The ongoing resurgence of COVID-19 has put the world on the edge. As we tether through these tough times, we have to take better care of our physical health. Just like how a plant needs sufficient water and sunlight to thrive, our bodies need nutrients to build a strong immune system. By paying closer attention to our food consumption habits, we can naturally boost our immune system that has benefits for our overall health.
How Can I Adopt a Healthier Diet?
A simple step is to hydrate – do so by drinking at least eight cups of water a day for ample hydration. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and our mood. Water is the elixir of life; increasing our brain functionality and energy levels. It helps to regulate our body temperature, keep joints lubricated and our organs functioning well, as well as deliver nutrients to cells.
For those of you who consume junk food regularly, you can implement small nudges in your everyday life to instil better eating habits. For instance, put an apple at your work desk to remind you to have your daily consumption of fruit.
The saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is overused, but not practised enough. Studies state that the antioxidant called ‘quercetin’ in red apples can fortify and enhance our immune system, especially during these stressful times. The soluble fibre found in apples can potentially reduce inflammation too.
If you like a combination of both sweet and sour taste, opt for a green apple. Green apples contain a compound called pectin, a fibre source that works as a prebiotic to improve your gut health. Pectin can help with digestion; breaking down foods more effectively.
Aside from fruit there are plenty of healthy and delicious substitutes. Whether it is from fuss-free recipes to making your own healthy snacks or store-bought options, you would be spoilt for choice.
In a nutshell, here is how your daily food intake should look like:
- Have plenty of vegetables and fruits.
- Eat protein foods.
- Choose whole grain foods.
Benefits of a Balanced Diet
Ideal body weight
Obesity results in serious health complications such as heart diseases. To have a healthy weight, abstain from fatty or processed food and include more vegetables than meat.
Good dietary habits ensure sufficient nutrient intake, hence promoting better brain health. The perfect combination of regular exercise and a balanced eating habit will have positive effects on our mental wellness!
Prevention of illnesses
Adhering to a balanced eating regime reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases as well. If a person has an existing illness, a healthy diet is crucial to aid the recovery process of the illness.
Boosts energy levels
Having irregular meals has dire consequences to your health that can make you feel lethargic frequently. Having meals at regular times will allow your body to have the required fuel to go about your daily routine throughout the day.
The Importance of Iron in Diets Especially for the Elderly
Older people tend to be anaemic, meaning that their haemoglobin levels are low due to the lack of iron. They can incorporate higher iron-rich foods into their dietary consumption to ensure sufficient nutrient intake. Here are some easy options to include:
- Whole-grain rice and bread
- Legumes – tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans
- Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, broccoli
- Nuts – cashew, macadamia, almond
- Fruits – prunes, dates, fig, raisins
If we do not have enough iron, we will have insufficient red blood cells to transport oxygen. This leads to extreme fatigue, light-headedness, and weakness. In order for our bodies to have better iron absorption, we can complement our diet with vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, and red peppers.
It takes a lot of discipline to instil healthy eating habits. This pandemic has taught us that health is indeed wealth. We should try our best to stay strong, both mentally and physically. As the world begins its recovery from this pandemic, let us do our part in staying safe and healthy, for ourselves and our loved ones.