Kuwait

Secret to fighting COVID is in food intake, exercise, says senior dietician

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: The secret to fighting any form of disease including the coronavirus is proper food and exercise, according to Dr Mohamed Essam El-Din Mohamed Ayad, a senior dietician at the health ministry. Speaking to Kuwait Times, the nutritionist and food sciences doctor said the path to good health is in proper food intake.

“If you follow the food pyramid guidelines, you can surely avoid visiting hospitals or clinics. The problem now is that many of our foods are loaded with chemicals and additives, and these are the foods that people like the most,” he said. “Any disease can be fought through proper diet and exercise (a combination of walking and stretching). We need to understand that proper food is the only key to avoid being hospitalized,” he said.

Dr Ayad has been with the training department for nutrition and food administration at the ministry of health since 2014. He said people need to follow the hierarchy of food to make life easier. “I am a dietician by profession. I want people to be healthy. We need to properly manage the food supply to our bodies. We have to make sure we have balanced nutrients, vitamins and minerals. We have to make sure that we do not have any deficiency of vitamins and minerals in our body. You will be sick if you have excess fat, salt, sugar, iron and minerals. You can suffer from heart ailments, diabetes, etc, so be mindful of your food. We have to fight COVID with a healthy body and proper food. Any disease can be fought with a good immune system,” he said.

Dr Ayad designs diets and food programs for patients in hospitals with various health issues, including coronavirus patients. “It is sad that many died during the last two years of the virus, but the deaths were connected to other diseases. If people are able to manage their food, they’ll not suffer from any diseases,” he said.

As a former professor at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia where he taught theoretical and practical feeding applications, Dr Ayad said it is necessary for people to go back to basics, like following the suggested inverted pyramid of food and nutrition for a healthy lifestyle. “Consume foods from all levels of the pyramid to get all the important nutrients our bodies need. Dairy products can help provide calcium to support bone health, and consuming enough fruits and vegetables will provide vitamin C to support a healthy immune system,” he said. “We should avoid fast food – it is unhealthy and we do not advice people to consume it,” he said.

According to Dr Ayad, millions of people who contracted the coronavirus all over the world survived because they are healthy. He said Kuwait has managed the pandemic excellently and properly. “The fact is no one in the world was ready to face the coronavirus – even the mightiest country on earth, the US, has suffered a lot. But Kuwait alhamdulillah managed it responsibly. It has the money to provide all the necessary needs and equipment. Authorities are conducting free PCR tests and the facilities are superb,” he added.

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