As a preventive measure against novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which has infected more than 160 people and killed four individuals in India, health experts on Thursday said that to avoid any risk of infection, people have opted out from eating outside food and preparing food at home.
According to Narendra Saini, Chairman Scientific Committee at Delhi Medical Council, considering food hygiene and diet, people especially in the metro cities are preparing food at home, which is a good step for their overall health.
"While another major reason is the social distancing, which people are most considerate about. It is advised that people should avoid raw meat," Saini told IANS.
Nidhi Dhawan, HOD--Dietetics, Saroj Super Speciality Hospital in Delhi said that hand hygiene is the only major concern in ordering food or eating outside. But the restriction on food items has not yet been regulated.
"Though there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19, there is a need to adhere to the food safety and hand hygiene measures and that's a is the big question mark if we are ordering the food from outside," said Seema Singh, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis Hospital in Vasant Kunj.
"Even if the food is cooked following the food safety and hand hygiene then the delivery person should not have touched the food directly with infected hand or sneezed or coughed over the food and at the end customer should have received the food with clean hands and ate in clean utensils," Singh, told IANS.
She also added: "People are preferring home-cooked meals because then they are sure that they have followed cleanliness to cook their nutritious food. And as an added precaution, if you have suspected symptoms of respiratory illness you should avoid preparing food for other people and seek medical attention."
According to Meghana Pasi, Nutrition Consultant with Arogya World, a health non-profit organisation, ordering food from outside can not only have hygiene issues but also that they might not be balanced meals.
"Whereas anything cooked at home can be planned in a way that you use combinations or options of ingredients to make it a balanced meal and help you build immunity from outbreaks like coronavirus," Pasi said.
Sharing tips on healthy foods to boost immunity, Dhawan said: "The must include food in the daily diet are - clove, cinnamon, bell peppers, yogurt or curd (at room temperature), along with Broccoli, ginger, onion, turmeric.
"Regular consumption of hot water and green tea is also healthy. Include Nuts like Almonds, walnuts and seeds like flax, pumpkin. It is advised to strictly stay away from ice-creams," Dhawan added.