Use Ramadan to boost immunity, says expert - GulfToday

Use Ramadan to boost immunity, says expert


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Strengthening the immune system as a vital factor, if not the most important, to block the fatal COVID19 has been repeated several times over by doctors since the world has been hostaged and multiple times scared by the SARS-CoV2 contagion.

The Holy Month of Ramadan observed with a balanced diet of fresh home-prepared foodstuff and lots of warm water, is a “great opportunity” to do so, according to Burjeel Hospital-Abu Dhabi clinical dietician Archana Baju.

“If fresh food (were) limited and forced to buy frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, go through the nutrition label to choose the right ones. Avoid food from outside as safety (is our priority).”

She suggested the healthy cooking methods of stir-frying, baking, sauteeing, poaching and steaming than frying.

Separately interviewed and asked why patients of COVID19 and other infectious diseases including chronic illnesses recover and live, Baju’s colleague, Microbiology specialist Dr. Sundar Elayaperumal said: “The degree of immunity differs from person to person depending on the strength of the patient’s anti-body response.”

“Younger, healthier people will likely generate a more robust anti-body response, giving them more protection.”

Elayaperumal enumerated the immune boosters as “vaccines, good nutrition, exercise, and green and leafy vegetables.

Add on to that yoga and meditation.

Baju drew the connection between the Holy Month of Ramadan, fasting and healthy eating habits to enhancing the immune system.

“This is a great opportunity to bring in self-control and self-discipline regarding the eating pattern and healthy lifestyle for those who really find it difficult in regular days.”

She also said: “During the pandemic, proper nutrition and hydration are essential before, during and after an infection. No single food is magic, while no food or dietary supplement can prevent infections.”

“But those who follow a balanced diet plan have stronger immune system and have lower risk of infection.”

Baju said it is a plus if the balanced diet were fortified with the consumption of loads of “orange, lemon, kiwi, strawberry, mango, guava, brocolli, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, pepper, tomato, pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, cabbage, cauliflower, nuts, seeds and cereals.”

These are highly-packed with vitamins identified by the first five letters of the English alphabet.

She associated a strengthened immune system and breaking the fast with “wholesome, nutritious and healthy meal choices.”

Baju noted that “low fat milk, laban, yoghurt, unsweetened fresh fruit juices, coconut water, herbal teas, smoothies, infused water and warm soups” are good sources of hydration while warm water would keep at bay sore throat.

Baju’s other recommendations:

l Use minimal salt for cooking and instead add seasonings like herbs, spices, lemon and garlic.

l Never over-cook vegetables to prevent the loss of nutrients, color and flavor.

l Indulge in lean proteins like eggs, chicken breast, lean meat, lentils and beans at Iftar.

l Trim off the visible fat from meat and skinless chicken.

Meanwhile, on COVID19 patients overcoming the disease, Elayaperumal said: “Approximately 80 per cent of laboratory confirmed patients have had mild to moderate disease which includes non-pneumonia and pneumonia cases.”

On the deaths, he said: “Respiratory failure is obviously the main cause as was also the case in previous viral pandemics such as the Spanish flu of 1918.”

Saying that the condition may be resolved with the use of “invasive mechanical ventilation until the lungs recover” and the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation if the patient’s state worsens, Elayaperumal added that COVID19 patients have been found to succumb to the disease as “complicated by shock and multiple organ failure.”

On deaths due to other infectious and chronic challenges, Elayaperumal said these vary brought about by the “severity of the (case), sepsis, septic shock, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and mutiple organ failure eventually leading to cardiac arrest.”

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