(PRESS RELEASE) — Being home at this unprecedented time is very challenging for many people and it is very easy to overeat or consume foods with low nutritional value, such foods are usually high in calories and can result in weight gain.
Therefore one must be mindful of their food selection during shopping or stocking up on food.
It’s critical at this time to practice healthy habits that will promote a strong and healthy immune system that will combat viruses, diseases, and also maintain good health. Good nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and rest can strengthen one’s immune system, and likewise, poor nutrition, alcohol consumption, stress, and smoking can weaken your immune system.
Some of the key nutrients that are essential in strengthening the immune system include; proteins, minerals (such as zinc, magnesium, selenium, and iron) and vitamins such as (vitamins A, B6, C, D, and E). Some are powerful anti-oxidants that help fight inflammation in the body and hence protect the body against diseases.
Here are some tips to strengthen the immune system:
– Eating nutritious well-balanced meals: limit fried, processed, and refined foods.
– Maintain a healthy body weight
– Avoid alcoholic drinks
– Drink plenty of water
– Exercise on a regular basis or be more physically active
– Get adequate rest and sleep
– Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga
– Manage stress levels
Making healthy choices whilst at home may be challenging but is necessary to attain and maintain good health.
Some guidelines to promote good eating habits include:
– Cut back on foods and drinks high in sugar, salt, and fat (esp. saturated fat and trans fat). Read labels on foods to ensure that hydrogenated fats are not listed in the ingredients.
– Foods with little or no nutritional value should be avoided as they are usually high in empty calories and provide no benefit to the body. Such foods should only be eaten occasionally.
– Foods high in sugar and alcohol can weaken the immune system. Alcohol does not form part of a healthy lifestyle and therefore has a negative effect on the immune system.
– Limit the intake of refined or highly processed foods, choose whole foods including provisions, cereals, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables instead because they are higher in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Processed foods are usually high in sugar, fat, and salt. They also contain additives that have negative effects on health.
– Be mindful of portion sizes, as overeating can lead to weight gain especially in school-age children who are currently are at home. There is a tendency to binge on food frequently. It is best for parents to refrain from stocking homes with unhealthy or junk foods. This will reduce access to such foods if they are unavailable in the home.
– When shopping choose healthy snacks that are low in sugar, salt, and fat or prepare homemade healthy snacks for children.
– Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. They are high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Foods high in fibre help to keep one full and can prevent overeating. Those include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, peas, beans, nuts, and seeds.
– Ensure there are adequate protein sources in your diet: some animal protein sources include meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, and plant-based include pulses (peas and beans, seeds, nuts, cereals.
– Prepare home-cooked meals using fresh ingredients like ginger, turmeric, garlic, and other herbs which have anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
– Avoid energy drinks, they are usually high in sugar and caffeine and may have a negative impact on health and sleep.
– And finally, practice good hygiene when preparing food to avoid food contamination and foodborne illnesses. Food must be prepared safely to be healthy.
Eat smart to protect your health!!