With the COVID-19 pandemic already taking a toll on both our physical and mental well-being, there is no way we can compromise with our lifestyle anymore as the scare of OMICRON looms at our doorsteps. We cannot let our guard down now. Maintaining our health and wellness along with a strong, healthy immune system has become the need of the hour.
Having said that, we hope that the new dawn of 2022 brings with it new hopes for mankind with good health, peace and happiness.
Let us reiterate the habits we can build towards healthier eating in the new year:
Plan your meals in advance
Planning meals help ensure that you are eating a variety of foods. Planning ahead to have wholesome-food focused meals with available ingredients will help you make the healthy choice an easy choice. It has been proven that the overall quality of your food increases with each weekly increase in your home-cooked food. It can also help you eat more fruits and vegetables, which can aid in maintaining your body’s health and immunity.
When you’re hungry, your blood sugar drops. This is when you are most likely to go for an unhealthy choice and some of us settle for the closest fast food joint or processed, ready-cooked foods. Meal planning eliminates this issue where you have a balanced meal readily available, filled with nutrient-dense food, prepared and ready to eat. Simplify your mornings too by pre-preparing your breakfast.
Include more whole foods on our plate
Eating fresh and whole foods is a hearty way to keep you and your family healthy. One easy way to eat more whole foods is to cook more of your meals and snacks. Whole grains are nominally processed and thus more nutritious than refined grains. Try adding herbs, spices or other roasted vegetables for something new. Include whole fresh fruit for dessert or when a hunger craving strikes.
Eat local, eat seasonal
At its basic sentiment, “eating local ” means choosing and revelling the finest flavours of our numerous regions. Local food provides the best nutrition, yields a lesser amount of waste and supports sustainable agriculture and local economies. Eating local nurtures our families, and the people we care for. Besides its nutritional quality, locally produced seasonal foods come with many other advantages one of which is that these are very cost-effective.
Seasonal produce is more nutritious, fresher and tastes better. Fruits and vegetables taken that have been naturally ripened on the vine or the tree and harvested at the right time will have much more flavour and nutrition. Moreover, foods that are transported from far off places, the burden of the cost of transportation and storage gets transferred to the customers and they end up paying more.
Increase your Vitamin D intake
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that can help protect your bones. It plays a critical role in regulating our immune system. Vitamin D is referred to as “the sunshine vitamin” because the sun is one of the best sources of this nutrient. However, you may not be getting enough of it, so spend at least 10 to 15 minutes in the sun every other day, and possibly longer for those with darker skin. We can maintain sufficient vitamin D levels through a combination of exposure to sunlight, a vitamin-D-rich diet, and taking vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it is absorbed best in your bloodstream when combined with fatty foods. Focus on including a variety of healthy fats in your diet. It will also help you stay fuller and feel more satisfied for longer. Top your salad with nuts and seeds instead of croutons for a healthy fat boost.
Incorporate activities in your daily routine
Exercise boosts your immune system. You may be busy but whatever your routine, your lifestyle or your health, there are physical activities that you can do. Develop a realistic exercise plan for your lifestyle and routine. Learn an exercise or two, which you can do quick and easy if you have constraints of time. Always keep in mind; any exercise is better than none. By making time for activity daily, you will be setting yourself up for improved long-term health.
Drink lots of water
Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day to make your self-hydration commitment easy. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already slightly dehydrated. To avoid long periods without drinking water, drink or sip whenever you think of or see your bottle. Although plain water is best for staying hydrated, other drinks and foods can help, too. Fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas can also add to your day’s requirements.
Staying informed and taking an interest to learn about your health is the first step towards self-care, and towards adopting a healthier lifestyle. Self-care starts with educating yourself and the support of your health care providers. Caring for one’s health, staying informed and aware should become a trend because of the change in technology and our lifestyle. Sometimes it’s not easy to make choices about your well-being. Knowing where to look or who to talk to will certainly help you to a healthy and independent lifestyle.