Supporting Your Nutrition During Self-Isolation
Tuesday 24th Mar 2020
Our team of experts have put together their top tips to support your health during this challenging time. Here are our recommendations when it comes to nutrition!
Vitamin D plays a vital role in human health. The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. Food sources include oily fish (salmon and mackerel), red meat, egg yolks and fortified foods such as cereal, fat spreads, soy / almond milk.
Low levels of vitamin D can dramatically impact a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. As we age, the risk of vitamin D deficiency significantly increases, due to less time spent outdoors and reduced nutritional intake.
hero Head of Content & Education Samantha Gaunt says, “Vitamin D’s primary role is to help the body absorb calcium and phosphorous from food to help maintain healthy bones. The implications of vitamin D deficiency on the immune system have also become clearer in recent years, suggesting vitamin D is also key to reducing the risk of developing infection. “
As many of you know, the COVID-19 illness may force people to spend more time indoors which subsequently reduces the opportunity to make enough vitamin D in their skin from direct light exposure. Studies have also confirmed a link between low levels of vitamin D and mental ill health.
Therefore it is important we consciously maintain our vitamin D status through diet, sunlight exposure where possible and potentially introducing supplementation to those who need it most. The NHS recommends a 10 micrograms supplementation per day is enough to maintain a healthy vitamin D status, supporting not only our immunity but also our overall physical and mental wellbeing.
To boost your vitamin D intake, consider incorporating these foods into your diet:
A feast for the eyes & taste buds, this delicious salad provides a deliciously balanced meal, packed full of health. The noodles provide fuel & the salmon is full of protein, in addition to vitamin D and omega-3 fats, which are great for brain & heart health. The carrot is a good source of vitamin A, which is good for eye health. The spinach & peppers provide vitamin C to support a healthy immune system. The sesame seeds and a great texture, flavour & boost fibre & good fats.
Maintaining a healthy gut contributes to better overall health and immune function. Reducing stress levels, and ensuring we are adopting appropriate lifestyle and dietary changes, we can positively alter our gut environment. It is important to note that our gut health can also be linked to our mood, with 90% of Serotonin (happy hormone) receptors located in the gut.
Gut health hacks include:
If you’re still looking to satisfy your sweet tooth but with more nutritional value, how about trying our nutritionist Dr Tom Little’s favourite breakfast. These power pancakes are such a tasty treat and provide a great balanced breakfast with only moderate calories. The oat base rather than flour means these pancakes have more fibre & keep blood sugars more stable. Blueberries add delicious flavour, and are have one the highest ORAC rankings (anti-oxidant levels). The banana is a good source of potassium, important for nerve function.
Water makes up two thirds of our body. Staying optimally hydrated is key to maintaining our overall health from a cellular level, aiding the transportation of nutrients and oxygen around the body, ridding of waste products and toxins, controlling our body temperature and assisting the digestive process.
Healthy cells equal happy tissues, happy organs and happy systems, enabling our body to thrive under external pressures. Proper hydration boosts our immune system, supporting it to fight off foreign invaders and remove all harmful bacteria. Our kidneys are able to ‘flush’ out toxins, our lymph system is ready to capture and destroy bacteria, and our brain function is optimised. hero Head of Content & Education Samantha says, “In the brain, hydration facilitates the production of Melatonin, the main hormone involved in our sleep-wake cycle, which in turn supports healthy sleeping patterns. Healthy sleeping patterns help strengthen our immune system, and the list goes on.”
The amount of fluid required for an individual is dependent on many different factors, including climate, age, physical activity rating. The Eatwell Guide suggests drinking between 6-8 glasses of fluid per day. Eating water-rich foods can also contribute up to 20% of our hydration status, which includes plenty of fruit and vegetables!
Signs of dehydration are visible in your urine. Dark and strong smelling urine is a clear sign that you need to drink more fluids.
Use the above NHS urine colour chart to check for signs of dehydration. Healthy pee is 1-3, 4-8 must hydrate.
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