We have all had to adjust our normal routines as the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs and flows across different parts of the country this year. The overall coronavirus recovery rate is estimated between 97% and 99.75%, but many of us continue to take prudent precautions to protect ourselves and the immune-compromised friends and family in our life. This can make something as simple as grocery shopping much harder than usual.
Nutrition plays a huge role in having a healthy immune system no matter what is going on in the world. The foods we eat provide our bones and muscles with the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that not only help us perform at our best, but they also ensure that our immune system has the support it needs to help ward off sickness. There are many ways that you can be healthy and nutrition smart during COVID-19.
Choose Stable Fresh Foods
One of the major ways the pandemic has impacted our lives is how we shop for groceries. From the types of food we buy to limiting the number of times we shop each week, it can be a challenge to also make sure that healthy foods that don’t spoil easily make their way into our cart.
It’s essential to look for produce that has a long storage life:
- Apples have a great shelf life! They can last weeks on the counter and up to 2 months if refrigerated.
- Cabbage is another versatile vegetable that can last for months when stored in the fridge.
- Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes are long lasting when stored in the drawer of your refrigerator.
- Root Vegetables like garlic, onion, potatoes and sweet potatoes will last weeks when stored in a cool, dry place.
Alternatives to Fresh
It’s easy to reach for canned fruits and veggies when you’re trying to stock up your pantry for the long haul so that you can make fewer trips to the grocery store. But this may not always be the healthiest choice. Salt, sugar and preservatives are sometimes added as part of the canning process. When choosing canned goods, be sure to look for the “Low Sodium” or “No Salt Added” varieties and choose goods that are packed in water or their own natural juices rather than syrup. Also, be sure to drain and rinse foods when you’re able to help lower their salt and sugar contents.
A healthier option is to go for the flash-frozen version. Frozen produce is just fresh produce that is harvested at its peak ripeness, blanched, then flash frozen within hours of the harvest time. This locks in nutrients helping to make it as healthy as the fresh versions. You can find many of your favorite fruits and veggies in the freezer section of the grocery store. Like the canned versions, just check the ingredient labels to make sure there aren’t any unexpected added ingredients.
When times are stressful it’s tempting to seek comfort in the foods we love, even if those foods aren’t the best nutritionally. These treats not only adds empty calories to our diets, it also impacts the immune system and slows down the body’s ability to fight disease. Try limiting high-sugar, high-fat items like sweets, ice cream and other desserts. If you feel like your sweet tooth is getting the best of you, try naturally sweet whole fruits like berries or make an ice cream substitute with frozen bananas. You’ll curb your cravings and get the added benefit of naturally derived vitamins and antioxidants.
Add A Probiotic
Our bodies contain a metropolis of microorganisms and microbes! The large majority of these live within our intestines. Gut bacteria plays a key role in our immune activity and response. Prebiotic diet is one that is high-fiber and plant rich with whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These foods help feed our healthy microbes. Probiotics are foods that contain live “good” bacteria that help maintain healthy colonies within our digestive systems. Try adding yogurt with live cultures, fermented veggies like sauerkraut or even kombucha to help digest food, fight harmful bacteria, and regulate your immune system.
Loyalty Fitness has always been committed to keeping our clients healthy while helping to improve their overall fitness. From virtual training sessions to clean and safe in-person one-on-one personal training appointments with nutritional guidance, we’re here for you! Contact us today for more information and to set up a session with one of our certified personal trainers.