We are all under increased stress right now. Unfortunately, one of the first things to suffer when we are under stress is our diet. We turn to unhealthy foods that affect our bodies in ways that can make our stress even worse. This post will give you some tips on changes to make to your diet to make you healthier during quarantine.
With increased free time these days, we all seem to be spending more time in front of the TV, either following the news, or binging Netflix. And if you are anything like me, there is nothing better than sitting in front of the television with a bag of chips. Salty snacks are my kryptonite. My wife knows that if she doesn’t physically take the bag away from me, I will eat an entire bag in one sitting. I don’t think I need to explain how unhealthy this is. However, when we are sedentary, and stressed out, we tend to turn to what is easy, which all too often, is junk food.
Instead of junk food, like chips and ice cream, try to start eating healthy snacks during this stay-at-home period. Mixed nuts, cheese and fresh vegetable chips are all great healthy alternatives if you need a salty snack. To make fresh veggie chips, just put kale or spinach in the oven until crispy, then top with salt. If you have more of a sweet tooth, dark chocolate and fresh fruit are healthy replacements for candy and ice cream.
Use Your Extra Time to Cook
Pre-Coronavirus, most of us lived busy, fast paced lives. We often struggled to find time to cook a healthy meal, and resorted to what was quick and easy. Far too often, this resulted in fast food drive thrus and pre-packaged frozen meals. Both are packed with preservatives that are terrible for our health.
If we can take one good thing out of this period, it can be that the majority of people now have an abundance of free time that they didn’t have a few weeks ago. Use this extra time to learn some new, healthy recipes. You can find an almost never ending supply of recipes online, from the super simple to chef-level difficulty. Many of these recipes include videos that walk you step by step through the process. Try to find recipes that stick to fresh meat and vegetables. You might discover a new food that you love, or find that cooking is something you didn’t even know you liked to do. Try to make cooking meals a family activity and have your kids help as well.
Use Supplements to Boost Immunity
We could all use a little immunity boost these days. Studies have shown that supplementing a healthy diet with certain vitamins and minerals can help improve our immune system. Here are a few supplements that can help:
Just about everyone knows about the benefits of Vitamin C. Studies have shown that supplementing with Vitamin C can not only help you recover faster from an upper respiratory infection (URI), but can also make it less likely that you get an infection in the first place. Foods rich in Vitamin C include oranges, strawberries and red bell pepper.
Vitamin D is important in the production of white blood cells, which are essential for a healthy immune system. Studies have shown that supplementing with Vitamin D can lower your risk of getting a respiratory infection. Many Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, so supplementation is important, but it can also be found in salmon, egg yolk and fortified milk.
Zinc is a mineral that plays a role in immune cell development and communication. Zinc deficiency has been linked to increased respiratory infections and is more common in the elderly population. Like Vitamin C, zinc supplementation has been linked to a reduction in the duration of URIs. Zinc rich foods include red meat, legumes and nuts.
NOTE - These supplements have been linked to overall immune health, but should not be used in the prevention, or treatment, of COVID-19.
I hope this post has given you some ideas on how to improve your dietary habits during this difficult period. If you are looking for stress relieving tips during quarantine, please read this blog post.