Proper nutrition and hydration are vital-especially when not being as active as normal. People who eat a well-balanced diet tend to be healthier with stronger immune systems and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. Below are some tips on how to stay healthy during these unprecedented times.
Keep up fruit and vegetable intake
Purchasing, storing and cooking fresh vegetables can be challenging in a lockdown yet it’s important to ensure an adequate daily intake of fruit and vegetables. Whenever it is possible to get hold of fresh produce, do so. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be a good choice and will retain most of their nutrients and flavour. Using fresh vegetables to cook large batches of soups, stews or other dishes will make them last longer and provide meal options for a few days. These can also be frozen where possible and then quickly reheated.
Good hydration is crucial for optimal health. Being hydrated helps your body naturally eliminate toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness. Keep your immunity up by drinking plenty of water to stave off infection.
Drinking the recommended 6-8 glasses is a great place to start, however with inevitable home distractions this may present as a challenge. Adding fresh or frozen fruits like berries or slices of citrus fruits, as well as cucumber or herbs such as mint, lavender or rosemary is a wonderful way to enhance its taste. Tracking fluid intake through various apps and drinking a glass of water before every meal is one way to ensure adequate hydration levels.
Build up a stock of healthy snacks
Snacks are an important part of your daily nutrition as they help provide you with enough fuel to perform at your best. It might be helpful to think of your morning and afternoon snacks as a way to meet your daily nutritional needs. To feel satiated (or satisfied), you should aim to eat snacks that have a good mix of macronutrients. DIY trail mix (nuts and dried fruit) is a fantastic choice as they’re delicious, but even better is the fact that they’re packed with protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and fibre.
To have a strong immune system your body needs a daily supply of quality protein. Research studies have shown that deficiency of high-quality protein can result in depletion of immune cells, the inability of the body to make antibodies, and other immune-related problems.
Most adults need at least 50 grams of quality protein per day, or a palm-sized portion per meal if that’s easier to visualize. Make an eating pattern out of incorporating quality protein for each meal, like eggs for breakfast, chicken or turkey for lunch, and fish or legumes for dinner is one way to ensure adequate protein levels.
A good quality protein shake or smoothie can also be considered as a convenient and delicious way of ensuring you meet your daily protein intake to support a healthy immune system.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (good bacteria) that reside in the gut. Probiotics support our immune system, aid digestion and assist with nutrient absorption into our bloodstream.
Fermented foods are rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics, which populate your digestive tract. Fermented foods are excellent food sources to support optimal immunity and digestion.
Examples include kefir, kombucha tea, yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented vegetables. Probiotic supplements are also another option for those who do not eat fermented foods regularly.
Turmeric is the most effective immunity builder, booster and nutritional supplement in existence. It is a limitless superfood that not only adds flavour and colour to food but also contains bio-active compounds with immunity boosting medicinal properties.
Try adding extra turmeric into your diet during periods of stress or during flu season to help give your immune system a little boost. Golden milk, turmeric booster shots and even a sprinkle of turmeric over foods is a great way to enjoy this gem of a spice.
Advice from Deidre Groenewald, Health and Wellness Advisor, Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som.