fruit basket


The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately targets old age adults and/or individual with dysfunctional immunity. Nutrition has been shown a substantial effect to improve immunity and overall well being to fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Certain factors like dentition, lack of appetite, purchasing power of food, and other social causes’ may already affect the diet in old age.


In order to boost power of immune system, stay healthy and ensuring active ageing in this Covid-19 pandemic, here are the following key messages for old age people. 

Message-1: Consume healthy, easily digestible food


  • Cereals and millets like wheat, rice, ragi, bajra, etc.
  • All kinds of pulses. Sprouted form can also be taken. 
  • Nuts and oilseeds like almonds, walnuts, etc.
  • Varieties of low fat milk and milk products i.e. curd, paneer, chaach etc.
  • Seasonal fruits and vegetables include dark green leafy, yellow and orange colored vegetables, citrus fruits like lemon, orange, etc. 
  • Eggs, poultry and fish (if non-vegetarian)


Message-2: Eat nutrient dense foods 


S. No. Nutrients Food Sources
1. Iron*  Amaranth leaves, horse gram whole, raisins, etc. 
2. Zinc  Gingelly seeds, poppy seeds, etc. 
3. Calcium  Poppy seeds, gingelly seeds, paneer, ragi, milk, etc. 
4. Folic acid*  Rajma, soyabean, spinach, mustard leaves, beetroot, etc. 
6. Vitamin B12 Milk, curd, paneer, egg, chicken, salmon, etc. 
7. Omega-3 fatty acid  Fish or marine sources, flaxseeds, walnuts, etc. 
9. Vitamin D*  Gingelly seeds, walnut, maize, ragi, etc. 
Add on:  Foods with ‘+F’ logo on the packets are now days available in the market. These foods are fortified with either one or more of the nutrients like folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and Iron. Fortified foods (+F) are:

                         Wheat flour and Rice (fortified with iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid), 

                         Milk and Edible oil (fortified with vitamin A and vitamin D) and 

                         Double fortified salt (fortified with iodine and iron)


Message-3: Stay Hydrated

  •   Elderly people should consume at least 8-10 glasses of water daily. Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining overall health and immunity, which in turn prevents from catching any infection. 



Message-4: Easy to cook foods


  • Choose nutritious and easy to cook food 
  • Soft cooked food recipes like vegetable pulao/ upma/ khichdi/ idli/ cheela/ uttapam
  • Eat soft fruits like banana, papaya, mango, cooked apples and soft cooked vegetables and soups (include bottlegourd, tomato, drumstick, carrot, etc.) 
  • Opt for boiling/ steaming cooking methods rather frying.
  • Avoid dry and hard consistency of meals as swallowing might becomes difficult.


Message-5: Reduce the intake of salt


  • To stimulate appetite and promote digestion, add methi dana, ajwain, saunf, hing, laung, lehsun, adrak, haldi, zeera, elaichi, kalimirch in the diet. 


Message-6: General dietary tips


  • Consume small amount of meals frequently.
  • Avoid snacking on high fat, salt, and sweet foods (HFSS). 
  • Compliment home-made accompaniments dips like green chutney to enhance variety and nutrition in the diet. 
  • The daily intake of oil should not exceed 20 grams i.e. 4teaspoons.


Message-7: Adequate sleep, physical activity and daily dose of sunlight 


  • Engage yourself in regular physical activity everyday for at least 30 minutes such as customized light exercises, yoga, stretching, walking, and gardening. 
  • Sleep for 7- 8 hours daily to improve your immunity and mental health. 
  • Get your daily dose of sunlight by sitting in verandah/balcony/terrace for at least 30-40 minutes between 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. 


Message-8: Ensure personal hygiene


  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, mouth and face.
  • Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Always cover your hand with elbow/ tissue/handkerchief. Dispose-off the used tissue immediately.
  • Avoid mass gathering and crowded places. In case of going out of home, ensure to keep at least 1meter distance from people.
  • Report if you feel any symptoms like fever, dry cough, or difficulty breathing immediately to guardian or local health care provider.

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