DEPARTMENT OF FOOD and NUTRITION
COLLEGE OF COMMUNITY SCIENCE
DR. RAJENDRA PRASAD CENTRAL AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY
CREDIT SEMINAR ON:
IMPORTANCE OF NUTRITION DURING COVID-19
DR. GITANJALI CHAUDHARY
Deptt. Of Food and Nutrition
MSc. Food and Nutrition
• Introduction of Coronavirus
• Vulnerable sections during COVID-19
• Spreading of disease
• Immune System
• Link between Nutrition and Immunity
• Immune response to COVID-19
• Role of Nutrition during Pandemic
• Immune Boosting Nutrients
• Misinformation and Disinformation durig Covid-19
• Infodemic and Infodemic Monikers
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause
illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such
as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Covid-19 is the name of the disease caused by virus Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
In 2019, the CoV infection began in Wuhan, Hubei, China.
Coronaviruses are a group of related RNA virus that cause disease.
Coronaviruses constitute the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae, in the
family Coronaviridae order Nidovirales.
They have characteristic club-shaped spikes that project from their surface.
Their size is highly variable and generally is an average diameter of
They are enclosed in an envelope embedded with a number of protein
The Lipid bilayer, Envelope, Membrane proteins, and Nucleocapsid
protect the virus when it is outside the host cell.
VULNERABLE SECTIONS DURING COVID 19
People with chronic medical conditions such as- Diabetes, heart
disease, lung disease, and immuno-compromised individuals,
appear to be a greater risk of developing severe symptoms.
COVID-19 is projected to hit particularly hard the food, nutrition,
and health security of vulnerable groups including young children,
pregnant and lactating women social and health inequities.
Source :WHO, FAO, 2020).
How does the disease spread?
mouth or nose
when a covid-
on Surface or
are too heavy
to hang in the
quickly fall on
Directly - when contaminated hands
touch the mouth, nose, eyes
Indirectly: when contaminated
surfaces are touched.
• Dry Cough
• Shortness of breath
• Muscle pains
• Sore throat
• Runny nose
• Loss of taste and smell
• Nausea or Vomiting
• Loss of appetite
on average 5-6 days
someone is infected
with the virus
however it can take
up to 14 days also.
An immune system is a system of
biological structures and processes
within an organism that protects
In order to function properly, an
immune system must detect a wide
variety of agents from bacteria and
viruses to parasitic worms and
distinguish them from the organisms
own healthy tissue.
Immunity deals with the functioning
of immune system and protects our
body from harmful external
LINK BETWEEN NUTRITION AND IMMUNITY
Nutrition has an important role in supporting
the immune system and maintaining proper
Diet has a profound effect on people’s
immune system and disease susceptibility.
Adequate nutrition is required for all cells to
An “activated” immune system further
increases the demand for energy during
periods of infection.
• The immune system’s demands for nutrients
can be met from exogenous sources i.e. diet,
or if dietary sources are inadequate, from
endogenous sources such as body stores.
• Micronutrients and dietary components have
very specific roles in the development and
maintenance of an effective immune system
throughout the life course or in reducing
Source: Caroline et.al. (Aug, 2019)
ROLE OF NUTRITION DURING PANDEMIC
• Good nutrition is always important, but during this pandemic, it’s even more
important because a well-balanced diet of nutritious foods helps support a
strong immune system.
• A proper diet can ensure that the body is in proper state to defeat the virus
and preventing non-communicable diseases that are risk factors for higher
COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.
• Optimal nutrition and dietary nutrient intake impact the immune system
through gene expression, cell activation, and signaling molecules
Aman and Masood et.al. (May,2020)
IMMUNE RESPONSE EVENTS AND NUTRIENTS
Activation demand for energy yielding
Glucose, amino acids and fatty acids
Metabolic machinery involved in energy
generation and biosynthesis
Many different vitamins and minerals
Maturation, Differentiation and responsiveness
of immune cells
Vitamins A and D.
Cellular proliferation, increasing the number of
immune cells available
Requires proteins and various
Induces production of lipid-derived mediators
(prostaglandins and leukotrienes )
Requires fatty acids
Function: Act as an Antioxidant and radical scavenger
and helps in modulating the host immune responses in
Sources: Sunflower oil, Safflower oil, Almonds,
Pistachios, Wheat germ oil.
Function: Antimicrobial effect, reduces pro-
inflammatory effects and Promotes healthy Gut
Sources: Milk and its product, Sunlight exposure.
Function: Intestinal immune regulation, Cytotoxic
activity, Reduces inflammation, Amino acid synthesis,
Sources: Soyabean, Lentil, Moong dal, etc.
Function: Cytotoxic activity, Antibody production &
Metabolism, Antibody response to Antigens.
Sources: Liver, Green leafy vegetables, Broccli,
Beet roots, etc.
Function: Gut Microbiota, Intestinal immune
Sources: Fish, Meat, Poultry, Eggs, Milk and its
Function: Stimulates Antibody formation, Supports
Sources: Citrus fruits(orange, lemon, mausmi), Raw
mango, Amla, Green chilli, Capsicum.
Function: Protects by keeping skin and tissues in the
mouth/stomach/intestines & respiratory system healthy.
Source: Sweet potatoes, carrots, mango, papaya, egg.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Function: Enhances the function of immune systems.
Source: Fish (Tuna, Mackerel, Saloman), Other sea
foods, Flax seeds, Walnut etc.
Function: Helps to reduce Oxidative stress Altering Host
Response to Viral infections.
