Eating well in times of stress

Food has the potential to entertain, bring families together and most importantly nourish the body. The year 2020 has the world in a pandemic with COVID-19 and some of the measures being encouraged to curb the spread has many of us confined to our homes which can easily result in sedentary behaviors including changes in eating patterns, sleeping habits and physical activity that have significant impact on one’s health. All these in addition to fear and anxiety can lead to unhealthy dietary habits and eventual increase in risk of obesity.

A balanced diet and proper nutrition have the capacity to prevent and sometimes cure some medical conditions by empowering the immune system. As such, a strong immune system can provide further defense against the COVID19 virus.

A balanced diet contains adequate amounts of all the necessary nutrients required for heathy growth and activity. What does that even mean? A balanced diet is a meal containing wholesome foods from all food groups – carbohydrates, proteins, healthy unsaturated fats, minerals and vitamins – that is minimally processed with preserved nutritional value. It is important to consume a variety of food including whole grains and nuts like brown rice, oats, etc., roots like potatoes, yams, etc., nuts like almonds, walnuts, etc., legumes like beans, lentils, etc., fresh vegetables and fruits. Also, ensure your food is prepared in a way to preserve its nutritional value hence, limit frying, avoid overcooking vegetables and eat everything wholesome in moderation.

It is important to avoid processed deli meats as they are high in sodium and saturated fats, avoid sugary drinks and snacks like sodas, concentrated juices, candies, chocolates, baked goods, etc., sources of saturated fats like butter, lard, ghee should be avoided and limit your salt intake. For snacks, choose raw vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, etc. and nuts and drink about 8 – 10 glasses of water daily.

Lastly, ensure all vegetables and fruits are properly washed before eating and disinfect objects and surfaces every time before and after use. Separate cooked and raw foods, use different utensils and chopping board for each to prevent cross contamination and ensure foods are cooked through and thoroughly and consumed fresh.

The role of proper nutrition in our lives in addition to physical exercise and adequate sleep cannot be overemphasized, as such, if you need advice on how to plan your meals to help boost your immune system, please speak to one of our Doctors on the Health at Hand, LiveDoc or MyNEXtCARE app.

Dr Esther Dairo

General Practitioner

If you have any questions, please speak to one of our doctors on the app!