How can cooking for yourself and for– or with– others strengthen your immunity during the Coronavirus pandemic?
The number of people infected with the Coronavirus has now surpassed 450,000 worldwide. Billions of others have been locked down in their homes to prevent the virus from spreading further. Scientists are searching for answers, for a cure to this virus, or for ways to fight it. One question that inevitably confronts them is, could there be a way to build immunity to Coronavirus?
The answer, as reported by The New York Times based on interviews with scientists and medical experts, is a qualified yes with a lot of unknowns. In the United States, doctors have found a possible antibody derived from the plasma of recovered Coronavirus patients. The idea is to introduce this plasma to those who are critically ill, with hopes that the plasma from the recovered patients will also work as antibodies for those that are still fighting the disease.
It is still uncertain whether or not this procedure will succeed, and if it will, the next question is how this test could be mass-produced.
In the meantime, what can we do? We can strengthen our own immunity during this pandemic. To do this, experts have repeatedly reminded us to practice social distancing, frequent and proper handwashing, keep ourselves hydrated, and of course, to eat healthy food. Doing these helps our immune system to function optimally and do its job to protect our body from illness.
In other words, to blunt the course of the disease, doctors and scientists are emphasising the importance of building immunity in the community. With fewer people to infect, “the Coronavirus will lose its toehold and even the most vulnerable people will become more insulated from the threat.”
The current social climate is sending us a message to slow down and return to doing what is essential in our lives. One of the essential things we ought to be doing, but often neglect, is to cook for ourselves or for and with others.
How can cooking help you strengthen your immunity during the Coronavirus pandemic? Why is this a good time to turn up the heat in the stove or the oven and get busy in the kitchen? We’ve identified four reasons:
Cooking and making your own meal helps you make a healthier choice for what to eat and drink. Diet has an important role to play to strengthen your immunity during the Coronavirus pandemic. Check out our healthy recipe for Jamu juice, and a list of fruits and vegetables to fill your plate with to get the essential Vitamin C and Vitamin D and other nutrients that boost our immunity. Slowing down to really make good food choices will have long-term benefits for you and those you care about.
Cooking together can boost mental health. Evidence has accumulated over the years proving that socialising has a number of benefits to your physical and mental health. Cooking is a very intimate activity that enables us to bond with others. American journalist Michael Pollan said it best when he told The Boston Globe, “Cooking gave us the meal and the meal gave us civilization.” And feeling connected to others can have great effects, like living a longer life and increased happiness. So go ahead and heat up the stove! You’ll find out that the things that you think are too much trouble to do are actually enjoyable. Spend date night at home and eat the fruits of your labour. Now is the perfect time to cook!
If you want ideas for recipes to cook with friends, here’s a link to our Cooking with Friends classes that offer every cuisine you could think of: French, Chinese, Singaporean, Australian and others. We can even organise a private class for you if have a minimum of four participants. We practice social distancing in classes, and we have a COVID-19 protocol actively in place to ensure the safety of both participants and our chefs.
Cooking or baking for other people has real psychological benefits. Cooking is nurturing as it is directly connected to nourishing our health. Cooking for others, therefore, is an act of altruism and service. Many studies have shown that altruism can make people happy. “There’s a tremendous amount of confidence-boosting and self-esteem boosting, performing an act like cooking for others,” explained Julie Ohana, a licensed masters clinical social worker and culinary art therapist in this HuffPost article. “And that’s part of what lends itself to those psychological effects about being able to do something that you feel really good about.” Cooking and eating are directly linked to sustenance, to survival. To cook for others, therefore, is to help them survive.
We’ve taken this ethos to heart and recently baked healthy, chia-powered cookies for the frontliners at Sengkang General Hospital. We’ll be busy baking and sharing joy again to the frontliners at the National University Hopsital and National Heart Centre next week, and Police and Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital week after next. It’s great to be busy cooking and baking for others!
You, too, can join in spreading good work through cooking or baking. As a company, you can sign up for Bake For A Cause with our sister company, Palate Sensations Team Building. Of course, you can also acquire baking and cooking skills from our SkillsFuture classes. We are happy to let you know that the Singapore government has announced a $500 top-up on SkillsFuture credit, so we hope you browse and book a class with us to learn essential skills which you can use to set up your own restaurant or cafe, or to simply delight family, friends, and even complete strangers with the gift of good food. Remember, we can hold any of these classes privately at a time and date of your choosing if you have a minimum of four participants.
Finally, cooking is an experience you can share virtually during this lock-down. If you are single and do not have anyone at home to cook with, don’t be sad. One thing this global calamity has taught us is that we can still keep our connections with our loved ones using the technology available to us. Set up conference calls, choose a fave dish and teach others how to make it over videos. Share what you have learnt at Palate Sensations Culinary School. These are just some of the many things you can do to strengthen your immunity during the Coronavirus pandemic, and even while under home quarantine.
While Palate Sensations Team Building continues to operate as usual in our physical studio in Singapore, we are currently exploring delivering our classes virtually in the future, to make it globally available and accessible to millions more who would like to become part of our community. Watch this space for updates!
In the meantime, we are sending well wishes your way. Eat. Pray. Love. Repeat. Let’s all rise above this crisis together, and make sure to bond over the love of good food, and continue sharing and looking after each other through this crazy time.