Stock it right: What should you be eating amid the coronavirus lockdown?

While most European countries are in a complete lockdown, in India the virus is currently at Stage 2 of local transmission.

Shubhangi MishraUpdated: Sunday, March 22, 2020, 12:03 AM IST
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Raymund Macaalay

It is no exaggeration to say we've all been consumed with the coronavirus pandemic. That's why we've seen panic buying of masks and shortages of hand sanitizers.

While most European countries are in a complete lockdown, in India the virus is currently at Stage 2 of local transmission. To prevent it from spreading to Stage 3 of community transmission, people are being encouraged to practice social distancing and work from home.

At times like these where you are being asked to self-quarantine, it's a good idea to be prepared by keeping enough nutritious foods in the house that will last for up to two weeks.

Stock now 

Dietician Dr Kanchan Patwardhan stresses on the need to stock legumes and grains in the kitchen as they have great nutritional benefits and can be used to make healthy dishes. “Rajma for example is a good source of protein and calcium.

It also helps boost your immunity,” says Patwardhan. She also says it’s important to keep vegetables. Stored properly in newspapers and refrigerated well, they are important in these times.

“Vegetables like carrot and radish are not easily perishable, they can be easily stored for 5-10 days.” For non-vegetarians, eggs are an excellent option for a source of protein that can be easily stored in the fridge.  As long as chicken and fish are not contaminated, she says non vegetarians can store these items as well.

When it comes to fruits, apples and watermelons are not easily perishable and should be stocked. What Dr Kanchan recommends though is consuming amla or gooseberries. “Amla should be consumed because it is a great source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that will help your immunity.

To avoid cough and cold we must eat amla, in whichever way we prefer,” says Patwardhan. As the most susceptible age group to the virus are the senior citizens, along with amla, it is also recommended to include small amounts of raw turmeric and pepper, to keep immunity high.  

Eat right 

It’s important that our meals are immunity boosting at this point, as that is essentially what will help us fight the virus. A very interesting dish that can help in boosting immunity is rasam as suggested by dietician Dr Nupur Krishnan.

She says that Indian spices have considerable immunity boosting powers and using them for dishes like rasam can help. Dr Kanchan also brings into perspective two important aspects while staying at home the entire time. She says that the food we consume cannot be too heavy as our movement is quite restricted which in turn affects the digestion process.

Thus she suggests that we eat food that is high in fibre and helps with the digestion process. “Using rice and Urad dal you can make idli which is very good as it contains yeast which will enhance the digestion process,” says Dr Patwardhan.

She also remarks on how people have a habit of munching in between meals and suggests one should stock up on nuts like almonds and pistachios, and fruits to avoid junk eating.  

Cook clean

While it’s important to maintain your personal hygiene, at this point, kitchen hygiene is also something that should be given importance. Kitchen equipment needs to be kept clean and disinfected.

Chef Vicky Ratnani tells us that bleach is the magic that disinfects the best. He explains how it’s done professionally in the kitchen.

“You wash all your kitchen equipment with hot soapy water, rinse it in cold water and then put in a sanitized solution of bleach and water for five to ten minutes,” says the popular chef. 

Yummy and healthy too

Chef Vicky Ratnani shares his personal quick and easy recipes for a juice and food item that boost immunity and taste yummy too...

Citrus drink 

Ingredients: Orange, lemon, jaggery, turmeric, ginger 

In one litre of water, squeeze 100 ml of orange juice, 100 ml of lemon juice, add 20 gm of jaggery, one teaspoon of turmeric and one teaspoon of ginger. Bring the mixture to a light simmer and let everything infuse for about an hour. Strain and drink. 

Lemon-soy-turmeric stir fry veggies 

Ingredients: Veggies like carrot, mushroom, bok choy, oil, ginger, garlic, green chilli, lemon juice, soya sauce, turmeric

Take a pan and heat some oil. Add some chopped garlic, ginger and green chilli. Add the vegetables. Saute them very quickly. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice, one tablespoon of light soya sauce and half teaspoon of turmeric. Saute it again and your dish is ready!

Strong within

Building your immunity by making the right nutrition choices can play a pivotal role. Nutritionist Kajal Bhathena tells you how:

Begin your day with a glass of warm water with ½ tsp honey, ½ tsp lime, ½ tsp ginger juice and pinch of cinnamon powder. This detoxes your system and boosts immunity.

Add lemongrass or mint leaves to your tea.

Increase your consumption of foods rich in Vitamin C – such as oranges, lime, lemons and melons – which are known to enhance immunity.

Garlic, turmeric and ginger are rich in antioxidants. Make sure to include these in your diet.

Beans, nuts and whole grains are rich in zinc, which helps with immunity, as are seafood, meat and eggs.

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