Losing weight may protect against COVID-19

Overweight South Africans can reduce their risks.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 53.8% – more than half – of South Africa’s adults are overweight or obese. And this is not just weight gain during Covid. Research dating back to 2016 indicated that the prevalence of our population aged 15 years and more being overweight or obese in South Africa was 68% for women and 31% for men.

“These are scary statistics particularly as many international studies show a link between obesity and serious COVID-19 infection,” says Dr Gert du Toit, a surgeon who practises at the multi-disciplinary metabolic centre at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital, which is accredited as a Centre of Excellence for Metabolic Medicine by the South African Society for Surgery, Obesity and Metabolism (SASSO).

But luckily there are many healthy eating options available to South Africans and one of the most delicious options is fresh mushrooms. Cultivated by South African mushroom farmers, they are affordable and available on supermarket shelves throughout the year.

Mushrooms are low in calories and contain no fat or cholesterol BUT they are loaded with dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients that make them perfect allies for weight loss.  

Moreover, meaty, umami-rich mushrooms reduce your reliance on meat by adding a unique savory flavor to meatless dishes. They also contain beta-glucans that have been proven to boost and stimulate our immune system to produce more Natural Killer cells which are essential for fighting toxins, age-related diseases, tumors and cancer.

The phytonutrients and antioxidants in mushrooms may also prevent plaque from building up along artery walls subsequently reducing blood vessel hardening and assist lowering high blood pressure.

Neither fruit nor vegetable, mushrooms are potent disease fighters and a wise addition to your diet. They pack a powerful punch of health and flavour… no wonder then that they are most people’s ‘go-to’ Superfood!

Gina McLoughlin

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