Foods to include as part of a healthy diet to help your body ease into “the new normal”, as it transitions from idle to active again post-lockdown.
From Dalgona coffee (a fluffy concoction made by using instant coffee powder, sugar, water and cold milk) to sourdough bread and frying pan pizza, a variety of food trends have become highly popular on social media over the last few months. We don’t know about you, but just the mere mention of these tasty treats has got our taste buds all excited! Unbeknownst to us, becoming more relaxed and sedentary during the lockdown also has its own advantages, as it presents you with more time to try out a number of different food recipes, which are more often than not, sinful in nature. Taking into consideration that the lockdown in the Philippines is still ongoing, here are a few healthy alternatives which should be considered to help you familiarise your body with being active and energised again for “the new normal”. After all, it’s always good to have an advantage over the competition, wouldn’t you agree?
A Juicy Way to Amp Up Your Health
Based on a recent study by Nielsen across 11 Asian markets, the collective approach towards food consumption in Asia after COVID-19 has changed drastically over such a short period of time. What?! Yep, that’s right, people, Asians have switched from previously appreciating outdoor eating experiences, online delivery and on-the-go food and beverage consumption to a current preference of purchasing fresh goods for in-home dining instead. Interestingly enough, this also coincides with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of consuming a minimum of 400g (or 5 portions) of fruits and vegetables daily. In short, you go, Asians!
An example of this would be to include citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit into your diet as these foods are a great source of vitamin C for your body. Vitamin C is typically effective for strengthening your immune system and is also beneficial for preserving the elasticity and smoothness of your skin. It is also a healthy source of dietary fibre and can help to cut your risk of suffering kidney stones. Not only that, a number of individual studies have also concluded that consuming citrus fruits can also lower your risk of a few different cancers, which include oesophageal, stomach pancreas, lung and breast cancer. Get crackin’ and stock up on these zesty delights ASAP, folks!
The Greens Are Healthier on the Leafy Side
Leafy greens, in comparison, aren’t just another tasty inclusion into your diet but can supplement your body with its own unique set of healthy nutrition, which in turn can provide your body with an energy boost. This is because leafy greens contain high amounts of iron, which enables a positive production of red blood cells for effective delivery of oxygen to your cells, thus preventing fatigue.
Best prepared as a steamed, stir-fried or slightly wilted dish, leafy greens are not just bursting with flavour but are a rich source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K. Leafy greens are a particularly great addition to the diet of pregnant women or women who intend to conceive, as they contain folic acid that is beneficial for early foetal development. Now you know why mama kept reminding you to eat your greens, eh?
Going Nuts About Nuts
If there’s one thing that you could take away from having to work remotely in the confines of your home during the lockdown, it’s that “handling your business” does not necessarily involve you having to spend endless hours at the office anymore. You read that right, people! As a matter of fact, obtaining work-life balance can be made so much easier when you stay at home, but only if you stay focused on completing each task diligently. However, you might also find yourself experiencing physical and mental exhaustion as a result of staying at home and working during the lockdown. Ironic, ain’t it? Hence, it is essential that you supplement your body with an ample intake of energy-boosting snacks, like nuts. No, we’re not “nuts” for saying this, hear us out!
Walnut-munching while you work can supplement your body with a healthy source of protein, carbs and healthy fats throughout the day, apart from also being a rich source of antioxidants. Consisting of polyphenols, amongst other antioxidants, snacking on walnuts can aid in lowering oxidative stress by neutralising free radicals that can damage your cells and increase your risk of disease. Nuts, in whole form, or in the form of a nut butter, is especially effective in regulating your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. For instance, munching on a handful of almonds or a spoonful of peanut butter on toast can increase your “good” HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and reduce your “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. Not only that, nuts have also been found to be an abundant source of dietary fibre which can not only improve your gut health but slash your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Not so “nutty” in your eyes now, are we?
Fish Containing Healthy Fats for a Lean, Mean, Well-Oiled Machine
Even though it is essential to maintain energy levels throughout the day (given the fact that your inactive body may need a bit of time to get used to the normal physical and mental requirements of life after lockdown), it is of equal importance that you also supplement it with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. As a matter of fact, a well-balanced diet that is also high in nutrients should include a minimum of two 140g-fish portions a week, with one of these portions being fatty fish. These include shellfish such as prawns, squid and scallops, or fishes such as salmon, sardines or mackerel which can be served grilled or prepared as a dish that is curry or sauce based.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and is particularly essential for pregnant and breastfeeding women as it can aid in the healthy development of an infant’s nervous system. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been proven to subdue inflammation in your body, which is a common cause of fatigue. Apart from that, fatty fish also contains vitamin B12, which works in sync with folic acid to produce red blood cells in the body and in turn promote better iron efficiency, thus boosting your energy levels.
Unrefined, Yet Completely Wholesome
Produced to have a long shelf life, unrefined whole grains such as quinoa, oatmeal, whole grain rice and pasta are not only good for you but are also easy to prepare. Whole grain rice is best eaten with cooked dishes, while whole grain pasta should be enjoyed with a sauce of your preference. Quinoa, comparatively, can be prepared as part of a salad or accompanied by a protein of your choice. Oatmeal is best cooked using water or milk and served with fruits, nuts, raisins, honey or a combination of these four ingredients put together. Yum, yum, yummy indeed!
Ample consumption of these whole grains do not only provide your body with a healthy source of nutrients such as B vitamins, zinc, iron, magnesium manganese, but can reduce your risk of various chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. In addition, consuming whole grains can cut your risk of obesity by preventing overeating and promotes healthy digestion by increasing the bulk of your stools and reducing your risk of constipation. Amazing how something so simple can be so good for you, aint’ it?
Foods that supplement your body with energy are an important requirement during the lockdown, especially when you take into consideration the time needed to realign your lifestyle to meet the demands of a regular day. These include foods that can provide your body with a readily available source of energy, such as carbs and protein as well as foods which provide a slow release of energy but an increase in power and stamina such as fibre and protein. And when it’s time to kick start your body again for “the new normal”, you would be happy to know that including these foods as part of a healthy diet is an assured step in the right direction. Stay healthy, and stay safe, folks!