Updated: Apr 15, 2021
Do you need to take charge of your health?
The past 3 months have been quieter in one sense as the world has been put on pause, but for many people working from home, looking after children, cooking, cleaning etc have made the past 3 months a really , stressful and overwhelming time.
During lockdown, for many, food has become a real focus and you may have got into a ‘grazing’ mindset through boredom and when stress levels have been higher. When life is tough, our default setting can be to ‘treat’ ourselves as a way of coping with challenging situations. So, during lockdown have you have eaten more unhealthy snacks and increased your alcohol intake? Unfortunately, sugar depletes the immune system and many people are lacking in important vitamins and minerals due to the high levels of stress we have been under. Also, alcohol increases anxiety and acts as a depressant.
There are many people lacking important vitamins and minerals most commonly magnesium and B vitamins because the more stressed we are the more B nutrients are quickly used. This is especially true of B6 which is an essential co-factor needed to produce our two key stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. In terms of our mental health, brain neurotransmitters which improve our mood namely serotonin and dopamine require Vitamin B6. These neurotransmitters are essential for helping the body cope with stress.
So, this is all about what you can do right NOW to support a healthy body and a healthy mindset.
Here are 5 easy tips for you to improve your health NOW:
Up your vegetable intake and eat least 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day from every colour of the rainbow. They are high in polyphenols, antioxidants, A, C, E, zinc and selenium which will all boost your immune system
Eat protein at every meal to help balance blood sugar levels and will keep you feeling full until the next meal
Eat a diet based on whole foods - and use recipes that provide sound nutrition to provide you with all the nutrients you need including the all-important B vitamins (found in whole grains, left veg, fruits, meat, fish, eggs and dairy products)
Keep adequately hydrated so make sure you drink plenty of water (1½ -2 litres per day - so important especially in the sunshine
Sleep - make sure you get enough sleep. I know this can be hard when we have a lot to cope with but sleep
We’re in a world where we have little control so it’s even more important to concentrate on the things we can do.
Finally, make your health a priority – start by making small achievable changes. I know these tips seem very basic but good health doesn’t have to be complicated. In my experience, often the basics get easily forgotten, and you need to these right first for optimum results.
As we all emerge out of lockdown, now could be the perfect time to give your body and mind a health MOT and begin a fresh start. With the potential for us all to look after our health better, we can start these positive changes now. Also, for those of you who haven’t been working through lockdown now is the time to get some focus into your diet and feed your brain. Although I’m a big believer in using good nutrition to promote health rather than focus on weight, if you have put on a couple of pounds over lockdown that you are looking to lose, a full body MOT will help with that goal.