Smart Food choices during the current pandemic
|Recommended Food||Avoid (but could be taken rarely to satisfy taste buds)
|Fibrous food in the form of raw or freshly cooked colourful vegetables and fruits (good sources of vitamins A, C and E, as well as antioxidants, folate, and fibre
(opt steaming, grilling or sautéing cooking methods)
|Less spicy and oily food
Garlic, onion, unseasonal veggies in a limited amount
|Fried, over spicy and overcooked, or stale food|
|Pulses and wholegrain foods (oats, brown pasta, millet, and rice, quinoa and whole-wheat fresh chapatis and wraps)
|Brown bread||Refined, processed grain foods (white pasta and rice, and white bread), deep-frozen foods|
|Low-fat or reduced-fat versions of milk and dairy products like curd, yoghurt (rich in probiotics that strengthen the digestive tract).||White meats like poultry and fish that are generally lower in fats than red meat; processed meat (though it is not a part of Satvik food)||Red meat|
|Unsalted nuts and seeds (like pumpkin, sunflower, and flax). They are great sources of vitamin E, niacin, riboflavin, protein, healthy fat, antioxidants, and fibre.||Homemade low fat/sugar snacks like idli, dosa, dhokla, upma, daliya, brown bread with pea-nut butter||Snacks that are high in salt and sugar (cookies, samosa, cakes, and chocolate); pickles, jams|
|Egg yolks, and fortified breakfast cereals||Canned food, used after washing it to remove extra salt or sugar|
|Unsaturated fats (e.g., found in fish, avocado, nuts, olive oil, soy, canola, sunflower and corn oils). The fat intake is recommended less than 30% of total energy intake, of which no more than 10% should come from saturated fat.||Saturated fats (e.g., found in fatty meat, butter, coconut oil, cream, cheese, and lard)
|Trans-fats (processed food, fast and fried food, snacks, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines, and spreads)|
|Fresh fruit juices, low fat lassi, chaaz, lemon water, coconut water/ hot water, herbal tea (packs a big punch of polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants that destroy free radicals)
|Soft drinks or sodas and other drinks that are high in sugar (e.g., packed fruit juices; fruit juice concentrates and syrups; flavoured milks and water; energy and sports drinks; and yogurt drinks, caffeinated tea, coffee, ready-to-drink tea, and coffee||Alcohol, tobacco, drugs|
|Honey and jaggery||Brown sugar||White sugar|
Coriander (Dhaniya), turmeric (contain Curcumin), fenugreek (methi), tulsi (Basil), cumin (jeera), fennel (sonph), cloves, black pepper (Kalimirch, contain Piperine), cinnamon (dalchini), ginger and curry leaves.
These spices have antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, act as immune booster and may help to flush out any sinuses from the body.
Rock salt (limit salt intake to 5 grams (equivalent to a teaspoon) a day.
|Iodised salt||Non-iodised salt
The current guidelines of the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, recommend self-care guidelines for preventive health measures and boosting immunity. These guidelines recommend herbal tea and decoction (Kadha) made from Tulsi, Dalchini, Kalimirch, Shunthi (Dry Ginger) and Munakka (Raisin) with jaggery and/or fresh lemon juice to enhance the taste as immunity promoting measures against COVID-19. Guidelines also recommend avoiding cold, frozen, and heavy foods, which is a clear indication to avoid Rajasic and Tamsik food. Recommendations such as to take appropriate rest, timely sleep, exposure to sunlight, and practice of Yogasana and Pranayama also help to balance our body, mind, and lifestyle.
It is recommended that in this time of uncertainties and non-availability of treatment, it is important to remain healthy and peaceful. Good food with other recommendations, as explained in the above table, would help in building up our immunity as well as burst the stress while combating against COVID-19.