Most of us are well-informed that vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters. In fact, lacking in vitamin C can make you prone to fall sick and getting infected easily. Aside from the supplements we are taking daily, there are other ways to boost our immune system - which is via the food that we consume. We are what we eat.\r\n\r\nMotherhood.com.my in collaboration with Enfagrow A+ Malaysia, invited Ms. Rozanna M. Rosly, the Head of Dietetic Services Department, Clinical Dietitian at UM Specialist Centre to discuss on the optimal nutrition you and your family need during this pandemic. Hosted by Ms. Debbie Goh, an actress, producer and Enfagrow A+ Mum, they answer your questions regarding the healthy choice of nutrition that you need via MEDTalk Live.\r\n\r\n\r\nQ1: In your opinion, for the general populations, what are some of the important nutrients that we may potentially lack in our diet during this MCO period?\r\nMs. Rozanna: The important things is to know what is a balanced diet and how you can eat right. We need to have nutrient-dense food in order to cope with the stress and increase our immune system against the infection.\r\n\r\nSimilar to others, my first instinct when it comes to immune system to have a mega dose of vitamin C, supplements, and fresh juices - which is not wrong, but we have to rethink about that.\r\n\r\nThe KEY to proper nutrition is variety and balance. By consuming a balance diet means that it should follow the principle of balance, moderation, and variety.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nYou have to eat a moderate amount of food (do not overeat!), with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and meats. All of these foods provide the energy and nutrient that we need, naturally.\r\n\r\nRemember, the biggest portion should be vegetable, and then protein and carbohydrate. A small portion of fruits is good as well.\r\n\r\n \t\r\nFruits and Vegetables are Antioxidants\r\n\r\n\r\nWhen we are filling our plates with fruits and vegetables, we are filling our plates with antioxidants. As we know, vitamin C is one of the important antioxidants. You can get all of the vitamins such as vitamin C, E, and A from the citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, lemons, carrots and Omega eggs.\r\n\r\nSERVING TIPS: Add fruits and vegetables in our meal such as in soup, serve as salads or smoothies!\r\n\r\n \t\r\nVitamin D\r\n\r\n\r\nBecause we are at home, we are not getting enough sunlight, thus, we are lacking of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium, which is needed for strong bone and growth.\r\n\r\nSOURCES of vitamin D: Fortified milk and dairy, fortified juices, oily fish and fortified spread. Make sure to double check as not all margarine and butter contains vitamin D.\r\n\r\nOther nutrients that we are lacking but is important to improve our immune system:\r\n\r\n \tZINC: You can get zinc from beans, chickpeas, lentils, wheat germ, nuts and seeds, meat, poultry, and yogurt.\r\n \tPROTEIN: Protein acts as the building block of our immunity. Good sources of proteins are peanuts, seeds, fish, seafood, milk, yogurt, and cheese.\r\n \tWATER: Stay hydrated even if you are at home! Other than plain water, you can stay hydrated by consuming more fluid such as milk, yogurt drink, juices, and soup.\r\n\r\nOr you can start drinking warm water with lemon to stay more healthy like Ms. Debbie.\r\nQ2: What are some of the immunity boosting foods that can help support their mental well-being and gut health during these tough times?\u00a0\r\nMs. Rozanna: When we look at immunity, it is important to practice good eating habits and choose foods that can strengthen our immune system. When we say immune system, we should pay more attention to balancing the nutrition, the stress, and the food.\r\n\r\nInstead of the MCO that everyone knows, my MCO is 'Maintaining the Children's Orders', where the children influences what you eat. For this question:\r\n1. Eat a 'rainbow'\r\nBy this, it means tht we should eating all of the essential vitamins and minerals in one plate.\r\n2. Your gut health is AS important.\r\n\r\n\r\nOur gut health, our stomach is the one that provide the good bacteria and immunity in our body. So if we look at balancing in this context, we need to look at how to balance the \u2018soil\u2019 and \u2018fertiliser\u2019.\r\n\r\nFertiliser refers to the prebiotics: fibre foods\u00a0 such fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes. These foods are the fertilisers to our stomach bacteria.\r\n\r\nWhile, 'soil' refers to the probiotic. Probiotics are good bacteria that protect our gut. Sources of good probiotics are cultured milk and fermented food such as Kimchi, Miso, tempeh, and sourdough bread. These are good probiotics. However, we need prebiotics so then probiotics can function well.\r\n3. Get enough sleep\r\nEnough sleep is important to both children and adults. Lack of sleep affects immunity as well. How much sleep do we really need? Based on a study in 2016;\r\n\r\n \tChildren age 1-2 years old = 11-14 hour of sleep including naps.\r\n \tChildren age 3-5 years old = 10-13 hours of sleep including naps.\r\n \tAdults = 6-7 hours of sleep at night.\r\n\r\n4. Omega-3 and Omega-6 rich foods\r\n\r\n\r\nOther than vitamin C, people are starting to realize the importance of Omega-rich foods. Our body doesn't produce these fatty acids. So, we need to get it from our diet.\r\n\r\nSOURCES of Omega-3 and Omega-6: Tuna, salmon, eggs, and milk.\r\n5. Milk and dairy products\r\nBased on a lot of study I read recently, fortified milk that is enriched with MFGM and DHA can improves the behaviour regulation in children. It helps to calm our children and is shown to have a protective effect in our stomach. In short, it helps our body to fight infection.