As challenging times are upon us, it is now more than ever that we need to take good care of ourselves and those around us. This is a time of heightened anxiety and stress, and of unprecedented change.
While we need to adjust quickly, it doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom. Those of us who can continue our work from home are doing so, albeit with a few compromises and work-arounds as we learn to adapt. And while we are minimising contact with others and self-isolating where required, we are learning to cram less into our busy lives, focus on the importance of self-care, and think a little laterally about ways to cope with the far-reaching changes thrust upon us.
Once a commonplace necessity for which we had no reservations or concerns, supermarket shopping is now both a confronting exercise and poses a risk to our health, even as we take significant precautions. But the good news is that the production and supply of fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and dairy are not greatly impacted by COVID-19, so we can continue to eat well – and even improve our eating habits as supermarket shelves are stripped of packaged goods and processed foods.
If ever there was a time in our lives when healthy eating was vitally important, this is it. Our immune system relies on essential vitamins and minerals to work effectively – even more so during times of stress.
The key nutrients our bodies need to fight disease include vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, B12, iron, zinc, copper, selenium and folic acid. Antioxidants found in plant-based foods also have an important role to play in our immunity and the protection of our cells against disease.
So what can we do to boost our immune systems and give ourselves the best possible chance of protecting our bodies from this virulent strain of Coronavirus?
- Consume wholefoods as much as possible. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, veggies, wholegrains, eggs, fish, and lean meats or plant-based protein sources.
- Avoid processed foods as much as possible. Limit your intake of sugars and alcohol. Be aware of emotional eating or drinking during stressful times, and make decisions which are good for your body.
- As long as you practice social distancing or self-isolation in accordance with the current restrictions, continue exercising as much as possible.
- If you’re feeling stressed or anxious look for ways to alleviate those feelings, as stress has a negative impact on your immune function. There are many podcasts and apps you can download which offer ways to cope during stressful times. Tune in to live-streamed yoga classes, take up meditation, or try tapping techniques. Activities which refocus your mind can also help, so try reading, doing a jigsaw, or playing a word game.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is vital to a healthy immune system, so rest as often as you can.
- Stay hydrated! When you drink plenty of water your cells are hydrated. Water also helps the nutrients in your food to be better assimilated by the body.
- Improve your gut health with probiotics and natural, gut-friendly foods.
In fact gut health is super important to immune function, as approximately 80% of the body’s immune tissues are located within the gut. When we eat well our bodies are fuelled by foods that support a healthy gut, allowing us to sleep better and enjoy better health, energy and vitality.
If you’re still able to shop, make a visit to your local butcher and fruit shop top of your list. If you are staying indoors to minimise risk, try a meal delivery service with a focus on healthy eating, such as Chefgood. Similarly for friends, family or high risk loved ones, organising a healthy meal delivery service is a way to show you care and help them stay safe during this crisis.