COVID19 Highlights Need To Ensure Good Nutrition
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
This well-known quote from Hippocrates is perhaps never more applicable than now, in an era of recurring viral infection outbreaks that are capable of threatening lives, livelihoods, societies, and economies.
Hippocrates’ sage advice has been backed up in modern times by scientific research showing that a key building block for strong immune systems is a healthy diet that allows people to meet their requirements for essential nutrients—particularly those nutrients that have the capability to boost immune system strength. Certain vitamins and minerals can be singled out for their well-known antiviral properties when safe levels of intake are not exceeded; these include specific minerals (zinc, selenium, iron) and vitamins (A, D, C , and others).
Billions of people around the world, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are not being reached by supplementation programs (or food fortification, for that matter), and rely largely on less-nutritious, staple-based foods. Lack of essential micronutrients in their diets leave these people vulnerable to disease and infection. That’s why HarvestPlus works with several CGIAR centers and national agricultural research systems to develop and deliver staple crops that are biofortified to contain higher levels of iron, vitamin A, or zinc.