Malaysians are consuming healthier food options during the MCO

  • Living
  • Friday, 24 Apr 2020

To boost his immunity during the Covid-19 pandemic, Iydid has been consuming nutritious food and extra servings of kombucha jelly. Photos: Nik Iza Nik Din

There are over 5,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Malaysia now, and Iydid Aman, 18, understands how crucial it is to look after his health during the pandemic.

To boost his immune system, the teenager and his mother Nik Iza Nik Din have been consuming kombucha, a fermented tea drink with beneficial probiotics, and kombucha jelly.

Iydid says making kombucha jelly is as simple as ABC. Iydid says making kombucha jelly is as simple as ABC.

"Kombucha drinks are said to boost immunity and help foster a healthy gut. Currently, my mother and I consume homemade probiotics like kombucha tea, kombucha jelly and homemade fruit juices.

"To stay healthy, we are eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking extra fluids, and exercising regularly," says Iydid during an email interview from Kuala Lumpur recently.

Every alternate day, Iydid prepares five litres of kombucha drink, and several containers of kombucha jelly in flavours like fruit berries and coffee, which are his favourite.

"I have lots of free time on my hands now, and I do not mind making these healthy beverages for my mum and me.

"I am taking extra effort to ensure my health is in top form now. It is important to consume healthy food and load up on vitamins and minerals."

Iydid learned to make kombucha tea from his mother, a homemaker, when he was 14 years old.

"It is interesting to learn about food fermentation, the method of making kombucha and its benefits. My late grandmother used to make many fermented food items like tapai pulut, budu (anchovies sauce), and pickled maman leaves.

"My mother has a keen interest in the science of fermentation too. I think the bug has caught on to me as well," says Iydid, who is undergoing a course on sustainable living in Kuala Lumpur.

Last year, he mastered the art of making kombucha jelly through social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

"There are many kombucha jelly video tutorials on YouTube. It is easy to learn, even for a beginner like me. Kombucha jellies are refreshing and good for health."

"Homemade jellies are better as they contain no preservatives. Plus, I can control the amount of sugar used," says Iydid, who has learned a few simple recipes through social media platforms.

Parents should take extra steps to boost their children's immune system,"Parents should take extra steps to boost their children's immune system," says Hidayatun. Photos: Hidayatun Rahmat

MDLinx, an Internet-based service for medical practitioners, says eating right is one of the keys to a healthy immune system.

MDLinx's report, How To Boost Your Immune System During The Covid-19 Pandemic, states the gut and the immune system are inextricably and symbiotically connected. Eating healthy foods leads to a healthy microbiome, which leads to a healthy immune system.

Melaka-based homemaker Hidayatun Nafisah Rahmat, 35, is also taking extra effort to prepare homemade sourdough bread and buns for her family.

Sourdough bread is a type of food made from natural occurring yeasts and bacteria in flour. It contains lactic acid, which helps aid digestion and support the gut microbiome.

"Lactic acid helps good bacteria in our gut. This helps to build our immunity. I make sourdough bread from scratch using organic bread flour without preservatives and artificial colouring," says Hidayatun, who attended a sourdough bread making course in 2015.

Each week, she prepares two loaves of sourdough bread as well as buns for her three children, who are between the ages of four and eight.

Hidayatun ensures her children, Milliyya Zaynin Hulayma, four, (left) and Muhammad Zuhayr Harraz, eight, consume homemade meals to increase their immunity. Hidayatun ensures her children, Milliyya Zaynin Hulayma, four, (left) and Muhammad Zuhayr Harraz, eight, consume homemade meals to increase their immunity.

During the MCO period, Hidayatun has been cooking all meals at home. She ensures her children get the right balance of healthy fats, grains and greens.

"Even though we have limited access to fresh food now, there are many ways of preparing simple but nutritious meals for the family. Ensure the food consumed is fresh.

"Parents should take extra steps to boost their children's immune system. And one of the best ways is by consuming nutritious food and ensuring your children get enough exercise and rest."

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