The world of Tzu Chi March 2020(Vol.120)

2020 • 03 58 ellness Immunity Starts with Our Daily Habits During this critical period, I choose to place my trust in the experts’ advice to wash our hands regularly and avoid touching our face, especially the eyes, nose and mouth areas, with our hands. I will also keep my household clean, commit to a balanced diet and obtain sufficient sleep. Translated by Yew Siew Yong A fter preparing lunch, I had 15 minutes to spare before the time came to fetch my daughter from school. I retrieved my phone to check for incoming messages and scrolled through my Facebook feed. One of my friends posted a status update about his trip to the pharmacy to replenish his mother’s medications. He stepped into the pharmacy to find the shelves almost emptied of health products as well as vitamin and mineral supplements. I had also noticed several posts extolling the purported effectiveness of certain health supplements, ranging from vitamin C and protein powder to carotene and garlic, in defending against the novel coronavirus, besides exhorting others to stock up on them fast as supplies were limited. Everyone is anxious to leave home nowadays for fear of being infected with the Covid-19 virus. Once, after letting out a few coughs when riding the bus, I instantly sensed the suspicious gaze of several passengers wearing face masks on me. Averting unfounded fear Most of us are aware that a vaccine or antidote for Covid-19 has yet to be invented. In the meantime, we try our best to cope with the epidemic by striving to keep our immune system in optimal condition, hoping that even if we were to contract the disease, our innate immunity could be counted on to combat the virus. Some are willing to spend a fortune on health supplements, influenced by the belief that consuming these supplements boosts one’s defence against the virus, especially when persuaded by others who claim the same. For those left behind in the “race” for health supplements, there is no reason to fear. It is time for us to calm our restless hearts and take a step back from our preoccupation with health supplements. Instead, keep a clear mind and consider from a broader perspective: which types of foods are capable of providing the nutrients we need to fight against the contagion? Recently, everyone is in a state of high alert, warily keeping a safe distance from strangers and replacing hugs and handshakes with palms folded in greeting whenever we encounter friends and family. Yet, are we equally as careful to distance ourselves from deep-fried or sugar-dense foods that are low in nutritional value and weaken our immunity? Reassessing our diet A balanced diet and sufficient rest are essential in keeping our immune system at peak performance. We should maintain an adequate daily intake of protein-rich foods regardless of whether an epidemic is upon us, as protein is a key nutrient in supporting cell function and sustaining our immune system. However, avoid processed and deep-fried meat products. Vegetarians should minimize the consumption of mock meat and other processed vegetarian food products and fuel their protein intake with beans, legumes, nuts, tofu and soy products instead. As we consume these protein-rich foods, our