Diet Tips For Health Workers To Stay Fit During Covid-19 Pandemic

Diet Tips For Health Workers To Stay Fit During Covid-19 Pandemic
There has been an increase in stress among health worker during the pandemic.

Read on to know the common health issues facing the health workers and what diet they should follow to stay fit during the pandemic.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : September 13, 2021 2:35 PM IST

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the issues of food intake to centre stage once again. Since there's currently no medication to cure COVID-19, getting vaccinated against the virus and keeping our immunity strong is the best way to reduce the risk of infection and lower the chances of developing severe disease. Hence, the need for a healthy balanced diet to support the immune system has become more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for health workers who are on the frontline. Health workers are at greater risk of acquiring the infection because of their higher changes of exposure to the virus. In addition, their mental and physical health is at stake due to their daunting duties. Thus, they need utmost care in selecting their food and be more conscious about their diet.

Ritika Samaddar, Chief Dietician at Max Healthcare, has been working on the diet and nutrition issues for frontline workers during the pandemic, trying to guide and educate them about ideal meal. The renowned dietician and nutritionist delivers health talks to the health workers from time to time. In an exclusive conversation with The HealthSite, she talks about health issues facing the health workers and what diet they should follow during the pandemic. Excerpt follows:

Q. What are the common health issues facing the frontline health workers during the Covid-19 pandemic? Also, elaborate on the reasons behind.

In this pandemic, the frontline health workers have been working non-stop since the last one and a half years. With long working hours, no breaks in between, and working in conditions like wearing PPE kits, masks, etc. has affected the over health of this section of population. As the routine has been disturbed with no physical activity like walks/ gyms, etc, weight gain has been a big concern, as well as an increase in incidence of metabolic syndrome and increase lipids and blood sugar levels. There has been an increase in stress both due to the pandemic and also because one is away from family for long, which can lead to depression and insomnia.

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Q. How the diet of health workers has changed due to long working hours during the pandemic, and how it is affecting their health?

Most health workers miss their meals due to the work timings and work pressure. Most miss their breakfast in the morning, leaving them hungry by midday, then they tend to munch on unhealthy snacks like biscuits, bhujias, samosa, etc. Irregular timings and increase stress have led to indulgence in unhealthy or junk foods.

Hydration is an important concern as most while on duty with PPE kits are not able to drink fluids, leaving them dehydrated which can precipitate into dizziness, headaches, fatigue, etc. Another very common health concerns among healthcare workers is skin ailments like rashes, allergies due to wearing PPE kits and masks for long hours, also frequently using sanitizers lead to skin infections.

Q. Please share a special diet plan health workers should follow during the pandemic.

  • Start the day with a healthy breakfast: egg with porridge and milk.
  • Midday or in between duties one can take fruits or munch on nuts like almonds.
  • Plenty of liquids is recommended like coconut water, chaach, freshlime, water or fresh juice, etc.
  • Lunch and dinner can be kept simple with roti or rice with a bowl of dal and veggies.
  • Take yogurt for sure as it's a good probiotic, helps to increase immunity and improves digestion.
  • Proteins are a must as it not only helps in giving a sustained energy to the body but also helps in building immunity. Stating the day with egg helps to give the energy to work and also an excellent source of protein. Chicken should be a part of the meals to give the best quality and quantity of protein.

Q. Apart from healthy diet, what else health workers should do to stay active and fit to be able to perform their duty at their best?

  • Meditate to reduce stress.
  • Do some form of physical activity like walk, gym, aerobics, etc.
  • Follow your hobby.
  • Enjoy family and friend time
  • Eat healthy, with plenty of fluids and lots of fruits and veggies to get your micronutrients
  • Keep all the underlying comorbidities under control like diabetes, hypertension, etc.

Make healthy food choices, stay fit and free from diseases!