By Ifeoma Aka
The Dietician Association of Nigeria (DAN) has advised the people to be wary of unregulated supplements as no single item can prevent or cure COVID-19.
The National President of the association, Prof Elizabeth Ngwu, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Saturday.
Ngwu said that it was only an adequate diet that would help support the body’s immune system to fight infections.
According to her, the Association and relevant regulatory agencies have not approved any single supplement or combinations to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19.
“There is no evidence that any supplement or health product will protect the body against the Coronavirus, hence, Nigerians are advised to be wary of unregulated supplement claims.
“The immune system depends on both macro and micro nutrients (substances in foods) for proper functioning and as such, many nutrients are involved in the proper functioning of the immune system.
“These nutrients cannot be sourced from a single food rather by consuming a variety of healthy foods,’’ she said.
Ngwu maintained that a healthy diet would strengthen the immune system and enable it to play its role of defending the body against infections and fight diseases.
“Examples of these nutrients include: proteins, vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D, copper, folate, iron, selenium and zinc, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, etc.
The dietitian emphasised the need to drink clean uncontaminated water at least three litres a day (about sachets) adding that one should not wait to be thirsty before drinking.
“In order to keep the immune system functioning optimally, you are advised to maintain consumption of an adequate diet with lots of variety.
“An adequate diet should supply nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals, etc in the right quality and quantity.
“Fruits and vegetables are especially important selecting a colorful array such as carrots, green leafy vegetables, fresh tomatoes and oranges will provide you with vitamins which play important roles in immune function.
“Once you are consistent with an adequate diet, and maintain healthy lifestyle like exercise, non smoking, adequate sleep, managing stress, you will not need any supplement marketed around coronavirus.
She, however, appealed to government at all levels to come to the aid of Nigerians who could not afford food to eat especially daily wage earners and unemployed youths.
Ngwu urged citizens to stay at home and maintain good hygiene to help reduce the spread of the disease.
“You are also encouraged to exercise your mind and emotions for general wellbeing through games like ludo, scrabble, chess as well as reach out to loved ones and engage in heart-warming and cheerful conversations,’’ she advised.