Whether you’re in lockdown, quarantine or isolation, the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is making it difficult for many of us to maintain a healthy diet. But pasta and takeaway aren’t the only foods to eat while you're waiting for a vaccine. Here are 10 practical, healthy eating tips to help you keep the pounds off, boost your immune system and stay positive during these unprecedented times.
1. Boost your mood with magnesium
If lockdown has you feeling down, try incorporating some magnesium-rich foods into your meals. Studies have shown that a diet with enough magnesium can help to reduce symptoms of depression. Magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, peanuts, oils, spinach, cashews, soy milk and dark chocolate. And there’s further good news for chocolate lovers as well – quality dark chocolate (70% or more) also contains flavonoids and tryptophan, both of which can work as natural mood-enhancers.
2. De-stress with omega-3
Keep your stress levels in check by loading up on natural, omega-3-rich mood stabilizers such as salmon, trout, sardines, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts and mackerel. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to promote healthy brain function, regulate neurotransmitters and help reduce the risk of mood disorders such as anxiety.
3. Stock up on healthy, non-perishable products
While fresh is nearly always best, canned goods aren't necessarily unhealthy. Canned or dried beans provide valuable protein and fiber, for example, while tinned sardines and tuna are excellent sources of protein and omega-3s. Keep your lockdown pantry stocked with healthy, shelf-stable foods that will give you plenty of time to use them, and you’ll be able to stay away from the grocery store for longer. Think dried fruits and snacks that make for a healthy daytime snack, or nut butters that offer a healthy helping of protein and essential fats.
4. Hide the treats
You’re probably more tempted than ever to reach for the junk or comfort food during these stressful times. So why not give your self-control a helping hand by placing your sugary snacks out of sight? Research has shown that you’re far less likely to indulge in high-calorie goodies if you can’t see them. And, if you find that you still can’t resist those sweet treats, go one step further and don’t bring them home from the supermarket at all.
5. Get your essential dose of vitamin D
Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphate in the body, so it’s essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. The sun is the best source of vitamin D. But when you’re stuck inside during isolation, it can be difficult to catch enough rays to hit your RDA. There are plenty of foods that can help you reach your target, however. Fill your diet with eggs, oily fish, milk and red meats (especially liver), which are all rich in this important vitamin.
6. Up your protein intake
Not only is protein essential for the healthy functioning of your immune system, but protein-rich food also helps keep you satiated for longer. This means you’re less likely to reach for the snack cupboard. Oily fish, lean meats, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and poultry are all excellent sources of protein. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, then plant-based sources of protein such as chickpeas, tofu, beans, lentils, cereals, nuts and seeds all make for nutritious, protein-rich snacks and meals.
7. Strengthen your immune system with vitamin B
B vitamins (B6, B9 and B12 in particular) are also important players in our body’s fight against infection. B vitamins help the body produce natural killer (NK) cells, which work quickly to detect and kill any virus-infected cells. Foods high in B vitamins include nuts and green leafy vegetables (B9 and B6), chicken and fish (B6), legumes (B9) and meat, eggs and dairy (B12).
8. Fight infection with vitamin A
Vitamin A is essential to maintaining a healthy respiratory tract, gut and skin cell structure. It helps the body make antibodies, too. As such, it’s hugely important in our fight against infection and disease. Strengthen your immune system with vitamin A-rich foods such as oily fish, egg yolks, whole grains, legumes, cheese and nuts. Or, consider adding Moringa powder to your diet to boost your intake of this vital vitamin.
9. Improve your sleep quality with melatonin
If quarantine has thrown your usual sleep pattern into disarray, then incorporating more melatonin into your diet may help you get back on track. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleeping and waking cycle. Find it in high doses in almonds, milk, kiwi fruit, eggs and fish.
10. Supplement your diet with a convenient, multi-tasking powder
Whether you’re working long shifts or trying to balance child care with home office hours, the pandemic has made many of us more time-poor than ever. A multi-tasking superfood powder is a convenient way to up your vitamin intake and boost your diet, with no prepping or cooking needed.
The All Natural Moringa Powder is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and more. This organic, gluten-free, vegan and 100% natural formula packs a powerful nutritional punch with skin-nourishing and anti-aging vitamin E, energy-boosting iron, stress-relieving adaptogens and a healthy helping of vitamin A to support your immune system and vision. Plus, there are endless and delicious ways to incorporate Moringa powder into your diet. Add a spoonful to your morning smoothie, sprinkle over your oats or salad, stir into your yogurt, juice or cup of tea, or add it to your eggs.
For more healthy eating tips, inspirational recipes and a wide range of sustainable wellness, baby and beauty products, visit Miracle in the Green.
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