By Dietitian Sunita Tripathi and Robin Singh, Founder, Team_Fightersspeed
Eating healthy and nutritious diet has been important part of life which always gets neglected due to busy lifestyle and hectic schedules. Health is the most important virtue which gets neglected most of the time.
The scenario has changed now, the ongoing phase of pandemic has made all of us to realize the importance of healthy body and hence nutritious diet to stay physically fit and immunologically strong to fight against the infection.
It is well known that undernutrition and poor nutritional status impairs immune function. Modification of diet and lifestyle can keep away the infection.
As the Covid-19 restrictions continues due to new emerging strains keeping us at home, leading into detrimental effect on both physical and mental health. So, during these difficult times, both physical and mental health needs support.
Few ways of doing the same are-
- Have some fresh air – Avoid public exposure by stepping out instead, get some air in your garden or balcony.
- Exercise regularly – Indulge in some physical activities like exercise, yoga, dance etc to keep yourself physically fit.
- Meditate – Meditation will help us to keep mentally fit and do away with the stress of present situation.
- Stick to a routine – Try to have scheduled time for all daily routines viz sleep, meals, waking up time.
Now let’s flip the coin and focus on most important part for healthy body which is “Healthy Food”. We need to work upon food and dietary habits to improve our immunity and be physically healthy, that doesn’t mean we should follow any specific diets for the same. We must lay emphasis on healthy food habits.
There are much talked about ingredients like ginger, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper which are proven to be effective in improving immunity. Along with these, Citrus fruits which are good sources of Vitamin C that help us to fight against infections, with sufficient dose of Vitamin D from sunlight.
Apart from above mentioned super foods, we should focus on these nutrients as well –
“Hydration” – Being well hydrated is very important yet mostly neglected. Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking plenty of water as it provides important electrolytes without adding on to calorie load and helps in detoxification.
Now let’s talk about protein – as poor or low protein diet may lead to poor immunity. The body’s ability to fight off infection depends on its immune system which has defensive protein antibodies. Hence, high protein diet is needed for proper defence mechanism of body. Good sources of protein being lean meats (fish, chicken), eggs, milk, and milk products (curd, paneer), nuts and seeds (almond, walnut, cashew, groundnut, gingelly seeds, sunflower seeds), pulses and beans (all pulses, black gram, soyabean, tofu) etc.
Next important nutrient is iron. India is one of the countries in world with very high prevalence of anaemia. So, most important thing is ruling out iron deficiency anaemia as it results into reduced immunity and effects Immunocompetence. Good sources of iron are green leafy vegetables (spinach, chaulai, methi, sarson ka saag, drumstick leaves), spring onions, chickpea (chole), kala channa, soyabean, til, nuts, dates, raisins, jaggery, riceflakes.
So, it’s time to indulge ourselves into traditional delicacies which make our winter diet more tasty and nutritious like makke ki roti –sarson ka saag, moongfalli chakki, til ladoo, which are excellent combo for protein and iron.
Finally, to sum-up with following tips for healthy diet and healthy us in present scenario –
- Eat meals at regular intervals of 2-3 hours.
- Prefer home-made foods.
- Avoid processed foods as they are rich in simple carbohydrates (sugar)
- Incorporate more of complex carbs in form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Hydration – keep yourself well hydrated.
- Take proper rest and sleep.
- Take out some time for meditation and yoga.
- Start your day with handful of nuts like almonds, walnuts.
- Instead of fried, ready to eat snacks, opt for roasted channa, roasted makhana, roasted peanuts or chiwda, popcorns (without butter), sprout chaat, fruit chaat.
- Have a cup of hot turmeric milk which apart of many other health benefits will help to improve immunity and induce a sound sleep.
Also, the COVID-19 pandemic implies that many of us are home bound and resting more than we typically do. It’s difficult for a lot of us to do the kind of physical exercise we usually do. It’s even tougher for people who do not generally do physical exercise. But it’s extremely significant for people of all age groups and capacities to be as active as possible. Even the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ‘Be Active campaign’ intends to help you do just that – and to have some enjoyment at the same time.
Strength-training has been demonstrated to lessen signs of anxiety for people with and without anxiety syndrome.
The strong recommendation is to identify physical exercises that you enjoy and communicate your experiences with others. Also, there is a testimony to imply that exercise can be effective to mood even if the act of doing it is not as pleasurable.
Physical training strengthens muscle and bone strength, improves balance, fitness, and flexibility. It’s good for our mental health as well – lowering the risk of depression, cognitive deterioration and delay the onset of dementia – and enhancing overall well-being.
Staying at home for a long span of time can cause a substantial challenge for remaining physically active. Inactive behavior and negligible levels of physical exercise can have adverse effects on the well-being, health, and quality of life of people. Even self-isolation can also trigger further stress and challenge the psychological health of individuals. Physical exercise and relaxation practices can be beneficial means to help us remain relaxed and may continue to safeguard our health during this time. In fact, physical inactivity is correlated with an elevated risk for critical COVID-19 consequences. Moreover, we are confronting the certainty that the virus is not going away any time soon.
At last, just want to say, “Stay safe, stay healthy”, as they say, “Health is Wealth”.