nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, pulses, cereals and curd
coupled with a healthy lifestyle are the key to boost the
immune system, a focal point in the fight against coronavirus,
according to the premier nutrition institute under the union
Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and phytonutrients
that are primarily available in fruits, nuts, vegetables and
wholegrains enhance both native and adaptive immune function
and prevent infection among others, the Indian Council of
Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Nutrition (NIN)
The over a century-old NIN, which has attained global
recognition for its pioneering studies on various aspects of
nutrition research, has given its suggestions to the Centre on
nutrition and immunity in the backdrop of the fight against
coronavirus and sent them to the Centre, it”s Director
Hemalatha R said.
It has also recommended the amount of food to be
distributed as free ration for the economically deprived,
daily wage earners and migrant workers during the ongoing
lockdown to keep them food and nutrition secure during these
tough times, she said.
Micronutrients also aid immune memory formation that
helps prevent reinfection with the same pathogen, help
scavenge toxins produced in large quantities in the body
during infection and immune response, and increase beneficial
probiotic bacteria in the intestine among other benefits,
Hemalatha told PTI here.
Fruits like papaya, guava, apple, grapes, mango,
oranges, tangerines, lemons, sweet lime and goose berries, all
seasonal vegetables, including green leafy, and spices,
legumes, millets, flesh foods and fish are among those with
rich sources of nutrients, she said.
“Curd is a source of many nutrients and it also improves
gut health by regulating gut bacteria, aidsimmune
function and reduces inflammation,” the Director said.
Suggesting dietary and lifestyle guidelines during these
times, she said consumption of highly processed foods should
be limited and fruit juices and carbonated drinks should be
Consuming meat, poultry and eggs was not risky in present
circumstances, but hand wash hygiene must be followed after
handling raw meat, eggs or even vegetables, she said adding
thoroughly cooked meat and poultry products may be included in
diets in moderation.
Avoid too much fat (no more than 30 gm per person per
day – preferably more than two varieties of oils), salt (no
more than 5 gm per person a day). Sugar is just calories with
no nutrients, hence, keep it to bare minimum, she said.
Maintaining ideal body weight, keeping body hydrated with
adequate water intake, taking up moderate physical activity
including yoga to reduce stress and build immunity and
avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption are among other
She said most infections can be prevented by practicing
good personal hygiene such as washing hands before preparing
or eating food, washing hands after cleaning vegetables or
meat, covering mouth with a tissue or cloth while coughing or
People with diabetes or other chronic illnesses should
continue their regular medication and prescribed healthy
dietary patterns along with adequate physical activity and
keep themselves stress free,” Dr Hemalatha said, replying to
The NINs website provides additional information on
nutrition, including dietary guidelines.
When asked about ICMR-NINs role in the government”s
fightagainst COVID-19,she said the institute has recommended
the required quantum of food to be distributed as free ration
for people affected by the lockdown.
Recommendation on amount of food to be distributed as
free ration for the economically deprived, daily wagers and
migrants during the lockdown was provided.
“In addition, the Centre sought inputs on nutrition and
Immunity from scientific and professional bodies. We have
formulated our suggestions and communicated the same, she
Additionally, the institute has been extending all
possible support to its parent organisation ICMR in the fight
against COVID 19, Hemalatha said.
The NIN has been the nodal centre in Telangana for
receiving the COVID-19 test kits and reagents from ICMR and
National Institute of Virology, Pune and distributing them to
various test centres, she added.PTI SJR SS
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI