Coronavirus is an unprecedented threat that is directly affecting the health of people all over the world. Organisations that work for public welfare like the World Health Organisation (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and also the Government of India are doing their best to educate people about the containment of Coronavirus. Since COVID-19 is a new disease, not much is known to the general public about it. One of the most important questions is can coronavirus remain stable in food and water? Let’s find out.

Can Food and Water Get Contaminated with Coronavirus? - Acko

Can COVID-19 Spread Through Food?

Extensive research is being carried out on the novel Coronavirus all around the globe. It is found that Coronavirus can last up to several days on surfaces like plastic or cardboard. Note that it can stay stable on these surfaces but cannot multiply whatsoever. This is because it requires a medium of some kind to grow or multiply.

The respiratory system of a human body is currently the best place where the virus thrives. But can the digestive tract play host to Coronavirus? Most likely not. To understand this better, one should note the nature of the human digestive tract, especially the stomach where food gets broken down for further digestion. The stomach contains powerful acids that help break down various types of food that we consume. These acids also kill pathogens, bacteria, or viruses up to a certain extent. Theoretically, the coronavirus will not be able to survive in the stomach and a person should not be infected by COVID-19 via food.

Another reason because of which Coronavirus may not contaminate food is that basic hygiene is usually maintained while preparing food. A person usually washes their hands before starting to cook. He/she would usually avoid sneezing or coughing when near raw material or cooked food. Moreover, most Indian cuisine requires food to be heated at higher temperatures. This will decontaminate food while cooking itself. Additionally, clean utensils should be used for preparing and serving meals.

Can COVID-19 Spread Through Water?

Water is one of the superfoods that keep us functioning properly. Apart from consumption, water is used in a number of other daily activities that include washing and cleaning. As far as the water used for drinking and cooking is concerned, one should not be much worried as the risk associated with contracting COVID-19 is low. This is because water undergoes various filtration processes before it reaches where municipal corporations are formed. It is also treated with various chemicals like chlorine, to make it “fit for drinking.”

In other households where treated water is not available, one can always use heat treatment. Water intended for drinking should be boiled for at least 5 to 10 minutes and then consumed. This will ensure that Coronavirus or any other harmful bacteria are eliminated from drinking water.

Water that is used for cleaning and washing may contain traces of Coronavirus. However, using soap or alcohol (at least 60%) will kill the COVID-19 causing virus. Thus, even if the water used for washing hands contains Coronavirus, it will not remain harmful when in contact with soap. Remember to thoroughly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Also, read: Coronavirus Helpline Number, India

How to Disinfect Groceries?

The Government of India has allowed people to buy groceries and medicines during the COVID-19 lockdown. People are going out in the open and buying groceries from available vendors. Unknown people may have touched fruits, vegetables, or other items on display. One cannot deny the possibility that there could be a chance of transmission in this situation. Thus, it is best to disinfect groceries as soon as you get them home.

  1. When you come home with a bag of groceries you may have to disinfect at least three things for Coronavirus – grocery bags, groceries, and the surface on which the grocery bags are kept. Bags should be thoroughly washed in warm soapy water.
  1. Consider washing any cans of food or packets directly with soap and water. For washing fruits and vegetables, using food-grade cleansers is an option. If not, consider cooking vegetables at high heat. Fruits that are covered with peels should be preferred. 
  1. After you are done with the washing and storing of grocery items, consider cleaning the surfaces on which grocery bags were kept. Using a household disinfectant like phenyl or a solution of diluted bleach should suffice. Lastly, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for the recommended amount of time.

How to Ensure Proper Nutrition During Quarantine?

Eating nutritious food is beneficial for a person’s health. It will make you stronger and active for leading a healthy life. Eating food rich in nutrition will keep various diseases at bay. Improper food intake can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. Here is how you can ensure that you are eating not only healthy but also nutritious food during quarantine:

Include Green Leafy Vegetables in Your Diet:

A typical Indian family includes green leafy vegetables in their diet regularly. These are considered a superfood as they contain iron, calcium, B-complex vitamins along with vitamins A and C. Eating green leafy vegetables can help prevent anaemia which causes extreme tiredness and weakness. One should avoid overcooking of green leafy vegetables as they will lose their nutritional value. 

