Written by Williams ABAH

Food supplements needed to boost immune system against Covid-19

There is no single food item that can prevent or cure coronavirus, at present, the Dietitians Association of Nigeria has said.

The association, however, said an adequate diet would help support the body’s immune system to fight infections.

It said its attention was drawn to several claims regarding nutrition and COVID-19, and that dietitian-nutritionists have also received several questions concerning what to eat to prevent coronavirus infection.

The dieticians said their association and relevant regulatory agencies have also not approved any single supplement or combinations to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19.

“There is no evidence that any supplement or health product will protect the body against the coronavirus.

“Nigerians are hence advised to be wary of unregulated supplement claims,” the association said in a statement signed by its National President, Prof. Elizabeth Kanayo Ngwu.

The dieticians said the immune system depends on both macro and micro-nutrients substances in foods, for proper functioning and as such, many nutrients were involved in the proper functioning of the immune system.

“These nutrients cannot be sourced from a single food rather by consuming a variety of healthy foods.

A healthy diet will, therefore, strengthen the immune system and enable it to play its role of defending the body against infections and fight diseases. Examples of these nutrients include proteins, vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D, copper, folate, iron, selenium and zinc, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, etc,” they said.

They advised that to obtain these nutrients, food selection should be done from different food groups and that these groups are: Cereals and grains: The foods in this group include rice, maize, wheat, bread, pasta, hungry rice, acha, sorghum and others.

Roots, tubers and plantain: Examples of foods in these groups include yam, cassava, garri, fufu, plantain, alubo and others.

Legumes and nuts: Examples of foods in this group include beans, bambaranut okpa, yam, bean Azam or Ijiriji or Ozaki.

According to the experts, in order to keep the immune system functioning optimally, people should maintain the consumption of an adequate diet with lots of variety.

They added that adequate diet should supply nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals, among others in the right quality and quantity.

Fruits and vegetables are especially important; selecting a colourful array; such as carrots, green leafy vegetables, fresh tomatoes, oranges, will provide with vitamins which play important roles in immune function.

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