Need to eat a balanced diet during COVID Pandemic

aul deepali
aul deepali

Thakar Basati

CHICAGO: Sikh Senior Citizens did a zoom meeting recently with Health Educator and Nutrition Coach Deepali Aul, who isvery familiar with Indian foods.

She did all her nutrition studies in USA, but being familiar with Indian Pakistani foods and good listening makes her favorite among Seniors. They repeatedly ask for her presentations. Being stuck in homes during Covid, people either are eating more foods or aren’t eating healthy.

To make it easy and simple she covered it under ZODIAC. Every letter identifies vitamins and minerals. There are some other important vitamins and minerals like vitamin B, E and mineral Selenium that one can get from diet and the environment. In order to fight any infection, diet plays big part. But to take these vitamins and minerals can also cause harm, so always check with physicians before gulping.

During COVID, everyone is staying inside, No need for heavy breakfast anymore. Lunch should be moderate and dinner light and early. Quantity of fruit should be limited too. One can have an apple a day, a banana a day but early in the day. One can replace fruit with salads too. In ZODIAC, first letter Z refers to Zinc in diet. It helps in controlling infections like flu etc. You can find Zinc in pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chickpeas, yogurt and chicken. Next letter is O for Omega 3 found in fish, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts. Avocados too have lot of it but may not suit everyone.

Eggs don’t have much Omega 3. Flax seeds should be kept in dark side of fridge as it oxidizes easily. Vegetarians can take Omega 3 capsules too. People do not have time to sit in sun anymore. The need for is vitamin D everyday. Vitamin D deficiency is responsible for many illnesses like fatigue, tiredness and mood swings etc. So it is important to get vitamin D checked about twice a year. Some labs like Quest, Labcor do it for around $40.

People with diabetes should get vitamin D and vitamin B 12 checked, as Metformin is known to cause deficiency of both of them. Doctor can prescribe right doze for these vitamins depending on test results. To get enough vitamin D, you need to sit in sun for about 20 minutes a day with uncovered skin.

Next letter is vitamin I stands for Iron, which is responsible for blood production. People with Diabetes, high blood pressure are known to be deficit in Iron. Check your nails and eyes, if they seem whitish, get your blood work done. Shortage of Iron causes, shortness of breath too. Iron level should be more than 10. You can get sufficient amount of Iron from fish, spinach, Kale, black channa, green vegetables and beets.

Next letter is vitamin A, which is responsible for eyesight, skin, and digestion. Deficiency can cause blindness in children. You can get sufficient Iron from carrots, green peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes and red peppers. Next letter is vitamin C which helps fight infections. In combination with Zinc, it is recommended even by CDC. Guava has most vitamin C. Other fruits and vegetables are fresh Amla, red pepper, green peppers, fresh lemon and fresh citrus juices.

Besides these you also need vitamin B, which has various types.  Find vitamin B in lentils, chicken, eggs and fish. One can find Vitamin E in almonds, spinach, avocado and sunflower seeds, Minerals in garlic, broccoli, and barley. Frying reduces many essential nutrients, although it makes foods tasty. You can germinate seeds too for better results.

For Indian cooking making chapati, add methi, palak, yogurt, flax seeds. Cinnamon taken empty stomach in morning helps control diabetes. Basmati, brown rice is better in limited quantity than other rice. People with diabetes shouldn’t eat fruit after 4pm to keep sugar in control.

 Avoid Gluten laden foods in evening for better control on sugar. Get A1C test done about twice a year. Take sugar readings every morning to control sugar intake during day. People who use protein powder are wasting money. They should instead eat vegetables, nuts and fruit. Wheat grass juice should be taken fresh only. To get more info about Sikh Senior Citizen activities, please contact S Iqbal Singh Chopra at 224-358-7769, S Surinderpal Singh Kalra at 847-305-9119 or