A dietician and specialist in medical nutrition therapy, Mr Wise Chukwudi Letsa, has advised children to eat well-balanced meals in order to build their immune system in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He explained that the body needed all the nutrients from food such as protein, carbohydrates, fats and oils, vitamins, minerals and water to build the immune system which would be able to fight diseases.
The best way to achieve this, he said, was eating a well-balanced meal always because all those nutrients would be available to the body.
Mr Letsa, who gave the advise in a telephone interview with the Junior Graphic, said those who had not been infected with the COVID-19 a healthy diet which would help boost their immune system but cautioned that, it was, however, not a guarantee against getting infected.
He pointed out that, should anyone be infected by COVID-19, a strong immune system might help slow the progress of the disease and give that person a better chance to recover.
Mr Letsa explained that just as soldiers protected enemies from entering a country in times of conflict or war, similarly, a strong immune system provided a strong defence system to fight foreign materials such as virus, germs and bacteria that might try to attack the body.
“That is why, eating a well-balanced meal to build your immune system may give you a chance of handling the virus whether you want to prevent it or help you to stay strong when you get infected,” he emphasised.
Immune booster foods
The dietician said eating oranges and other fruits that contain Vitamin ‘C’; protein foods, yoghurt, milk and fish that have Vitamin ‘D’, as well as vegetables and foodstuffs which contain vitamins, minerals and fiber will support the building of a strong immune system.
“ Bell pepper, palm oil and foods rich in vitamins and minerals are all good immune boosters,” he added.
Mr Letsa, however, advised that children should not eat fried foods because they contained too much bad oil and also limit their intake of frizzy drinks.
He encouraged them to eat homemade food and stop buying food from street vendors in order to stay healthy.
Mr Letsa asked children to drink enough water and also engage in some exercises because physical activities would also boost their immune system.
He said now that they were at home because of the President’s directive for all schools to be closed, after studying or watching television for a while, they should take a break of about 30 minute walk around their houses as a form of exercise.
Mr Letsa stressed the need for all children to prevent themselves from being infected by the virus by washing their hands with soap under running water, use hand sanitisers when they were not home and practise good personnel hygiene.
Also, practicing social distancing, which is keeping a safe distance of about two arms’ length from another person at all times will help stop the spread of the virus.
Coronavirus has been spreading rapidly across the world, affecting more than 160 countries of the world and claiming lots of lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, declared the virus a global pandemic. This is when an infectious disease is passing easily from one person to another in many parts of the world at the same time.
More than 80,000 people in China were diagnosed with the infection after its emergence in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, in December 2019.
Other countries around the world are ramping up measures to try to slow the virus down. Governments have halted flights, locked down towns and cities and urged people to stay at home.
As at March 26, 2020, Ghana had recorded 93 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 with 4 deaths.