\r\n\r\nInterestingly, in some Japanese studies, they found that dairy products that are enriched with MFGM can improve the ability of elderly women. This show that MFGM helps to improve the children's immunity and for adult, it helps in enhancing the abilities.\r\n\r\nTIPS: Since fresh milk has expiry dates, you can opt for powder milk.\r\n6. NO and no to cigarettes!\r\nParents, please keep the cigarettes away. Smoking cigarettes can decrease the immunity of the adult and the children.\r\n7. Chicken Soup\r\nChicken soup or chicken broth can also helps to improve the immunity. It is anti-inflammatory. When you make chicken broth and use it in your cooking, it helps to boost the immune system.\r\nQ3: Could you please share some tips on preserving nutrients in food?\r\nMs. Rozanna: It is understandable that during this time, we need to wash and sanitize a lot of things. However, for food, prolong exposure to water, heat, and light can reduce its nutritional value.\r\n\r\nHere are some tips on how you preserver the nutrients in your food:\r\n\r\n \tVEGETABLES: Wash and chop in a bigger chunk to preserve the nutritional content.\r\n \tAVOID reheat the food a few times as it will reduce the heat sensitive vitamins. Try to cook\u00a0 it as fresh as possible.\r\n \tBOIL rice\/vegetables: The excess water is actually filled with nutrients. Instead of throwing it away, you can serve it as nutritional drink or add in into your gravy.\r\n \tFRUITS & VEGETABLES' SKINS: What maintains the nutritional component of the fruits and vegetables is the skin. Actually, when you boil vegetables or fruits such as potatoes, ginger, turnip, carrots and etc with the skin on, the nutrients will migrate to the centre of the food and keeping it in tact. Thus, you can get most of the nutrients if you boil without peeling the skin.\r\n\r\nVitamin retention by cooking method:\r\n\r\n \tBoiling: 40-70% of the vitamins\r\n \tSteaming: 75-90% of the vitamins\r\n \tRoasting: 53-90% of the vitamins\r\n \tPressure cooking:\u00a0 90-95% of vitamins\r\n\r\nOne ULTIMATE TIP from me is to freeze everything. Once you arrive home from your groceries shopping, wash and freeze all the fruits and vegetables.\r\n\r\nMs. Debbie also shared her tips on how she kept her child's food fresh:\r\n\r\n \tSalmon: Cut into small little cubes and put each cube into a small zip lock bag. This way, you don't have to defrost the whole piece of salmon everytime you need to cook for your children as it can spoil the vitamins.\r\n \tChicken essence soup: Freeze the chicken essence into ice cube.\r\n\r\nQ4: What are some of the key important nutrients that parents should look out for when choosing a beverage for their growing up children?\u00a0\r\nAlways opt for less sugar drinks when it comes to children. For fussy eater who doesn't like to drink white plain milk, you can still give them flavoured milk. But make sure your kids brush their teeth everyday.\r\n\r\nYou can also choose powder fortified milk because it is rich in calcium, protein, vitamin D, and the other essentials vitamins and minerals. As mentioned earlier, fortified milk also contains MFGM, which is good for the growth, bone health, and immunity for our children.\r\n\r\nFor children age 1-3 years old, it is recommended to take 2-3 cups of milk a day for their growth development. Make sure to wash your hands before you start preparing the milk for your children, and always mix the dilution according to the instructions as written by the manufacturer.\r\nQ5: If you have a chance to pick 5 items during this MCO, what are your essential must-buys and why?\r\nMs. Rozanna: From a dietitian point of view, I would check on the five food groups first, and then I will choose based on my personal choice:\r\n\r\n \tFor carbohydrate, perhaps bread, pasta or rice.\r\n \tFor protein, I will choose eggs and fruits such as dates because I can blend the dates, or add it into oats.\r\n \tFor vegetables, I prefer carrots. I can blend the carrots, add in into soup, broth, or make some 'acar'.\r\n\r\nPersonally, I will choose yogurt, date syrup, hand sanitizer, my exercise mat, and coffee!\r\nQ6: What are some of the healthy snacking tips that you can offer to parents?\r\n\r\n \tChickpeas - you can roast or boil the peas.\r\n \tEdamame - boil and mix with some herbs.\r\n \tMilk - you can do popsicles or popcorn if your child cannot finish his milk, or add it into the cereals.\r\n \tFruits and vegetables - serves as it is or make smoothies!\r\n \tBeverages - Choose beverages such as milk because milk is rich in protein, DHA*, and MFGM*, which boost your overall health.\r\n\r\nYou can have granola where you can make a pancake, oven bake tortilla, homemade fruit chips, and fish fingers or vegetable tempura from bread crumbs.\r\n\r\nThese are some of the healthy snacks that you can have at your home. One thing though - you just need a bigger freezer if you are going to stock up on all of these!\r\n\r\nhttps:\/\/business.facebook.com\/motherhood.com.my\/videos\/1507873422723002\/?v=1507873422723002\r\n\r\n*Scientific studies have shown that MFGM & DHA help support not only mental & emotional development, but also have positive effects on the immune system (Veeraman Wauters G, et. Al. Nutrition (2012); 28:749 752).\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn conclusion, it is important for us to have a balance diet every day. Remember the three important key points from Ms Rozanna - balance, moderation, and variety.\r\n\r\nKeep yourself hydrated and make sure you get all the nutrition needed from your meal. Stay up to date with us at story.motherhood and don't forget to follow our Facebook and Instagram for more informative content.