Making Health and Nutrition a Priority During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has created a global health crisis that has caused a deep impact on the way we perceive our world and our everyday lives.

Although much is still unknown about the Covid-19 disease, there stands one undeniable fact amongst the ambiguity: senior citizens are the most vulnerable group of people to this disease, especially those with other underlying chronic health conditions.

According to the Ministry of Health, about 75% of Covid-19 death cases in Malaysia had other health conditions. Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said out of the 65 fatal cases in Malaysia, 75% of them had comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease or cardiovascular disease, and their symptoms would be worse compared to a person who does not have comorbidities. This is generally due to their weaker immune system due to age, making them more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Senior citizens are also more likely to have other underlying medical ailments like diabetes and heart disease, which weakens their body’s ability to fight infectious diseases. Heart diseases weaken the heart’s ability to handle stress, while diabetes also weakens the immune system. Both cardiovascular disease and diabetes are linked to chronic, low-grade inflammation throughout the body — which could predispose Covid-19 patients to the severe excess inflammation that contributes to lung failure and death.

A recent multi-investigator study estimated that about 45% of all cardiovascular disease and diabetes deaths are directly attributable to poor diet. Even without Covid-19, another recent study estimated that a poor diet kills about 530,000 Americans annually — or nearly 1,500 deaths a day. Increasing consumption of healthy foods is among the priorities for reducing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Creating a healthier food system through government, business, healthcare and consumer actions must be a top priority for our nation’s health now and in the future.

According to the Malaysia National Health and Morbidity Survey, the overall prevalence of three major Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) which are type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia, remain high among Malaysian. NCD is already the main cause of death in Malaysia and it is particularly worrying because NCDs are a silent disease by nature, which results in high risk of complications when presented and detected later in life, and these diseases are difficult and costly to manage. However, all NCDs are preventable through diet and lifestyle.

Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths around the world, according to the most comprehensive study ever carried out on the subject. Millions of people are eating the wrong sorts of food for good health. Diet is the second highest risk factor for early death after smoking. By making smart food and lifestyle choices, you can help protect yourself from these health problems.

Your food choices each day affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future. Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, and promote your overall health. By taking steps to eat healthy, you’ll be on your way to getting the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, active, and strong.

Good eating habits should start early in a child’s life so they can grow up healthily. If you’re in adulthood and you’re starting to realise your body is not in the best condition, it is not too late to turn that around. Now is the best time to intervene and form good eating and lifestyle habits to achieve a better quality of life.

Food and nutrition are key elements that can’t be neglected, especially when dealing with a devious disease like Covid-19, it is best to take a firm stand that prevention is better than cure. Make sure that hygiene practices are in place, avoid crowded places, close contact interactions and of course, to eat and stay healthy.Besides washing your hands and practicing social distancing, the other first line of defence is to choose a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Following general balance, moderation and variety of healthy food guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. It is important to follow healthy-living strategies such as avoid smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, eat nutrient-dense foods, exercise regularly, sleep well and minimise stress levels.

There is a whole list of foods that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to support and improve body functions. Filling your plate with plant foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains will help protect your body against chronic disease, including heart disease and diabetes. There are a few natural plant-based foods from fruits, vegetables and herbs that are famous for its bioactive compounds and phytonutrients. At SOLLIFE, we believe in the necessity to supplement our diet with bioactive compounds,  fibers, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, peptides and antioxidants to stay healthy. With cutting-edge science and an excellent product development team, we have formulated products that will be suited for our busy lifestyle. You may check out our products and try them out today!

Authors:

Brenda Yeong Huai En
BSc (Hons) Nutrition
Product Development Specialist
One Green Solution Sdn Bhd
Dato Nazlee Mohd Kamal, PhD.
Managing Director
One Green Solution Sdn Bhd

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