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Ensure balanced diet to boost your immunity: HMC clinical dietitian

Ensure balanced diet to boost your immunity: HMC clinical dietitian

CATHERINE W GICHUKI
DOHA
It is a must for you to take a healthy and balanced diet to keep your body’s immunity system on the track, a Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) clinical dietitian has advised.
According to the expert, a healthy balanced diet should not be consumed only during the COVID-19 season but at all times.
Speaking to Qatar Tribune, HMC Clinical Dietitian Akshaya Kamath emphasised the importance of taking a balanced meal.
“People should take meal that contains carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, milk or milk product like yoghurt or laban and a fruit that can be taken in between meals as a snack. This gives a person all the nutrients that he or she needs for a daily routine on average,” she said. She said carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, which will come from vegetables and fruits or milk, are important to the body.
According to her, if one is a vegetarian, he or she can get proteins from pulses, cowpeas, lentils, humus, among others, because they are a good source of protein for vegetarians.
“For those who eat meat, they can get protein from fish, egg or red meat, or egg and cheese for their breakfast so that they can get enough protein,” she said.
Kamath said a balanced meal gives enough nutrients but apart from that there are certain fruits and vegetables, especially the rainbow-coloured like oranges, carrot, pumpkins and green leafy vegetables.
She added, “They are rich in antioxidants and helps in boosting the immune system. The basic nutrients that help in boosting immunity are folate, zinc, iron, beta-carotene, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Vitamin E as well as omega 3 fatty acids.”
Kamath advised that, in order for a person to meet the requirements of a balanced, people should have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables in a day. For example, they should have half a portion of vegetable included in a salad or in a sandwich or in a vegetable sandwich like lettuce or cucumber for lunch or breakfast.
“They can have one or two fruits in between their breaks like mid-morning and one in the evening or at bedtime after dinner and a good amount of vegetables to be included with their lunch or dinner. It can be in a form of salad or cooked. They can include fruits such as berries, watermelon, orange or lime which gives a good amount of Vitamin C,” she said.
According to her, for Vitamin D, people should consult their physicians for a supplement because it is not easy to meet the requirement through food.
She said, “Supplementation of Vitamin D might be required for a person who is indoors all the time who doesn’t have any exposure to sunshine.”
She added that children mostly do not like fruits and vegetables and are more into junk food. “That’s not really healthy because it brings down body immune system. Kids have to be encouraged to eat a good amount of fruits and vegetables,” Kamath said. The expert said to encourage children to eat vegetable, it can be cooked.
She said, “It can be grinded, shallow fried on a pan, blend it as a soup. Make it attractive to the children. Try to include colourful fruits and vegetables to attract the children as well as make shapes. It can also be given as a fruit juice. One should also involve them in cooking or making something because they will be encouraged to eat something that they have participated in making.” Kamath advised that water is also important to keep one’s immunity levels well.
She said, “On an average, one should drink eight to 10 glasses a day for adults and six glasses for children below 10 years. Water intake depends on the weight of a person also.”
She said people with other health issues, such as diabetes or renal issues, have totally different requirements and need to consult a dietician for that.

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