A healthy diet, understood as “sufficient, complete, balanced, satisfactory, safe, adapted to the diner and the environment”, is the recommendation that the general population should attend, and also people affected by covid-19 with mild symptoms or the asymptomatic.
Scientific evidence does not support that any food group protects against covid-19, but it does support that some hoaxes and half-truths, such as the disproportionate consumption of micronutrients such as vitamin D or iron, can be especially harmful to health.
Neither garlic nor ginger prevent infection; the properties of zinc in many foods do not prevent infection; probiotics – which have been shown to be highly effective in numerous infections – do not improve the treatment of this disease.
In recent months there have been reports of numerous medical societies and organizations and specialists in nutrition and endocrinology to lay the foundations for the most adequate diet during the pandemic and to try to banish the many hoaxes that swarm in this regard.
María Barado, specialist in nutrition and dietetics, emphasized this lack of scientific evidence and observed that what has been shown is the impact that the microbiota or intestinal flora has on the development of the worsening of the symptoms of the disease and the importance therefore that it is in the best possible conditions.
“When news is given about the supposed protective effect of a food against any pathology, it is not taken into account that it can be harmful for those who suffer from a basic disease and that said food can worsen it,” María Barado told EFE, Professor of Nutrition at the International University of La Rioja (north).
The Spanish Nutrition Association and the General Council of Official Associations of Dietitians-Nutritionists concluded that the consumption of certain foods or a certain diet “cannot prevent the risk of contagion from healthy people, and in sick people the diet could only help in the managing the symptoms of the disease itself, but in no case treating it “.
And those organizations point out that a healthy diet, understood as “sufficient, complete, balanced, satisfactory, safe, adapted to the diner and the environment”, is the recommendation that the general population should attend, and also those affected by the covid- 19 with mild or asymptomatic symptoms.
María Barado stressed in this regard that there are seven basic recommendations to benefit from a healthy diet: hydration; five servings of fruits and vegetables a day; increase the consumption of whole grains and legumes; consume low-fat dairy; consume protein of animal origin, especially lean meats, oily fish, eggs or cheeses; increase the consumption of nuts and olive oil; and avoid ready meals.
Among the recommendations that have been disseminated in recent months and that in his opinion may be more dangerous to health, he cites the consumption of vitamin D or iron -associated with “lactoferrin” – without being prescribed by a professional, and observed that the consumption of these micronutrients can cause an accumulation in the body that leads to harmful effects.
Vitamins and minerals
Barado recalled that vitamins and minerals are essential to strengthen the immune system and that the main sources to obtain them are fruits and vegetables, emphasized the preference to lean towards those that are “seasonal”, and also insisted on the importance of milk and its derivatives as sources of protein and calcium.
Unverified information “can cause damage to people’s health since it can act against a pathology that the individual has previously,” the professor warned, and referred to how people’s perception of it has changed. what is a “healthy diet” and how this concept has been adapted to the new opportunities that come from other markets.
Until trends were imposed on the limitation of the consumption of certain foods, diets that propose the exclusion of some products and even intermittent fasting, said the specialist, who stressed the importance of not attending to information “without any scientific rigor” to avoid situations that may endanger people’s health.