Well-balanced nutrition crucial for infectious disease prevention

Eating the right kinds of food at the right amount is hugely beneficial towards the immune system, lessening the chance of acquiring chronic related illnesses and infectious diseases.

This advice came from Nutritionist Dietitian of Provincial Health Office (PHO) of Davao del Norte, Mayflor Espiritu, during the Pakigsayod with the theme “Good Nutrition vs. COVID19”.

To achieve a well-balanced diet for a healthy immune system, she cited the National Nutrition Council’s ‘Ten Commandments’ that people can follow.

“Meron po tayong sa National Nutrition Council na ten commandments para makuha natin yung proper nutrition (The National Nutrition Council has the ten commandments towards having proper nutrition),” Espiritu said.

The first of which, according to her, is that people should consume a variety of food. This way, people are more likely to get more balanced nutrition.

Second, exclusively give mother’s milk to newborn babies up to 6 months old.

Third, consume vegetables and fruits every day as these are where the one finds the majority of the vitamins and minerals needed for a robust immune system.

Fourth, eat fish and other protein sources since this is what rebuilds the ‘worn out’ tissues within the body.

She stressed that this is also especially important for kids and their growth.

Fifth, drink milk or consume other sources that contain calcium like green leafy vegetables and “gilis” fish.

She added that this is especially important for the elderly to avoid the bones from becoming more brittle.

Sixth, consume clean food and water to avoid “foodborne” diseases like diarrhea.

Seventh, iodized salt should be regularly incorporated in the consumption of food to avoid Iodine Deficiency Disorder.

Although the seventh commandment encourages the use of iodized salt, the eighth commandment warns the overconsumption of salty food and the oily and sweet ones.

She explained that if people have comorbidities or lifestyle diseases, this dramatically lessens their chance of fighting off the COVID19 virus, as seen on many of the COVID19 deaths involving people with existing lifestyle diseases.

Ninth, one needs to watch his weight. Espiritu said, “the more a person is obese, the weaker the immune system becomes; thus, becoming more vulnerable to lifestyle-related diseases such as hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes, and even cancer”.

Although most of the ten commandments are related to food, the final or the tenth commandment stresses the importance of physical activity.

“Kung wala tayong exercise, sedentary ang lifestyle, prone pa rin po tayo na magkaroon ng chronic illnesses (If we do not exercise and have a sedentary lifestyle, we will still be prone to chronic illnesses),” Espiritu said.

Aside from the ten commandments, she also discouraged alcohol consumption.

She added, “I’ m not saying you should stop completely, but you should at least minimize your consumption.”

She also said the same thing about smoking, “smoking is a lifestyle that will slowly kill you.”

She explained that cigarette packs on so many harmful contents such as carcinogens.

Source: PIA