Nutritional Tips for Staying Healthy During the Covid -19 Pandemic

19 May 2020

Nutrition plays a major role in maintaining immunity, and as the saying goes, “you are what you eat”.

Good nutrition is very important before during and after an infection. Infections take a toll on the body and especially when they cause fever, the body needs extra energy and nutrients. Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet is very important during the COVID-19 pandemic. While no foods or dietary supplements can prevent COVID-19 infection, maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of supporting a strong immune system.

Below are some tips which may help in maintaining healthy diet during the pandemic:

  1. Always buy and eat fresh foods and store them well to maintain their quality. During this period of partial lockdowns many people tend to stockpile, and food quality is likely to deteriorate. If foods like vegetables and fruits stay for too long, they lose their nutrients and may not be helpful to the body. Try and purchase what can be consumed within a short period when still fresh. Same applies to fish, poultry and meats.

 

  1. Eat a variety of foods within each food group and across all the food groups to ensure adequate intake of important nutrients such as vitamins, (fruits and vegetables), proteins (pulses like beans, peas and lentils, fish, meat and poultry), starch (rice, maize, bread, tubers, pasta) and fats (nuts, seeds avocado, olive oil).

 

  1. With most people working from home, there is a tendency to overeat and consume more calories than the body requires leading to excess weight and obesity. To avoid being overweight;
  • Only eat when hungry! Remember the metabolic rate reduces as the day goes by.
  • Take plenty of fruit and vegetable; they have less calories and are also rich in fiber.
  • Avoid food that contain a lot of calories with less nutrients, like fries, cakes, biscuits. Should be eaten sparingly, occasionally.
  • Choose healthier cooking methods, for example, you can have oven roasted potatoes brushed with little oil instead of deep frying in hot oil.
  • Drink plenty of water (6 to 8 glasses per day); being indoors in cool weather may mask thirst, so to ensure adequate water intake each day, you can put a reminder for time to take water (children can be good at that) or sip as you go through the day. Fresh water helps the immune system, cools down the body, and helps with metabolism hence good weight management. Do not wait to feel thirsty to drink water!
  • Avoid sweet beverages like soda - high in calories and low in nutrients.
  • Use sugar and salt sparingly.
  • Get up and exercise to burn up excess calories. The daily UN Recreation center work-out series is a great way to do this(see the schedule below)
  • Ensure adequate sleep.

 

  1. Limit alcohol consumption. The pandemic and the changes that have come with it can be stressful to many. Avoid using alcohol to help cope with stress. Remember alcohol is high in calories with no nutritional value so it leads to excessive weight and can also lead to poor food and nutrient absorption hence malnutrition and low immunity.

 

  1. Find healthier ways of dealing with stress like, talking to a counsellor, exercising, or talking to family and friends. Some people find comfort in food when they are stressed, this can lead to overeating hence obesity and lowered immunity. Healthier foods have also been linked to better metal health

Remember, enjoy family meals together if you are able to. This has been proven to improve relationships and reduce overeating.

Keep Safe and Healthy!

JMS 24/7 emergency call line: Tel: +254 724 255 378 OR Email: unon-jms-medicalevacuation@un.org  

Useful Links: WHO-COVID-19 ; JMS website 

 

 

 

Posted on: 19 May 2020