What To Eat And Drink During COVID-19, And What To Avoid

Right now, it's essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A large part of that is having a proper diet. Even though good nutrition cannot make you immune to the COVID-19 virus, it can strengthen your immune system. This helps to ward off the virus, and fight it in the case that you do come down with it.

Below are some guidelines sourced from the WHO (World Health Organization), the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), and the UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund).

eat a Variety of Foods

Try to eat a variety of foods every day. Include whole grains like wheat maize and rice, legumes like lentils and beans, fruits and vegetables, and animal-based protein like meat, fish, eggs and milk.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, try to select those in season. The fresher the better.

Watch your Salt Intake

Keep your salt intake to less than 5 g per day (approx. 1 teaspoon). To achieve this when eating packaged food, select those products marked lower in sodium. And, of course, limit this kind of food to very small portions. They often have hidden sodium that is not mentioned.

When cooking, try to rely less on salt and use instead fresh or dried herbs and spices for added flavour. Also, opt for sea salt over table salt.

Healthy Fats and Oils

Nuts, seeds, avocadoes and salmon are great sources of healthy fat. Coconut oil, olive oil, butter and ghee are other good choices, and should be used in place of inflammatory vegetable oils like soy corn and sunflower oil.

Limit consumption of charred or fried foods, as they usually contain toxins and industrially produced trans fat. Steam or boil your food rather than frying it.

Be Mindful Of Sugar

Avoid eating too many candies, chocolates, sugary drinks, and baked goods, like bread, cookies, and cakes. Limit your use of syrups, honeys, molasses, and even artificial sugars, as many have been shown to spike insulin levels. Favour fresh fruit or complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes instead.

Water Intake

Drinking enough water is crucial for optimal health. Plain water is your best bet to keeping hydrated as it has no calories or "natural ingredients."


Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Doctors have advised no more than 3-5 glasses per week, especially during the pandemic.

Food Hygiene

This isn't a food or drink, but it is a point that should be mentioned. Not because COVID-19 is a food-borne disease. It's not. Still, good food hygiene means food that is optimally prepared, best for the absorption of nutrients, and unlikely to weaken your immune system by making you sick.

Good food hygiene includes:

  • Cleanliness

  • Separation of raw and cooked food

  • Cooking food adequately

  • Keeping food at safe temperatures

  • Using clean water

  • Properly disposing of raw materials and cleaning surfaces afterward

Of course, a healthy lifestyle means more than just looking at diet. You also need to exercise regularly, sleep well, and learn to manage stress.

Photo by K8 on Unsplash

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