal, go for vegetables, fruit, pulses, and whole grains. Stop refined white food items.
Stay hydrated to recover better.
Good hydration is crucial for recovering quickly from Covid-19 infection. Freshwater is the healthiest and the best drink in self-quarantine. Plain water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages is the simplest way to limit your sugar intake. For a flavourful drink, add some fresh fruit like melon or slices of citrus fruits. Even adding cucumber slices or herbs such as mint can be a great way to increase hydration intake.
Avoid large amounts of strong coffee and tea. These may lead to dehydration and can hinder recovery by impacting your sleeping patterns.
Avoid alcohol totally
Alcohol is a big no-no not only because it is a mind-altering and dependence-producing substance, but it also weakens the immune system.
- Alcohol use undermines ones’ body’s ability to cope with infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
- Being a psychoactive substance, alcohol affects mental state and decision-making power while making you vulnerable to physical risks.
- Alcohol consumption in stressful times may increase symptoms of depression, anxiety, fear, or panic.
- During self-quarantine, consuming alcohol is not a good coping mechanism and surely not the correct way to deal with stress.
- Alcohol makes medications less effective, even increasing the toxicity of some.
- WHO advises that under no circumstances should one consume alcoholic products as a preventive or treatment measure against COVID-19.
I hope these were all a good reminder for all the readers who have concerns and anxiety concerns about self-quarantine and Covid-19.
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