Let’s start with the positives. What we can control and what can we change? Right now, there is so much we cannot control – the invisible virus, the financial markets and the curious behaviour of people around us.
But we can control a few things starting with what we eat, how that affects our sleep and the knock-on effect on our minds. If the brain is well nourished, our thoughts are clearer and calmer, and we push into a pro-active, positive mind-set. Here are some important wellness habits to embrace for true wellbeing.
Keep It Clean
Firstly, make sure anyone who has symptoms keeps out of the kitchen and even away from family dinners. This is a time where sitting down together at the table is not ideal.
Even without symptoms, everyone needs to practise good hygiene for food safety in the kitchen. That means frequent and thorough hand washing, not touching faces, proper cough etiquette
It’s also important to avoid sharing eating and drinking utensils. Assign everyone their own cup, plate, bowl, and cutlery, and make sure each set is washed with detergent and water, then put in the dishwasher. Use disposable paper towels to wipe down surfaces frequently with disinfectant cleaning products.
Just because you and your family are isolated doesn’t mean you should eat tasteless, boring or low nutrient food. And the food doesn’t need to be expensive either. Getting innovative in the kitchen can be a good distraction if you are cooped up. Share recipes with friends and cook for one another.
Pantry Essentials – that are affordable!
- Eggs: As well as containing a wide range of vitamins and minerals, eggs are among the richest sources of choline, a nutrient that makes acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain involved in nerve and brain functioning and memory. Many of the B vitamins found in eggs are important for mental wellbeing. Vitamin D – Eggs are among the few food sources of vitamin D, needed for bones, teeth, muscles and a strong immune system.
- Milk is a versatile and budget-friendly way to pack a variety of nutrients into your diet, including B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and iodine.
- Almonds and nuts generally are powerhouses. I know they do not appear to be economical, but they are when you consider the nutritional density. Nuts are a heart-friendly and provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals. There’s evidence that, almonds may help us better regulate our weight and reduce belly fat, possibly because they help fill us up and replace other snacks in our diet that is higher in calories and lower in nutrients. Seven nuts and cup of herbal tea is the perfect snack, so we boost our brain and not our waistline.
- Canned and frozen veggies are antioxidants that come in packages. Fresh is best but not so accessible or affordable for many. Pick up frozen broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms, broad beans, green beans which have long freezer life.
- Sweet potatoes/kumara are the “super taters”. Better than white potatoes as they contain a wider range of nutrients and are especially rich in beta-carotene, which the body uses to make vitamin A, a nutrient that’s vital for our immune system and healthy skin.
- Legumes are the power duo as they are both carb and protein. Beans and pulses are a source of probiotics for friendly bacteria in the gut. We need a healthy gut for a strong immune system.