Over the past month, the world has seemingly been turned on its head thanks to growing concern over the coronavirus pandemic. Whether you’re quarantining, self-isolating, or practicing social distancing, it’s likely that your day-to-day life has completely changed.
Children are off of school, many more people are working from home, and there’s no leaving the house unless it’s for a job or to grab some essential groceries.
Despite it only being a few short weeks, many people are already seeing changes in their health. All the gyms are closed and it’s difficult to get your steps in when you’re cooped up in your house.
Plus, the threat of quarantine has shoppers reaching for frozen pizzas and processed foods instead of their usual organic vegetables and whole grains.
Times of stress and difficult changes have been known to disrupt healthy lifestyles, and the current coronavirus situation certainly qualifies as stressful and difficult change.
It’s hard to say when we will be able to return to our normal lives, so it’s important to adapt to your current situation. If you’re having trouble sticking with your healthy lifestyle while in isolation, we have your back.
When we think of preventing the spread of COVID-19, we think of washing our hands, using hand sanitizer, getting enough sleep, and - of course - social distancing or isolating.
But did you know that a healthy diet is also essential to keeping your immune system in top shape? Instead of letting the situation control you and your diet, focus on controlling the situation by taking care of your diet and your immune system.
So, what foods should you focus on while isolating during the coronavirus pandemic?
One of the most important dietary recommendations we can make is to reduce your sugar intake. If your diet contains too much sugar, you will significantly slow down your body's healing process by flooding your bloodstream with glucose instead of flooding it with immune-boosting vitamins and antioxidants. Too much sugar "crowds out" your body's ability to absorb important nutrients that are needed during a time of immune defense.
Glucose negatively affects white blood cells, hampering their ability to fight infections that are introduced to your body. White blood cells absorb and destroy bacteria and viruses, but a blood sugar level of 120 will reduce this function by up to 75% for 4 to 6 hours.
Yeah, that's a significant drop. That's why we recommend removing all processed sugar and refined grains from your diet during this time.
So, what should you be eating while we try to flatten the curve?
There's nothing that benefits your body's immune system more than whole foods, fruits, and vegetables. In fact, your body can absorb phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes from whole foods much more easily than it can from pills.
Since our immune system largely resides in the gastrointestinal system, plant-based foods that feed our gut microbiome are perfect for boosting immunity. This means fiber-rich foods like whole grains, seeds, beans, sprouts, and vegetables are great for your immunity.
Additionally, brightly-colored fruits and vegetables are high in phytonutrients and antioxidants that have been proven to reduce inflammation and modulate your immune system. Plus, they can boost your body's level of natural killer cells, which are part of the immune system's rapid-response for infected cells.
These are some of our favorite immune-boosting foods:
We also recommend sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, apple cider vinegar, echinacea, and elderberry.
So, what does a typical immune-boosting meal look like? Make sure your meals are roughly 50% leafy green vegetables, 25% lean proteins, and 25% whole grains or additional vegetables. Onion or garlic-rich soups and broths are great additions to these meals as well.
Let’s be honest, snacking is the hardest part of maintaining a healthy diet while stuck at home. When you can’t leave the house, your snacks are always a few steps away. What can you do to resist this temptation?
Instead of trying to completely resist the temptation for quarantine snacks, why not try to simply snack smarter? Cravings are hard to resist, but there’s a way to reduce them.
Here’s a snack routine we recommend:
Morning Snack: One piece of fruit and a handful of nuts.
Afternoon Snack: Veggie sticks (carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers, etc.) with hummus.
Sticking with these snacks can keep your appetite at bay so you stop reaching for the cheesy poofs.
And if those snacks aren’t cutting it, check out our Sweet Fiber-Rich Granola recipe:
Your diet isn’t the only element of a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few additional tips to ensure you’re able to stick to a healthy lifestyle during isolation due to coronavirus:
Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do to help your immune system. When you're home all the time, days can run together and it can be difficult to get to bed or wake up on time. It might not seem like the biggest deal, but having a set schedule can go a long way during the quarantine.
Chronic stress has been known to hurt your immunity, so develop some self-care rituals to help you destress on the regular. Maybe practice deep breathing, read a book you've been meaning to get to, take epsom salt baths, or participate in guided meditations. If possible, getting outside for a walk for even a few minutes can also be hugely beneficial. All of these can significantly decrease cortisol (the stress hormone) levels.
You may be barred from going to the gym, but there are plenty of ways to keep your body moving. Moderate exercise has been shown to boost the immune system by increasing levels of white blood cells and antibodies. At the very least, make sure to take a walk for 30 minutes every day. You can also try out yoga, running stairs in your home, lifting weights, or doing simple bodyweight exercises.
It might not be the best time to head out for groceries, so why not ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs by ordering from SMART Pressed Juice?
After all, we have exactly what you need to stop cravings before they start with our Cut Cravings Bundle! This bundle is the perfect way to cut down on cravings and ensure you feel light, clean, and happy every day.
With this bundle, you'll receive Pineapple Chia Cleanse and Vegan Vanilla Proteini. This combination of proteini and activated fiber is exactly what your body needs to feel full, nourished, and satisfied all day.