The Benefit of Good Nutrition in Corona Times

Ien Hellemans, Nutritionist

Strengthening the immune system to help fight off colds and infections is one constructive action we can and should take right now. While there are no magic foods to do this, tweaking what you eat can make a difference to your immune system. These tips for good nutrition will help you do just that.

  • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Choose different varieties and colours for a wide range of nutrients, including citrus, kiwifruit, berries, broccoli, capsicum and kale for vitamin C. Eat several types at every meal and snack on raw veggies (cherry tomatoes, carrots, celery sticks, cucumber, capsicum) and fruit. Also stack the freezer with a range of vegetables
  • Eat wholegrains, legumes and nuts to stimulate the good gut bacteria. They play an important role in our immune system
  • Also incorporate probiotic foods in your diet like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso and pickles. A probiotic drink like yakult delivers a very high dose of friendly bacteria
  • Omega-3 rich foods have a significant role in brain and immune function. Oily fish like sardines, salmon, mackerel and tuna are a rich source as are walnuts and flax seeds, however the latter are less well absorbed
  • Eat some protein at every meal and after intensive work-outs: fish, legumes, lean red meat, eggs, chicken, cows or soy milk, tofu, yoghurt and edamame beans are all good
  • Maintain a regular eating pattern to avoid the trap of grazing your way through the day on snacks rather than basic, healthy foods
  • Minimise intake of alcohol, it disrupts sleep and can compromise immune function
  • Match food intake to energy output, which may be altered due to changes in life-style during lockdown
  • Go outside for exercise and sun exposure every day. Vitamin D is important for good immune function and is mostly produced through sun exposure. Also eat vitamin D rich foods like eggs, oily fish, butter, some margarines and milks (check labels)
  • Supplements are generally not needed if following these guidelines; however supplemental vitamin C and zinc have shown to somewhat reduce the length and intensity of a cold. The potential benefit of supplements is best determined individually
  • Maintain a regular sleep-wake pattern and get adequate sleep
  • Look after your mental health through exercise, social connections, relaxation and mindfulness meditation

Keep these tips for good nutrition in mind to help you get the most out of your diet. And for practical and personalised nutrition advice for health, sport and managing your diet during the lockdown, book an on-line (skype, face time, phone) consult with Ien Hellemans

Call us on 03 366 0620 or Contact us here to make an appointment