As all of us continue to adjust to a new normal amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s essential to practice good self-care and prioritize our health. Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDE, a registered dietitian at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), highlights the importance of staying well-nourished through nutrition. “Your body’s ability to fight infection and disease depends on your immune system. Although there are no special foods or dietary supplements that can prevent COVID-19, healthy living strategies can help support your immune system now and all year long,” she says.
Margaret answers below some frequently asked questions from patients and caregivers on how to eat healthy during this time.
LLS is here for you. We encourage blood cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and families to contact our Information Specialists for free, one-on-one support at 800-955-4572 or by email or chat here.
Q. Can I catch the virus from food?
COVID-19 is not a foodborne illness. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports, “Currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects. For that reason, it is critical to follow the four key steps of food safety — clean, separate, cook, and chill.”
Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Food safety rules also apply to take-out and delivery foods, which should be eaten within two hours of cooking, and leftovers must be stored safely and reheated to a safe temperature. For more information on food safety for blood cancer patients, view LLS’s Food and Nutrition Facts.
Q. How can I make meal times feel less lonely?
Sharing a meal virtually with loved ones and friends is a great way to boost spirits and stay in touch. Schedule video chats over meal times. Consider hosting a virtual potluck where everyone shares their favorite dishes or recipes.