During this time when many of us are hunkering down at home isolated from friends and family and dealing with major changes in our routine, it can be easy to forget to take care of ourselves.
Prolonged stress, anxiety and fear, especially in a situation of this magnitude, can cause depression, reduced physical activity, and substantially changes our eating behaviors. Comfort foods can serve as a form of distraction from the reality of the moment creating a soothing coping mechanism during uncertain times.
Processed food and junk food are high is sugar fat and salt. They weakens our immune system and increases the risk of chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other conditions that render us susceptible to infectious illnesses.
One of the best forms of protection is prevention. Taking good care of ourselves by building a strong immune system is a smart starting point. Begin with a good clean diet, stick to a sleep schedule, keep moving and practice relaxation techniques.
A healthy balanced diet includes a variety of foods such as fruits and vegetables high in vitamins and minerals. If you don’t have daily access to fresh vegetables and fruit, or want to boost your immunity, consider supplementing your diet with a good multivitamin that have vitamin A, C, D, and B complex, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
Vitamin D, also known as the “Sunshine vitamin,” has been recently highlighted as important for support of the repertory and immune system. To aid in a good night’s sleep try taking magnesium and melatonin ½ an hour before bedtime.
When it is safe to travel, have a blood panel test with your doctor to find out what minerals and vitamins you need. This will help you have a more targeted personal approach to taking supplements!
10 Tips to maintain and balance your diet
- Health begins in the kitchen. Enhance your immune system with fresh, wholesome foods. Now is the perfect time to develop your cooking skills. Not only is home cooking a healthy way to eat, but it can be a fun project for the whole family.
- Eat the rainbow. Diversity is key to a healthy balanced diet with wholesome, nutritious food. When shopping, look for plenty of fresh colorful seasonal vegetables and fruit. Fresh fruit and vegetables are also more economical than packaged or processed foods!
- Create structure to your eating. Plan time to eat meals and pay attention to portion control. Snacking is inevitable when you’re home all day, prepare portions of cut vegetables such as celery and carrots, and keep a supply in your refrigerator for healthy snacking.
- Practice mindful eating. Eat your meals while sitting down at the table, not in front of the television or computer. Eat slowly and take at least 20 minutes to finish the meal.
- Gather daily for at least one family meal. Savor the meal as if you are eating at a nice restaurant.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water will stave off hunger pangs causing you to want to eat less.
- Leave the junk food at the supermarket. You’ll avoid expanding your waistline with empty calories and expand your wallet instead.
- Avoid sugar! Sugar can depress the immune system. Read labels for hidden sugar.
- Moderate alcohol consumption. Not only does alcohol act as depressant, but it is also known to suppress the immune system.
- Keep a regular sleep routine, get plenty of rest. Going to bed and waking up at a regular time each day will help your body maintain a sense of normalcy.
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