"Diet plays a major role in preventing swine flu as it affects mostly the people with low immunity level," said New Delhi-based nutritionist Shikha Sharma. "Taking food rich in antioxidants boost up the immunity level. Fresh fruits and vegetables contains lot of antioxidants," she told.

Juices made from fresh carrot, amla and spinach can also help people prevent the disease caused by H1N1 virus.

Ishi Khosla, clinical nutritionist and founder of Whole Foods India, a chain of cafe cum retail outlets, said herbs such as tulsi, garlic and turmeric can also help boost immunity."The antioxidant property of garlic also helps boost the immune system by increasing natural killer cells," she said.
 
She noted that loss of appetite is one of the symptom of swine flu. When asked for an ideal diet for those who have already been affected by the virus, she advised, "Do not force yourself to eat. Take small and frequent meals. Include more of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet and take plenty of fluids including vegetable soups."  

They should avoid sharing food and drink and avoid tea and coffee, cautioned the nutritionist who has been actively working in the field of preventive medicine for the past 15 years.

"In fruits have more of apple, orange, pear and grapes and in vegetables, have more of spinach, cabbage, and other colorful vegetables," Sharma added.



According to health ministry officials, over 21,000 cases of swine flu have been reported so far this year, making the number of affected people highest since 2009 when over 27,236 cases were reported. With over 5,262 reported cases and 251 deaths between Jan 1 and Feb 26, Rajasthan is so far the worst affected state this year.

Health Minister J.P. Nadda recently announced that there was no shortage of drugs to treat swine flu, adding that swine flu vaccine may not offer foolproof protection against the virus and that personal protection measures like a wearing a mask and maintaining cleanliness can go a long way in preventing the spread of the disease.

 

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