Coronavirus myth busted: Eating Chinese food will not spread COVID-19

The European Food Safety Authority has already said earlier this month that there is no proof so far that COVID-19 spreads through food.

Myupchar March 18, 2020 15:03:28 IST
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Coronavirus myth busted: Eating Chinese food will not spread COVID-19

One of the most bizarre myths related to COVID-19 is that it spreads through Chinese food - one of the most popular cuisines in the world. As a result, Chinese takeouts and restaurants have taken a massive hit worldwide since everyone is trying to avoid them now.

The European Food Safety Authority has already said earlier this month that there is no proof so far that COVID-19 spreads through food. However, recent research suggested that novel coronavirus can stay on surfaces (cardboard, steel, plastic etc) for various amount of times. So, while you can reduce the chances of exposure by practising excellent personal hygiene, it may not be a good idea to order unhealthy or junk food all the time. A balanced diet is recommended to keep up your immunity. 

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Representational image. Image by Jonathan Valencia from Pixabay.

Besides coronavirus , there are various health condition that you can get if you tend to binge on fast food including Chinese food. 

Side effects of junk food

Junk food is always unhealthy but generally quick and easy to eat. Since it tastes good and is particularly inexpensive, it is much loved by almost everyone. Though occasional indulgence in junk food is not that bad, excess consumption of it may put you at risk of various health conditions - like obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. This is because, most junk food has a lot of salt, saturated and trans fats and preservatives in it. 

Chinese food (as well as some processed foods) has a compound called monosodium glutamate (MSG), also called China salt in some places, which is said to be bad for health. MSG is used as a flavour enhancer in Chinese food. Some studies associate MSG with conditions such as allergies, asthma, insulin resistance and obesity in children. However, this debate is still ongoing since a lot of experts say that MSG is not harmful. Many Chinese restaurants in India do not even use MSG. You can always ask the restaurant before ordering from them. 

The key lies in the preparation of the food - some Chinese food can be considered as junk food depending on the ingredients and cooking method. Other preparations can be completely healthy and nutritious.

So, whether Chinese or otherwise, it is best to avoid overindulgence in any kind of junk food.

Be smart while eating out or ordering in

The social distancing advisory by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has already recommended most restaurants and clubs to follow all precautionary measures to prevent the transmission of the infection. This includes placing the tables at a distance of at least one meter, providing open-air dining where possible, frequently cleaning all the surfaces and asking the staff to follow the handwashing protocols. However, it is best to avoid dining out whenever you can during this time. 

Even when you order in, you may want to consider all the safety options. Pay online whenever you can. Also, most food delivery apps now have the option of minimizing contact with the delivery person. You can call the delivery executive or restaurant in advance and tell them to leave your food at the door.

For extra measures, empty the containers the food came in as soon as possible and throw them out. Do not use the spoons and forks provided by the restaurant if you have another option. 

For more tips, read our article on Coronavirus.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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