The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lifestyle of the population. The main rule of thumb to protect ourselves from contagion and slow down the coronavirus transmission curve is stay at home, avoid going out to shop frequently and, to do this, maximize the use of food available in our pantry.
This causes the diet to be altered and non-perishable products tend to be consumed, to the detriment of those that are. Therefore, it is important to find a balance that allows us to follow a diet that favors the care of our health and that of our families. Also, people who follow a preventive quarantine and patients who present a slight symptomatology or who remain asymptomatic should take into account the importance of following a healthy diet during their recovery period.
In relation to the main queries received in the Nutrition Service of the San José Hospital, related to COVID-19 infection, it is important to clarify that there is no scientific evidence that consuming certain foods reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection in healthy people. This is confirmed by a study by Chinese researchers published in February in the journal Tuberculosis & Respiratory Diseases.
Although there are nutrients present in food, such as vitamins of group B, vitamin A, C or D, the latter immunomodulator, which contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), has indicated that increasing its Nor does consumption appear to be related to a lower risk of contracting the new coronavirus.
For its part, recent research, such as that carried out by the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) in its guideline on clinical nutrition in the intensive care unit, indicates that some patients infected with COVID-19 suffered from microbial dysbiosis In other words, a microbial imbalance of the normal microbiota, so the use of specific prebiotics or probiotics could be a good option to prevent bacterial infections secondary to this alteration.
As for people infected with COVID-19, the main symptoms with nutritional repercussions that patients present are anorexia (lack of appetite) and non-sensitive dehydration of feverish origin, hence, for their recovery, as confirmed the Spanish Academy of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, it is of vital importance the adequate consumption of food, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean meats, eggs and fish, and the frequent intake of water.
Furthermore, there is concern that the food itself is a source or a route of transmission of the virus, although the European body EFSA indicates a lack of evidence that can confirm this. In the same sense, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control states that, after monitoring the coronavirus, there are no confirmed cases that indicate a relationship with transmission through food.
However, the World Health Organization recalls the importance of following good general hygiene practices for food handling and preparation, and its recommendations include the importance of washing hands, cooking food sufficiently, and avoiding cross contamination between raw and cooked food.
In short, there are many doubts that arise regarding food during these days. “Many patients wonder if there are foods that contribute to improving their general health, that decrease the possibility of contagion of the coronavirus or, failing that, that decrease its harmful effects; others are concerned about an underlying pathology that is altered, for better or for worse, with the daily diet. Also, it worries to know if there is an adequate way to combine the food they have in the pantry and in the freezer to make a diet without deficiencies for both them and their children, or even, to take advantage of these days and aim to lose weight, “says Natalia Hernández Rivas, head of the Nutrition Service at the San José Hospital.
All these questions have their answers at the Nutrition Service of the San José Hospital, where patients are treated in consultation, through WhatsApp video calls, by requesting an appointment online at email [email protected] or by phone 686 420 461.