At unsettling times like these, it might feel that one has lost control of their diet. Most routines have been thrown into disarray and the future, as experts claim, is far from certain. Apart from social distancing and washing your hands with antibacterial soap frequently, there are many more things you can do to protect your health and wellbeing. The most important being your diet. Read on for tips from Olga Donica, Resident Dietician & Expert in Lifescience-Nutrition at Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland on how to maintain a healthy diet while in lockdown:
Foods that boost immunity
Since your immune system is directly connected to your gut, it is essential to have foods that act by improving and restoring your intestinal microflora. Add more probiotics and foods that boost your immunity like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha. Blueberries, oats, flaxseeds, leeks, onions, mushrooms, asparagus, garlic are all among powerful prebiotics and should be part of your diet too.
Variety is key
There is no one specific nutrient which will give you a better immune system; but a mixed diet with lots of fruits and vegetables definitely has its benefits. A balanced diet will give you both the macronutrients (protein and carbohydrate) and the vital micronutrients (zinc, selenium, vitamin A, etc) that you need.
Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are imperative to include in your diet. Red coloured fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins, lycopene and other flavonoids that are known to fight the oxidative stress. Blueberries, plums and eggplant are great for protecting your nervous system. Yellow coloured vegetables such as pumpkin, squash carrots, sweet potato are rich in beta- carotenes important for skin health, immune system and preventing cancer cell development. For greens, choose the cruciferous family that includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, kales, collard, garden cress etc that provide liver and gut support.
Ideally, consuming foods with high nutrient density and diversity seems to be the best approach for minimizing cellular stress and promoting optimal health. A good combination of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes is what the body needs daily. Remember quality over quantity. For example, potatoes cannot be used to replace vegetables and fruits can’t be substituted by juices. Stay away from refined starches as they are poor in fibers and micronutrients. Items to add to your grocery shopping list are buckwheat, black rice, quinoa, millet, bean-based pasta, oats etc.
The secret to maintaining a healthy diet is cooking your meals at home with delicious and fresh ingredients, even if it’s a simple dish such as soup. Vegetables and beans-based soups are an extremely nutritive source of fiber and contain important vitamins.
Many other healthy recipes which are easy to create in your kitchen are bowls, sautéed food, quinoa salads, vegan dishes etc.
All vitamins are important for the body and these nutrients can be derived from natural sources. There are two types of vitamins in food: water-soluble vitamins (eg. Vitamin C) which are needed every day in our diet and are more fragile to cook with; and Fat-soluble vitamins (eg. Vitamin A or Vitamin E) which are more stable during cooking and get stored in the liver and fatty tissues.
Vitamin D is especially important for your immune system. It is vital to get your daily dose of sunshine by stepping out for a bit. Vitamin E is also extremely important for your skin and immunity. This can be derived from nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado etc. which contain considerable amounts of this incredible vitamin. One tsp of flaxseeds everyday can cover your daily Vitamin E requirement.
Detox at home Doing a medicalized detox program of course has its own powerful benefits of getting you targeted results thanks to a holistic approach that does include, at Clinique La Prairie, diagnosis, genetics tests, science-driven supplements and lifestyle plans. But with the current travel ban, those at home can kick-start smart nutrition strategies that can boost your body capacity to detoxify such as eliminating lactose, gluten, coffee, alcohol, sugar, animal fats, processed foods. Alternatively choose fresh, whole foods and plant-based ingredients with high nutrient density to help detox the body. Do not neglect the power of seeds, nuts, legumes and specially spices and aromatic herbs. These superfoods are a source of powerful phytochemicals which play an important role in liver detoxification.
However, home detoxification is not recommended for pregnant women or patients with specific clinical conditions such as severe gastrointestinal impairment.