In the past six months of the coronavirus pandemic, the majority of the people have chosen to stay at home and relying on ordering food, getting takeaways, or cooking easy instant meals instead of heading out to eat which can damage the health. Instead of going for microwave meals, experts suggest opting for plant-based diets while staying at home.
Upon the announcement of the global pandemic, many people hoarded foods and other necessary items just in case there is a shortage and to avoid going outside for additional shopping trips to the grocery store during the pandemic.
While cooking at home is healthy and typically preferred over dining at restaurants or getting takeaways, the majority had chosen to buy and stick to instant foods which are often processed foods loaded with an unhealthy amount of calories and low nutritional value.
Consuming a diet filled with such food can not only the risk of developing disorders related to the digestive system merely after a few days but also cause long-term effects on the health of a person.
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However, people with little to no cooking experience who choose to stick to homemade meals can also put themselves and their families at risk of certain illnesses.
This is due to a lack of proper cleaning of specific food items before cooking, wrong storage techniques, and cross-contamination amongst different foods. Most of the time, people make mistakes while handling foods such as meat.
In fact, foodborne health conditions were associated with meat even before the start of the ongoing health crisis.
According to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, mistakes in handling and cooking food cause around fifty-eight million illnesses each, many of which require hospitalization, and around three thousand each year in the US.
Generally, scientists have identified at least two hundred and fifty illnesses that have been linked to food and cooking. Some of these are related to contamination due to toxins and chemicals but most are caused by pathogens including bacteria and viruses.
The CDC reports that some of the most common foodborne illnesses are caused by pathogens including Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Clostridium perfringens.
Food that has been contaminated and not clean or cooked properly may contain these pathogens which can then result in diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, food poisoning, fever, fatigue, headaches, and muscle pain.
In order to avoid foodborne health conditions, the solution is either to switch to plant-based diets as meats are the primary cause of the illnesses or handle or cook the food with additional care.
For instance, it is important to use separate utensils to cook foods from different categories such as meats and poultry. Make sure that food is cooked at the right temperature.
Above all, store the foods right away and remember to maintain hygiene throughout the procedure. Wash the hands, the ingredients, utensils, and even the kitchen counters regularly.
However, for maintaining health during the pandemic, plant-based diets are better than any other diets, according to experts, as they not only cut down meat and risk of foodborne illnesses but are also nutritional and low in calories.