New Delhi, 16 March 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency, and many countries, including India, are grappling with a rise in confirmed cases of Coronavirus or COVID19. For a country of the population size of 1.3 billion, India has reportedly less cases, which is indicative that the authorities are meticulous and conscious too.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Indians don’t need to panic about the outbreak of Covid-19 and Dr Rodrico Ofrin, Regional Emergencies Director, WHO was quoted saying, “There is no need to panic, as cases tested positive in India were because of travelling abroad, citizens’ caught the virus on foreign land.” However, if the virus will subside as temperature rise is yet to be determined. WHO has also advised maintaining basic hygiene as the first line of defence, like washing hands often, covering mouth while sneezing, and maintaining extreme caution for the old and very young.
It is necessary to determine what else can be done to improve health profile and fight against the possible infection. Having a resilient immune system appears to be a reliable weapon, it indeed is one’s bodies security guard against infections and other harmful invaders. Even in the world of alternative medicines, like Ayurveda, several journals talk about Yuktikrutaja Bala, defined as acquired strength is the one which is achieved by the combination of diet and physical activities.
“According to Ayurveda, any food that transforms quickly into ‘Oja’ is good for immunity. A person who has good Dhattusaar and follows Ritucharya (Ayurvedic principles according to the seasons), has good Ojas and they rarely fall sick. Food products, which can help build up Ojas and are common to Indian diet are wheat, dalia, cow ghee, cow milk, honey, amla, seasonal fruits and vegetables, paneer, fresh curd, and pulses. Ayurvedic system of medicine not only deals with treating the diseases but also aims to prevent the disease. Vyadhikshamatva (Immunity) is described in Ayurveda and this concept is considered equivalent to immunity. Nuts are given special importance for developing immunity almonds, walnuts, dried figs, dried apricots to name a few. Almonds are even more special because of availability and known health attributes. Almonds can be eaten dried or soaked overnight, and can even be pounded and added to milk. Almonds are specifically known for their richness in fibres and are full of antioxidants. Walnuts, figs, apricots, pistachios are also a great reservoir for iron, calcium, and anti-oxidants.” Says, Dr. Ela Chaudhary, a practicing Ayurvedic Doctor with specialisation in herbal medication and ayurvedic diet. She was also quoted saying, “In the current era when we are hearing about highly contagious ailments it is of utmost necessity for us to maintain a healthy lifestyle and boost our immune system before all else.”
While authorities are working as firefighters to be able to save India from an outbreak and on side-lines it is need of the hour to assist the country to grow its health profile. Government can take additional measures to ensure that food products, which come with known health attributes should be made cheaper and be available as a part of staple diet. This indeed can be done only if both central and state governments agree not to generate revenues based on these health products and allow healthful products like pulses, ghee, fruits and vegetables, dried fruits and nuts to be available in an affordable range.
Amit Lohani, Founder Director, Forum of Indian Food Importers said, “On one hand we applaud government’s efforts in containing the impact of contagious coronavirus but, on the other hand, we are seeing fear related to COVID 19 is causing Sturm und Drang in the market. We being a trade association active in the realm of food can humbly submit it to the authorities to encourage imports of health related food items specially nuts and dry fruits, which have no negative impact on Indian farmers, at a lower tariff to encourage consumers to take advantage of attractive pricing and increase the consumption of such food items in their daily diet. The main prerogative for the government right now should be to uplift nation’s health profile, boost immunity for the Indian population, and create multiple hygiene awareness programs, ensuring safety of the citizens.”