With the outbreak of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), it is common to see face masks and hand sanitizers running out of stock in the pharmacy stores. Other than having the external protection, we have to also optimize our immune system to fight against illness. What can you do? The best way is by having a balanced diet as your body uses and absorb nutrients better from natural foods to maintain a strong immune system.
If you follow ‘My Healthy Plate’ concept in your daily meal intake, you are actually getting 3 important immune system boosting nutrients which are Vitamin C, Zinc and Protein.
Protein 🍗 🐟 🧀
It is an important macronutrient for our body cells. You can find protein from animal sources such as meat, fish, chicken and seafood. For vegetarian, there are plant-based protein such as beans, legumes, milk / dairy products and tofu. In general, make sure you have 1 palm size of meat/chicken or 1 piece of square tofu at lunch and dinner to ensure adequate protein intake. You should avoid undercooked or raw meat or poultry as it contains higher level of bacteria.
Vitamin C 🍋
This nutrient is well-known in supporting a healthy immune system. When talk about Vitamin C, many of us might think about the supplement pill available in the market or oranges. Many other fruits and vegetables supply abundance of this vital vitamin too. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for an adult is 85 – 105mg/day. 2 servings of fruits per day may provide more than sufficient Vitamin C that you need a day. Don’t forget to also include 2 cups of vegetables daily as well! 🥬
1 whole kiwi (93mg of Vitamin C) + 1 slice of rockmelon (50mg of Vitamin C) = 143mg
1 cup broccoli (110mg of Vitamin C) + 1 cup of spinach, raw (116mg of Vitamin C) = 226mg
It is an essential nutrient as our body is unable to make its own. Zinc deficiency increase the risk of infection. Food sources of Zinc includes red meat, milk, beans (especially baked beans and chickpeas), nuts and wholegrain products. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with Zinc.
As the government has stepped up the risk assessment to DORSCON ORANGE on 07 February 2020, let’s continue to stay alert and make sure to practice good personal hygiene. Do wear a mask if you are having a cough or runny nose, wash your hands with soap regularly and stay at home if you are sick. Be socially responsible especially to the vulnerable group such as the kids and elderly.
If you have any general inquiries about diet and nutrition, you can contact us at our
Call-A-Dietitian hotline 983-22-983 !
Brought to you by Chong Sin Tzun, Senior Dietitian of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
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- My Healthy Plate, Health Promotion Board Singapore.
- Recommended Dietary Allowance for Normal Healthy Persons in Singapore (Children & Adolescents). Healthhub.sg. 22 Nov 2019.
- Singapore Food Composition Guidebook.