The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a number of changes in our daily lives. Good nutrition is always important, but during this pandemic, and as we enter into “cold season”, it’s even more important because a well-balanced diet of nutritious foods helps support a strong immune system. Your whole health includes your sense of mind, body and spirit, and we want to offer suggestions and tips on what steps you can take to keep your mind and body healthy and engaged while we wrap up the year.
Proper nutrition and hydration are vital. People who eat a well-balanced diet tend to be healthier with stronger immune systems and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. So you should eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, protein and antioxidants your body needs. Drink enough water. Avoid sugar, fat and salt to significantly lower your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Throughout the pandemic, many people supported the restaurant industry by ordering takeout meals and delivery. While that can continue if it is something you enjoy, be aware of your choices. Are they healthy and in support of your nutrition goals? Do they bring you joy? If you choose to cook at home, there are plenty of ways to make sure you’re feeding your body and mind what they need.
Include healthy foods on your shopping list that have longer shelf-life. Those items can include carrots, turnips, potatoes, yams, beets, onions, squash, cabbage, apples, melons, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes, as well as frozen fruits and vegetables. Choosing foods high in vitamin C will allow your immune system to do its job and keep you and your family healthy and active, so you can continue to engage in the things that you love doing in the world.
Along with vitamin C, which can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables mentioned above, Zinc is essential for immune-cell development, and some studies have found that it reduces the risk of contracting respiratory infections. It may also reduce the number of days that someone has a cold or other respiratory tract infection. About 30% of American adults are deficient in the mineral, so taking a moderate dose of the supplement may be helpful anyway.
Melatonin is best known and most commonly used to boost sleep and reduce anxiety, both of which improve the immune system. It also blocks inflammasome activity, reducing inflammation in the lungs which can add to the enjoyment of breathing in that crisp Fall air.
Vitamin B6 is essential to keeping your immune system in top condition. Be sure to get enough vitamin B as a supplement, as part of your daily diet (you can easily get your daily intake from fortified cereals; just be sure to read the nutrient content listed on the box prior to purchasing) or in a multivitamin.
The best part of life is living, and we want to encourage you to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to your health and wellbeing. Whether you are an existing patient or a casual reader, we invite you to connect with us while you travel on your journey. We will gladly join alongside you.