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COVID-19: Foods you must eat to boost your immunity

Is it true that you are what you eat? Nutritionists seem to agree that people who eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins as well as minerals are healthier.

And on top of that, their immunity is better prepared to fight infections such as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which is menacingly spreading across the world.

Julius Twinamatsiko, the coordinator of Uganda Multi-sectoral Food Security and Nutrition project, said the population should heed President Yoweri Museveni’s directives on how to fight the coronavirus.

“The most important recommendation is ensuring good nutrition. People need a strong immunity to fight the coronavirus,” Twinamatsiko said.

He added that the population needs to be guided on what to eat in order to fight the virus. This, according to Twinamatsiko, is about eating all three kinds of food namely carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Twinamatsiko, who is also a commissioner in the agriculture ministry, said carbohydrates are energy giving foods and proteins are bodybuilding foods, while vitamins and minerals are protective foods that guard the body against infections.

“People tend to eat a lot of carbohydrates and proteins and neglect vegetables and minerals yet they are important in the reactions that take place in the body,” he said.

Sarah Ngalombi, a senior nutritionist at the health ministry, said there is plenty of food across Uganda but the population does not pay attention to balancing their diets.

Ngalombi stressed that people have to eat a variety of nutritious food. “People should have fruits and vegetables which are also referred to as protective foods,” she said.

Ngalombi added that the country is experiencing a problem of malnutrition due to poor feeding. “There are areas where people will have cassava and posho for lunch and supper and also eat maize for breakfast,” Ngalombi said.

Such areas, according to Ngalombi, should continue eating their posho and cassava but also include proteins as well as fruits and vegetables but limit sugar and fat intake.

Cooking vegetables Laura Ahumuza, a senior nutritionist with the health ministry, said people should avoid overcooking vegetables. “Vitamins could easily become denatured (change  form),” Ahumuza said, adding that the vitamins will be lost and at best the vegetables will only act as roughage.

She also said vegetables should be prepared when still fresh and avoid those that have withered.

In addition, the vegetables should not be chopped into pieces before washing as the running water will wash away the vitamins.

They should not be soaked in water for long.

What to shop

Ngalombi said there are a number of products such as cooking oil and flour that have been fortified with different vitamins.

These are labelled with letter ‘F’ indicating that the product is fortified and has different vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin D.

Breastfeeding

Ahumuza said it is recommended that babies of six months and below be fed on breast milk because they cannot eat any other food. “Babies will get immunity to fight the coronavirus from breast milk,” Ahumuza said.

Regular workout

A healthy mind is in a healthy body. The population is also advised to exercise regularly to keep healthy. Exercises help to burn off extra fat and weight.

Presidential initiative

Twinamatsiko said for the last five years, a team from various ministries and Office of the Prime Minister has been implementing the Uganda multi- Sectoral Food Security and Nutrition project to improve nutrition in 15 districts that were suffering from

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