By Albert Nyawawa
Medical experts have urged Kenyans to eat more traditional meals like millet and soya to improve abilities of their immune systems to fight Covi-19 infection.
“Older persons should therefore be supported to consume a variety of foods from different food groups such as staples (Maize, millet, sorghum, roots and tubers), legumes (lentils, cowpeas, pigeon peas, soya) including nuts and edible seeds and moderate consumption of animal source foods,” says the Ministry in a statement issued by Health Cabinet Administrative Secretary Dr. Rashid Aman during the Tuesday daily coronavirus update.
The ministry says older citizens are susceptible to Covid-19 infection because of many dietary factors which have existed since they were children eating only meat and lots of protein , factors compounded by natural changes in dietary behavior as individuals grow older.
Many experts have complained of unhealthy meat eating behavior among Kenyans with renowned Journalist Caroline Mutoko putting up a video days ago where she bemoaned how Kenyan men do not like eating greens and fruits.
“Older adults are more susceptible to (Covid-19) infection itself and are more likely to progress to the severe and critical stages of covid-19,” says CAS Dr. Rashid Aman, adding that healthy eating in older persons builds immunity, prevents disease and maintains good health.
Due to physiological changes of ageing, decreased immune function and pre-existing conditions such as hypertension, older persons are at significantly increased risk of Covid-19 infection, the Ministry of Health says.
The Ministry however warns that intake of high energy from staple foods like ugali, millet and other sources should be controlled by decreasing the portion size of starchy foods and limiting the intake of sugar and foods made with sugar.
Ministry of Health also says consumption of total fat and oils which are concentrated source of energy should be limited for health living. According to CAS Dr. Rashid Aman, dietary fat is associated with prostate cancer as well as colon and pancreatic cancer.
“Unregulated fat consumption may lead to developing hypertension and glucose intolerance, all of which can lead to coronary heart disease,” says the CAS.