First Class

Watch your diet, stay alive

/ 04:00 AM August 02, 2020

After hearing the State of the Nation Address of the President last Monday and the announcement of the Department of Health redefining “recovered” cases to include mild and asymptomatic symptoms, one thing is clear: we need to take extra care of ourselves to stay healthy.

This was already highlighted when the first cases of COVID-19 were announced and the subsequent quarantine imposed in mid-March, but it’s important to remind everyone again, especially since over 93,354 have now tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus (DOH Bulletin, July 31).


What to eat

I looked to New Zealand because they have successfully flattened the curve.

Here are the five food groups that are recommended:


(1) vegetables of whatever type and color, including legumes and beans;

(2) fruits;

(3) grains, but mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fiber varieties such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley;

(4) lean meats and protein such as poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts

(5) milk yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives.

Meanwhile, here is a list of what to eat according to the World Health Organization. It is strongly recommended that we eat fresh and unprocessed foods every day, including:

(1) vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and silverbeet for good sources of vitamin A and antioxidants. The recommended daily serving size is two and a half cups of vegetables. Be sure not to overcook the vegetables as this can lead to the loss of important vitamins.


(2) fruits, for vitamin C. The recommended daily serving size is two cups of fruit.

(3) milk, beans, eggs and cheese for protein. It is recommended though that if possible, opt for low-fat or reduced-fat versions of milk and dairy products.

(4) nuts;

(5) whole grains such as unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat, brown rice or starchy tubers or roots such as potato, yam, taro or cassava. The daily recommended serving size is 180 grams of grains.

(6) meat, but the recommended serving size of meat is 160 grams only up to twice a week for beef and three times a week for poultry. Also, avoid processed meats because these are high in fat and salt. And if you have a choice, choose white meat such as poultry and fish, which are generally low in fat, rather than red meat.

For fresh fruits and vegetables from Baguio including lemons and strawberries, contact CLOY: Cordillera Landing On You, an effort of former Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. to help local farmers. Call 0917-867 5188 to for orders. —MARGAUX SALCEDO

Less salt

I hope that many can afford to eat fresh produce, given that most of the “ayuda” or food aid come in the form of canned goods. If you must eat canned goods, choose varieties without added salt or sugar. It might also help to drain the canned goods and rinse in water, although this would sacrifice some flavor.

Limit the amount of salt and high-sodium condiments like soy sauce and fish sauce (patis) when cooking. The daily salt intake that is recommended is only less than 5 grams or approximately 1 teaspoon.

Drink water

It is also recommended that we limit our intake of soft drinks or sodas and other drinks that are high in sugar such as fruit juices, fruit juice concentrates and syrups and other flavored drinks. Instead, drink good ol’ H2O.

It is recommended that we drink at least eight cups of water a day. You already know that. It bears repeating, though, that water is essential as it transports nutrients and compounds in blood, regulates body temperature, gets rid of waste and lubricates and cushions joints.

If water bores you, do what my mother does: add a bit of lemon or fresh ginger.

Unsaturated fats

We are allowed to consume moderate amounts of fat and oil. It is recommended that we have unsaturated fats such as those found in fish, avocado, nuts, olive oil, soy, canola, sunflower and corn oils.

But do avoid:

(1) saturated fats such as those found in fatty meat, butter, coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee and lard; and

(2) industrially produced trans fats such as those found in processed food, fast food, snack food, fried food, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines and spreads.

What to do when eating out

We are now allowed to eat out and to support those in the restaurant industry who are trying to get back on their feet, here is some good news: There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through food. (But do wash fresh fruit and vegetables under running water before eating; some also recommend to wash them in a mixture of water and vinegar or water and salt).

According to health.gov.au: “COVID-19 is a respiratory disease spreading from person to person. It is not a food-borne disease. There’s no evidence to suggest people will get infected by swallowing the virus in, or on, food or drink.”

However, one cannot tell if hands are being washed regularly enough or if surfaces are being cleaned and disinfected fast enough and droplets from infected people may land on surfaces and people’s hands.

So to be safe, here are some things we should continue to keep in mind:

(1) Be strict on social distancing.

(2) Be strict on maintaining good hygiene practices yourself, i.e. wash or sanitize your hands, wear a mask (obviously not while eating but before and after).

(3) Avoid preparing food for other people if you have symptoms of respiratory illness.


Finally, make sleep a part of your diet. Rest is the best way to boost your immune system. And experts say that this does not only mean the number of hours of sleep but also the regularity of your sleep.

Finally, I would also add prayer. It is a sure way to ensure that nothing disturbs your inner peace. My prayers for your good health are part of my “diet” (and maybe that is why I am fat).

Eat well, be healthy and be safe.

For fresh vegetables from Baguio, including lemons and strawberries, order from Cordillera Landing On You (CLOY) 0917-8675188. For special greens and other vegetables, order from Valco Fruits and Veggies (they accept wholesale orders) at 0977-372 3578. More from the author at margauxsalcedo.com. Follow @margauxsalcedo on Instagram and Facebook.

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