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Balanced Diet Is Key for Strong Immune System Against Covid-19 During Restrictions

BY :JAKARTA GLOBE

JULY 09, 2021

Jakarta. The recently imposed strict social restrictions in Java and Bali have urged people to stay home unless it is an emergency. During these Covid-19 times, it is crucial to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet for a strong immune system.

"In addition to the 3Ts [testing, tracing, treatment] and vaccination, it is important for the public to keep their immune system strong and healthy by consuming a healthy and balanced diet amidst social restrictions," Indonesian Allergy and Immunology Association head Iris Rengganis said on Thursday.

Clinical nutritionist Sheena RA advised Covid-19 patients to consume food according to their energy needs. Their diet should encompass macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat) and micronutrients (vitamin, mineral).

"There is no single type of food that can very well prevent and treat Covid-19. Covid-infected patients must still consume a balanced and nutritious diet to repair the immune system," Sheena said.

When infected, the body requires more protein intake or at least 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day, on condition of a good kidney function. Add milk if you do not have enough protein in your daily diet.

“But you can’t just drink milk and forget about the other nutrients,” Sheena said.

Covid-19 patients must also eat fruits and veggies for vitamins and minerals while keeping in mind the dietary standards. “No food should be removed or replaced with something else in larger quantities,” Sheena said.

Sheena also advised those isolating at home with a distorted sense of taste and smell to eat like they normally would. Softening and chopping the food would make it easier to digest. Covid-infected children must also maintain more or less the same food intake as adults. Health protocol compliance and vaccinations are the current best prevention efforts against the virus. 

Covid-19 survivor Detri Warmanto shared his tips on keeping their body healthy during and after the infection.

"Wear a medical mask and then a cloth mask for better protection. Make sure that all areas are well-covered. Try to wear a mask even when at home. If you have been eating together [at home], it is best to take turns considering that a [Covid-19] cluster can occur at home,” Detri said.

“I always consume protein-rich foods and do light exercises to boost my body's endorphins. Keep positive thoughts for a good mood. This helps the healing process for faster negative PCR test results,” he added.

Detri also named his family and friends a good support system when he struggled with Covid-19 last year.

"That's why now I always encourage the people who are struggling. Have a nutritious diet, keep your chin up and pray. Do fun things during self-isolation. Covid-19 patients need to maintain their mental health.”

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