Examples: spinach, amaranthus, broccoli

Increase The Intake of Legumes:

Legumes are a rich source of protein that can complete a nutritious meal. They also contain potassium, magnesium, folate, and iron. They are low in fats and cholesterol. Legumes should be preferred over meat during quarantine due to the low availability of poultry and other types of meats.

Examples: lentils, peas, and beans

Include Raw or Roasted Nuts in Your Diet:

Eating nuts can give you a host of health benefits like healthy heart, proper digestion, healthy skin, etc. A combination of nuts eaten every day will act as a source of vitamin e, copper, protein, fibre, magnesium, etc.

Examples: almond, walnut, pistachios

Include Fresh Fruits in Your Diet:

Fresh fruits are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, fibre, and minerals. These can help prevent inflammation, diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer. Moreover, it is recommended to regularly eat citrus fruits to prevent COVID-19. These types of fruits promote immunity and teach your body to fight against viruses better.

Examples: banana, apple, orange

Eat Fish if Available:

Fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D apart from iodine, minerals, protein, and other vitamins. These reduce the risk of heart attack and improve cardiovascular health. Pregnant women are advised to eat certain kinds of fish that help in the proper development of their baby.

Examples: prawns, tuna, pomfret

Also, read: Ways To Remain Healthy During Social Distancing

Include Whole Grains:

These are the best source of fibres. Apart from promoting digestion and bowel movements, fibres help decrease your cholesterol levels. Including an adequate amount of fibre in meals will also be helpful for maintaining blood sugar levels.

Examples: whole wheat, brown rice, corn

Reduce Salt Intake:

High levels of salt increase water retention in your body. More water leads to higher blood pressure and in turn more work for the heart, kidneys, arteries, etc. This has a number of ill effects on your body. Thus, limit your salt intake. Try to cut down on salty and savoury items that you are munching on randomly during the lockdown and quarantine.

Drink Enough Water:

Drinking clean water in adequate quantities has a lot of health benefits. First of all, this helps in boosting immunity by keeping your body free of toxins. It also promotes a better supply of oxygen to the vital organs. Drinking enough water will help you achieve better skin and hair texture as well.

Refrain From Alcohol:

Drinking alcohol can have several long and short-term effects on the body. You may experience vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches immediately after consuming alcohol. The long-term effects are ulcers, cancer, etc. Consuming alcohol can lead to violence. This will have a negative impact on you and your family.

Reduce the Intake of Sugar:

Consider reducing the amount of sugar intake when you are in quarantine otherwise it can have a negative impact on your health. Eating sugary food items can lead to obesity, diabetes, tooth and gum diseases, stress, etc. Sugar also promotes ageing.

Frequently Asked Question:

Take a look at some common questions.

What cleanliness measures should I take while cooking food?

You should always maintain hygiene while cooking food under normal circumstances as well. But owing to the fact that one could get infected by Coronavirus, extra measures should be taken.
Wash your hands thoroughly before you start preparing food. Keep the kitchen platform and utensils clean at all times. Avoid eating undercooked or cold food. Keep the wastebin covered and avoid mixing dry and wet garbage. These measures will help avoid COVID-19 as well as other foodborne diseases.

Is canned food safe from Coronavirus?

Canned food is virtually safe from Coronavirus, however, one should always clean the cans before opening them. It is observed that Coronavirus might not survive above 60 and below 4-degree celsius.

How can I ensure safety while shopping for essentials?

Avoid touching shop counters, fruits and vegetables that are on the display, and other surfaces that might be contaminated with Coronavirus. Use a hand sanitizer frequently. Wash your hands thoroughly when you return home.

References:

  • COVID-19 and Food Safety: Guidance for Food Businesses, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/publications-detail/covid-19-and-food-safety-guidance-for-food-businesses
  • Water and COVID-19 FAQs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/water.html
  • Food and nutrition tips during self-quarantine, World Health Organization, http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-technical-guidance/food-and-nutrition-tips-during-self-quarantine
  • Importance of Good Nutrition, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/eat-healthy/importance-of-good-nutrition/index.html
  • Nutrition advice for adults during the COVID-19 outbreak, World Health Organization, http://www.emro.who.int/nutrition/nutrition-infocus/nutrition-advice-for-adults-during-the-covid-19-outbreak.html
  • Advice about Eating Fish, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, https://www.fda.gov/food/consumers/advice-about-eating-fish

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