This letter was submitted to the Straits Times Forum Page in February 2020, but they declined to publish it.

I refer to “Combating Covid-19 by Jack Sim (ST Feb 18, 2020). Mr Sim provides many excellent ideas on how to protect ourselves from Covid-19 and other viruses. The purpose of this letter is to add to Mr Sim’s list.

Nutrition Defense – Plant-based foods, especially fruits and vegetables, strengthen our immune systems. The 2 links below has the details.

  1. https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/378/protect_from_h1n1
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.

We need to find ways to up our consumption of fruits and vegetables. For example, we can put fruits in a bowl on the kitchen table, rather than hiding the fruits in the fridge, so that family members can easily grab and go with grapes, bananas, guavas, mandarin oranges, etc. Another idea is to put green veggies in our smoothies, so that the fruits in the smoothies hide the taste of the kai lan, chye sim, etc. Similarly, healthy salad creams without SOS (sugar, oil and salt) can enliven salads.

Psychological Defence – already mentioned by Mr Sim – can be supplemented by family ties, exercise, social connections and only a few minutes a day of quiet time. These lower stress and thereby strengthen the immune system.  For example, to boost family ties, adults can read books aloud or tell family stories to younger family members, or the adults can help to children write their own books, and younger family members can help their elder family members put down their stories in writing, audio and/or video.

Harvard Health Publishing: Health benefits of strong relationship