How to Stay Fit in the Time of Coronavirus

How to Stay Fit in the Time of Coronavirus
Mindful and healthy eating at home will help fight illness Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Medics on the frontline say that everyone should prep to fight coronavirus by staying fit and healthy.

Rupali Dean
April 30 , 2020
07 Min Read

With a global pandemic hovering over us, survival of the fittest has become our reality. And the fittest will be judged on the basis of their body’s immunity, and ability to ward off infections. There is a direct relationship between your health and what you are eating, your daily physical activity, sleep patterns and stress. We asked nutritionists, fitness and wellness experts about simple ways in which we can strengthen our immune systems. Here's what they said. 

Nutritionist, weight management consultant, health writer, and author. Her latest book is Fix It With Foods


Kavita Devgan

  • Vitamin C is absolutely essential for building strong immunity. You can get enough from citrus fruits and amla. 

  • Vitamin D has a significant impact on the efficacy of the immune system. So, go get enough sunlight every day. 

  • Beta-carotene too is a valuable protector of the immune system as it strengthens white blood cell production, your disease fighters in the body. Get it from carrots, sweet potatoes, red and yellow peppers.

  • You need protein too for strengthened immunity. Protein is comprised of amino acids that are utilised by the body to manufacture antibodies that protect us against a wide range of infections.

  • Finally, curcumin, which we get from turmeric, is a strong cold and flu fighter. It has both antiviral and antioxidant properties to help your body ward off any viral infections. That is why eating a pinch a day of pure haldi is important.

CEO & Founder, Soneva, whose properties are known for their sustainability practices

Sonu Shivdasani

  • Go for a plant-based diet, avoid red meat and animal proteins.

  • Do some varied exercises, for example yoga one day and the gym the next.

  • Breathe deep and try to relax. A bit difficult during these trying times, but it is important. Regular meditation helps reduce inflammation and stress. Be happy.

  • Exposure to sunlight generates Vitamin D which is essential for activating T Cells.

  • There are a number of other anti-virals which have been used in Ayurveda for centuries, including ginger, garlic, apple cider vinegar and honey, as well as turmeric (also known as curcumin) which is activated when combined with pepper. Our in-house Dr Lakshman recommends incorporating these immune-boosting foods into your daily diet.

Deputy Manager (Service and Research) at Dr Shikha Sharma’s Nutrihealth

  • Focus on gut health which is the centre of your immune system. Probiotics are friendly-live bacteria found in foods such as curd, buttermilk, kefir, etc. 

  • Consume your Vitamin A-B-C-D-E’s on a daily basis.

  • Use natural herbs for boosting Immunity. Amla, tulsi, ginger, black pepper, turmeric, ashwagandha and giloy are among the best ones.

  • Workout, exercise and sweat. Yoga, floor exercises, spot running and jogging, dancing etc. are some activities you can pursue to get to your fitness goals.

  • Proteins are the primary substance required by our body to make and repair cells and tissues. Eggs, fish, chicken, pulses, lentils, legumes, milk, and milk products are some vital sources.

Founder of Harlenez’ Health Clinic, which specialises in kids and sports nutrition and personalised weight-loss programmes. 

  • A daily diet rich in colourful fruits and vegetables will help rev up your body’s immune system as they come packed with essential nutrients like Vitamin A, E and C along with zinc and calcium. Make sure your diet includes a morning smoothie made with carrots, spinach, mangoes, oranges and lemons. 

  • Regular exercising improves the overall blood and nutrient circulation in the body. This makes it easier for infection fighting cells to travel throughout the body minimising the risk/chances of catching any virus. A minimum of 45 to 60 minutes of exercise five days a week is recommended. 

  • There’s no debating the fact that a regular intake of H2O is extremely important. This is mainly because a fluid in your circulatory system called lymph, which contains infection-fighting white blood cells, is largely made up of water. This simply means that the more water and fluids you consume, the more your body will produce lymph and will be capable of fighting diseases. Hence it is important that you get a daily consumption of 21/2 -3 litres of water. Bonus points for having the water warm as it will also be soothing to your throat. 

  • An important and yet a lesser spoken way to improve your immunity is by ensuring you get seven to eight hours of sound and uninterrupted sleep each night. Lack of sleep weakens the body and easily makes you more susceptible to illnesses. 

  • It is wise to stay away from sick people and maintain good personal hygiene, like washing your hands regularly, wearing a mask at all times while stepping out and being mindful and maintaining social distance even after lockdown. 

    Lemon and orange sorbet

Spiritual guide and healer; thought leader, joyologist, author

  • Walk barefoot. Doing this every day for a little while shall keep you grounded to earth’s energy and dispel negativity from your aura. 

  • Chew on a few bitter leaves. Curry leaves, neem or Indian basil (tulsi) eaten on an empty stomach every day clears acid build up and preps the system for any dietary onslaught. 

  • De-clutter your mind. Empty your digital gadgets of information/ photos, posts, emails etc, that you have outgrown (including FB friends). This shall release you from old energies and make space for healthier choices. 

  • Introduce your body to gut-cleansing foods. Remove white foods including dairy, flour and refined sugars. This would remove sluggishness and improve absorption of energy giving enzymes from all foods to your body. 

  • Meditate on gratitude. Know that this too shall pass. There is nothing that has stayed forever. Focusing on gratitude for all that is, helps the mind become immune to negativity and makes the human spirit stronger. 

Botanist and research specialist

Sangeeta Khanna

  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants. Amla is the best bet but all citrus fruits, berries and mustard family greens are great. All aromatic herbs are great.

  • Keep the protein content of your food high. Beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, dairy, poultry, fish are good options. 

  • Keep taking your supplements if you have had deficiencies. 

  • Practice nasya with coconut oil. 

  • Include all spices in your food in amounts that the traditional recipes recommend along with natural fats and cold pressed oils.

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