Source: Sea foods, meat, poultry, eggs, Pulses, Legumes
Function: Plays a role in Innate and Acquired
Immunity by boosting Immunoglobulins.
Source: Nuts, Whole grains, Sunflower seeds
Function: Plays a role in the body’s healing
Sources: Egg& Poultry, Soy products, Beans
& Pulses, meat, Fish & Sea foods.
Function: Hydration helps to relieve
congestion and flushing of toxins and
maintain the mucous membrane of
the nose and upper respiratory tract
Sources: Coconut water, Nimbu Pani,
Green Tea, Soups, Milk, Buttermilk.
PREBIOTIC- Special forms of Dietary Fibers
that stimulates the growth of gut microflora.
Source: Garlic, Onion, Banana, Barley, Oats,
PROBIOTIC- Special strains of Live Bacteria
found in foods.
Sources: Yoghurt, Fermented milk, Fermented
Bacteria: Lactobacillus, Streptococcus,
GUT HEALTH THROUGH PROBIOTIC BACTERIA
They Promote human health by inhibiting the growth of
pathogenic bacteria .
Probiotics compete nutrients for growth and proliferation that
would be utilized by pathogens.
It strengthen the intestinal barrier.
Bacteria such as Lactobacillus and L. plantarum can inhibit
attachment of Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (gram-ve) in the
HERBS, CONDIMENTS AND SPICES
Function: Immune Boosters From the
Kitchen Possess Antiviral/ Antimicrobial
activity which helps to fight infections.
Sources: Ginger, Tulsi, Lemon grass,
Turmeric, Mint, Anise, Cumin seeds,
Cinnamon, Black pepper, Ajwain, Cloves,
Source- FSSAI, Eat Right during
FOODS TO AVOID/
MINIMIZE TO PREVENT LOW IMMUNITY
▪ Saturated fats
▪ Trans fats
▪ High salt
▪ High sugars
▪ Refined sugars
▪ Refined flours
PREVENT OXIDATIVE STRESS THROUGH FOOD
Oxidative stress is an
imbalance of free radicals
and antioxidants in the body.
Which leads to cell and
These pro-oxidants need to
be scavenged with the help
However, nutrition is an important element of care. Optimized nutrition
care of the ICU COVID-19 patients maintains GI tract function, sustain
immune defenses, and avoid severe loss of muscle mass and function.
The nutritional assessment and the early nutritional care management of
COVID-19 patients must be integrated into the overall therapeutic
MULTI-LEVEL FRAMEWORK ACTION TO
SUPPORT NUTRITION DURING THE PANDEMIC
Individual • Try to eat well-balanced meals.
• Selection of foods rich in macro and micro nutrients
• Maintain a healthy lifestyle, regular sleep.
• Avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs
• Refrain from spreading misinformation related to
nutrition and dietary intake .
Community • Spread awareness regarding hoarding and “panic-buy”
• Identify and support populations at risk of malnutrition
within the community, especially elderly and patients
with chronic diseases.
• Create a reliable support system to ensure availability,
access, and affordability of essential food commodities
to all members.
National • Mobilize resources in order to finance food purchases
and provisions .
• Support agricultural and food production industries.
• Closely monitor and inspect food prices and markets.
• Build networks with the private sector, the international
agencies, and local communities.
• Maintain high levels of transparency, critical to build
trust, support, and compliance.
Global • Assure continuous flow of global trade, avoiding any
trade restrictions would be beneficial to keep food and
• Reduce import tariffs and other restrictions on food
Farah and Rena et.al. (2020)
“A massive infodemic: an overabundance of information some
accurate and some not that makes it hard for people to find
trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.”
The fake news, misleading, and misinformation circulating on the internet
are referred to as “Infodemic monikers”
Fake News - News consisting of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread
via traditional news media or online social media
Misinformation - Spreading false or inaccurate information (including false
rumors, or insults and pranks
Disinformation - False information which is intended to mislead, especially
propaganda issued (government organization or the media) - malicious
content such as hoaxes, spear phishing and computational propaganda
Source: DR. Subbarao ICMR-NIN
Many people believe false information about food safety
risks posed by COVID-19
• 3,781 respondents.
• Two-thirds were from the UK, U.S.,
India and Ireland.
• The results highlight how dangerous the
spreading of misinformation can be 43%
of participants wrongly believe that it is
safe to eat fruits and vegetables that have
been washed with soap or diluted bleach.
• 21% believed “drinking water flushes all
COVID-19 viral particles into the
oesophagus and then the stomach.
• False information to likely to be believed
Ruani and Reiss (2020)
Coronavirus Goes Viral: Quantifying the COVID-19
Misinformation Epidemic on Twitter
• Research Conducted on Twitter using 14 different
trending hash tags and keywords related to the
• Study included 673 Tweets.
• Most Tweets were posted by informal
• 129(19.2%) belongs to verified Twitter accounts.
• In total 153(24.8%) Tweets included
misinformation and 107(17.4%) included
unverifiable information regarding the COVID-19.
• The rate of misinformation were higher among
informal group accounts.
Good nutrition is key to build immunity, protect against illness and infection,
and support recovery. Nutrition and immunity is not just for the present
covid-19 crises .It is a life long requirement to protect from these kinds of
Healthy balanced diets are key for boosting immunity and preventing non-
communicable diseases that are risk factors for higher COVID-19 morbidity
Avoiding unsafe food such as from unknown source and improperly stored
food and infected food.
The responsibility of individuals is to avoid the spread of misinformation
related to nutrition and dietary intake, and the COVID-19.
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Information has been taken from WHO (World Health Organisation).