Strategies to Optimize Nutrition During COVID-19
Many people are struggling with all of the new challenges of being in isolation during COVID-19 including overeating, stress eating, over drinking, having to look after hungry children, or just adjusting to this new norm.
I wanted to share some strategies to help you take better control in order to feel better during isolation and onwards into our daily lives.
Understanding a Healthy Immune System
Supporting the immune system is not about eating one specific food or supplement.
There is no quick fix. It’s about a comprehensive strategy to provide your body with what it needs to function at its best.
Poor diet, stress and lack of sleep all have an effect and can lower the body’s ability to fight infections and viruses.
Along with nutrient-dense foods that help the immune system to be strong, there are other dietary and supplement considerations.
Here are five key strategies to help support the immune system:
- Eat a balanced diet to support your immune system, your gut, and to help lower inflammation.
- Choose supplements that may help to support your immune system.
- Exercise – strength training and cardio
- Implement stress management techniques (yoga, meditation and mindfulness)
- Make sleep a priority.
Let’s focus on the first strategy…
Eating a balanced diet to support your immune system
Add more nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Variety, nutrient density and synergy is the key as well as healthy proteins that provide amino acids, the building blocks of the immune system.
Complex carbs like grains and legumes provide substantial energy that the body needs to function properly. Vitamins and minerals are catalysts for all body functions, especially the immune system.
Be sure to include the following nutrients:
- Essential Fatty Acids: Found in chia, flax, hemp, cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna, butter, eggs, raw nuts and seeds
- Vitamin A-Rich Foods: Eggs, butter, cod liver oil, sweet potatoes, carrots, tuna, squash, spinach and other green leafy vegetables
- Vitamin C–Rich Foods: Citrus fruits, carrots, kiwi, bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries and other berries, broccoli, cabbage
- Vitamin E-Rich Foods: Olive oil, avocados, sunflower seeds, walnuts, salmon, turnip greens, mangos
- Vitamin D-Rich Foods: Cod liver oil, salmon, mushrooms, milk or fortified milk substitutes, eggs
- Zinc-Rich Foods: Meats, lentils and legumes, dairy products, vegetables, oysters, sesame seeds, cashews and other nuts, legumes, chocolate and cocoa, baker’s and brewer’s yeast
You may have heard of probiotics and fermented foods to help feed the digestive tract with some good bacteria.
Examples of Probiotic and/or Fermented Foods:
- Cultured vegetables, miso, tempeh, sourdough, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, wine (red or white), unpasteurized beer
- Raw honey contains 10 strain of good bacteria and has antimicrobial properties
So How Do We Get Started?… With One Meal at a Time!
Start focusing on one meal at a time and hydration as well! Aim for the first meal of the day (no matter what time you eat it) to be nutrient dense by incorporating healthy whole food options on your plate. This includes healthy proteins, healthy fiber (fruits and vegetables), complex carbs and healthy fats.
Start the day off right by eating breakfast and making the right choices. Research shows that if we eat a healthy breakfast, it can help to reduce night time eating and reduces snacking as well. Or if you are intermittient fasting these are some great options to get started with that first meal of the day.
Please enjoy my FREE collection of nutritious & delicious breakfast recipes to nourish your body and soul…
Let’s remain hopeful, positive and connected to get through these trying times together…
To your health,
P.S. If you found this article about supporting your immune system helpful, please share and leave a comment below.
Marsha Fenwick, C.N.P. R.R.T.
Marsha is not your typical nutritionist. She began her career 20 years ago as a Registered Respiratory Therapist. Later, she earned her certifications as a Registered Nutritional Consultant Practitioner, Certified Nutritional Practitioner, and Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner. Marsha is also a Certified Cancer Coach. Her clinical practice specializes in: sustainable healthy weight loss, digestive health, women's hormones, diabetes, heart health, and cancer prevention and recovery. For more information and to book a FREE 15 minute consultation go to Marsha Fenwick Nutrition.