While there is a lot of emphasis on Vitamin C supplementation as being a sure fire means of boosting one’s immune system against coronaviruses, Dr. Michael Goodluck says: “Drinking lots and lots of warm fluids is just as good or even more beneficial. Just warm herbal tea, the warm soups, and the warm porridges.”
The career physician was responding to Asbert News Network’s probe on how one’s nutritious intake can impact his/her chances of contracting COVID-19. He said: “Vitamin C is a very unstable vitamin. Even by just picking fruits and having them for some days out on the table breaks down a lot of the Vitamin C. It’s not as fortified. The best way to get Vitamin C from fruits is to go out in the garden, pick them directly off the tree and consume them.”
The spending power of the average Vincentian must be a primary consideration when nutrition professionals offer advice on dietary regimen, Dr. Goodluck warned. “It’s all colorful to give all these lists of micro-nutrients – but most of the persons are of the low-income group, persons of the impoverished community. Fruits and vegetables are downright expensive. Not many persons have the ‘back yard garden’, and even then, it’s being stolen – praedial larceny is very, very rampant.”
And you have to keep in mind that it is very expensive to ‘eat healthy.’
According to the General Practitioner, understanding the concept enshrined in the near clichéd mantra ‘eat healthy’ is just as vital. “We have to ask ourselves what we mean when we say ‘eating healthy’? What do you mean by a ‘balanced diet?’ The average person out there would look at you and ask you ‘what’re you talking about?’ For them, a balanced diet is what they can afford and what would full deh belly for them and their children.”
“Getting down to brass tacks [and] going back to genesis with these persons, nutritionally, is, therefore, essential. As a practitioner, I always tell my patients: “You want to know how to eat? Feed yourself the way your grandmother fed you. It worked, and it will still work today. It’s like God’s unchanging word, the Bible.”
“So we should not let the world dictate how we eat. The best way to nourish yourself and to eat and to know what to eat is the way your Mom, your Grandmother and those before her fed the progressive generation.”
A lot of the named nutrients are not readily recognized by the typical consumer. “They would just eat what is in the garden, what is on the tree, and they inadvertently would be consuming all of those things. But to tell the truth, to go have these micro-nutrients is like talking Spanish to them. So we have to be mindful as educators and nutrition personnel and experts in our fields that we have to talk to persons in ways they would understand. And they have to be realistic about the ingredients they’re telling persons to consume because these things are very expensive,” he said.
“You go into a supermarket now and 2 sweet peppers in a plastic bag is almost $10…. a lot of our foods are imported. Most consumers of these colorful, nutritional elements have to get it processed now. And it’s no good, it’s unhealthy. They are consuming lots of free radicals…. These things have to be taken into consideration.”
Dr. Goodluck slammed the perceived cultural shift that characterizes the diets of our Vincentian forebears as outdated. He said: “Children today need to go into the homes and speak to our 80 plus to learn how they survived, how they ate, when, where and what. It took them to 90 and 100. And if it worked for them, it can certainly work for us.”
“But their nutrition is now considered to be old-fashioned. That is what is malignant now for our community. So we need to go back to the good old ways of nutrition.”
He listed as not just nutritious but cost effective – sugar water and dry bread, a slice of breadfruit with a glass of water, roasted sweet potato with a glass of lime juice.
He also cautioned against the disinformation which preaches that a nutritious diet can only be had from costly foods like steak or dolphin, with colorful vegetables and legumes etc. “That is why our young people are snubbing things like coconut bakes, roast breadfruit and saltfish, ‘sweat’ ground provision with jack fish – they call it poor people food. And this is what is destroying the nutritional integrity of our community and our society – something called poor people food and rich people food.”
As it relates to fevers in potential COVID-19 patients, he shared some further knowledge: “Fever is there for a reason because most organisms are susceptible to heat…. If you develop a fever from coronavirus, you have to be careful what fever you treat. The whole essence of treating a fever is that you don’t want the brain to become too hot or you would suffer febrile convulsion, especially in the young.”
“You need to have a small thermometer or have somebody there to monitor your temperature. And if you have temperatures of like 101 degrees Fahrenheit and above, then you can start – not by drugs – simple things like fan therapy and tepid sponging.”
“Just wet the person down normal pipe water.”
“Most persons with a fever would be dry, not moist. That is why you have to hydrate them.”
“How much? Your body would tell you. As long as you thirst, you drink.”
If a person is forced to take on more water than the body needs, they may suffer from water intoxication, Dr Goodluck explained.
Persons who are susceptible to bleeding should not get into the habit of stocking up on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS – pharmaceutical medication known to increase the risk of bleeding), Dr. Goodluck also advised.
“It [bleeding] would be enhanced by things like the NSAIDs and the aspirin. Their immune system is already compromised. What these people need to do is eat. Eat good food –just about everything in the earth and everything on a tree.”
All humans are meant to eat every 3-4 hours. This would help to avoid gastrointestinal problems.
“We have our hypertensives afraid to use salt. It’s not no salt, it’s low salt. And tell them what low salt means because to them you’re talking nonsense, and rightfully so.”
“For diabetics, it’s not no sugar, it’s low sugar.”
Dr Goodluck further opined that we have to be cautious about how we educate people about their diet plans, “because people are afraid to eat God’s food…. We would end up with a society that is confused. We don’t know what to put on our plates. We throw away all of our food, and if you look out in the yard, the dogs are the ones looking very well.”
“The persons in the house are very undernourished and underweight… because we figure it’s bad for us.”