Hi everyone, just a very quick intro from me (Jillian TLGB) today. We are super lucky Gillian from The Little Nutrition Co guest blogging for us today. Read on to find out her top tips for staying healthy during lockdown!
How are you spending lockdown? Are you tearing your hair out juggling home schooling whilst working from your new makeshift office, or are you lounging on the couch with the remote control and a picnic of comfort foods? Whatever your approach it’s a strange and uncertain time for most of us and there is a virus afoot that we may need to fight. So how do we remain healthy on lockdown?
Eat the Rainbow
Rainbows are not just for our windows. Fruit and veg are a powerhouse of health supporting vitamins, phytonutrients and anti-oxidants. Studies show they support everything from heart health to memory so try to have 8 portions daily (heavy on the veg, light on the fruit). Fill your plate with a variety of colours as the phytonutrients that give food their colour support different elements of our health and our gut bacteria thrive on the diversity.
Mix up your leftover veg and throw them in to soups, stews, salads and smoothies to boost your intake. Veggies provide fibre to support your gut health where 70% of your immune system resides. A healthy gut in turn supports your mental health via the gut brain axis and who doesn’t need that right now? Don’t forget you can order a plastic free fruit and veg box from The Little Green Larder just now. Click here for info.
Include some vitamin C items daily, good sources are kiwi, red pepper, broccoli and oranges. Other immune supporting foods include brazil nuts which are a great source of selenium and pumpkin seeds are a good plant-based source of zinc, allow yourself a generous portion. Nuts and seeds are also a good source of magnesium and our demand increases in times of stress, so now might be a good time to increase your intake.
Garlic is known as a superfood due to its myriad health benefits, including fighting viruses. Its active ingredient is allicin. To unleash its power, use a garlic crusher and allow the crushed garlic to sit for 10mins before adding it to your dish. This allows enzymes to activate the allicin.
With 24/7 access to the kitchen, there has never been a better time to dig out and dust off your old cookbooks. Home cooking gives you total control of the sugar and salt intake and is free from all those nasty additives. If you are baking try mixing it up, switch white flour for more nutrient dense options that better support your blood sugar such as coconut, buckwheat or chickpea flour.
Studies show a sedentary lifestyle can increase risk of chronic disease so try to take advantage of the available time outside every day. Even a daily 30min brisk walk is beneficial to health and once we get into the summer months the sun will provide us with UVB rays that we convert into vitamin D, another nutrient that supports our immune system.
Your body restores and repairs overnight, cleansing everything from your gut to your brain cells so switch off your alarm and enjoy 8 hours sleep to maximise the benefits. Eating before bedtime can lead to disrupted sleep when your blood sugar dips so try not to eat 3 hours before bed. Avoid the news after dinner as this may switch on your ‘fight or flight’ nervous system. Switch off smart phones and tablets one hour before bed to stop the blue light interfering with melatonin, your sleep hormone.
Most of us know we should be eating more veggies and taking daily exercise, but we often don’t have time in our hectic lives. I can’t argue that there are many drawbacks to our new way of life, but one positive may be that lockdown has the potential to provide us with an opportunity to adopt new healthy habits that last long after the virus has passed.
Gillian Simpson runs The Little Nutrition Company in Dundee, empowering people in Dundee and Angus to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.