Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid alcohol. Take your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime.
The current quarantine period, if not handled well, can affect your work and health.
It’s important to lift up the spirits and prioritise health.
Sadly, most of us are not sure of how to do it. The gyms are shut and activity levels have dropped. Availability of food essentials are limited as well.
Most of us have been busy watching movies, listening to music, reading best-selling books or just napping to cut time.
However, these can temporarily improve our mood while further adding to sedentary time.
Here are some simple changes you can make in your daily life that can help you stay fit and healthy.
While planning your daily/weekly diet, include these foods:
Omega 3 rich foods
Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, choose fatty fish over any other varieties, add nuts like almonds, walnuts, from seeds opt for Flax and chia seeds, as these are easily available at home and also keeps you full for longer.
These also help improve brain function by strengthening brain cells and cell signalling to deal with quarantine time
The most versatile fruit that we always look out for when hungry as it’s full of energy boosting nutrients, is easily available in the lock down as well and can stay for 3-4 days depending on how ripe the fruit is.
Idlis, dosas, sauerkraut, kefir, yoghurt, buttermilk, homemade pickles (with less oils) etc are rich in probiotics ie. good bacteria.
They help improve immunity by strengthening the gut. Immunity being the need of the hour and also making these fermented doesn’t need elaborate ingredients.
Idli batter can be made once and as it uses only 2 ingredients that is rice and urad dal both of which is easily available at home and are not perishable.
Batter once made can be stored in fridge and used as per requirements (avoid adding salt to batter as it gets spoiled faster add salt only before cooking
These are rich in fibres that act like fuel to the gut bacteria.
It can be used as an instant breakfast option that keeps you full for a long time along with supplying important nutrients to the body.
Nuts and seeds
Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds etc are not only rich in plant-based proteins but also good source of fibres and good fats that helps sustain energy levels for long.
Beans and lentils
A rich source of B Complex vitamins, these help increase levels of neurotransmitters like GABA, serotonin, dopamine, all of which are important for staying strong in these times of emergency and panic.
They also have long shelf life and so when vegetable supply are limited beans, pulses and lentils come to rescue.
The sunshine vitamin helps improve brain health, gut health, bone health and many more. This is inexpensive and abundantly available.
Foods like fortified milk, cheese etc have some vit D however the best is to take direct sunlight. 7am -10 am is the best time for sunlight exposure as the harmful UV rays are minimum during these hours.
Along with food, activity is another factor that has a major influence on one’s health.
Due to less or no domestic help one can try hands on household chores like mopping, brooming, washing and cleaning as these burns somewhere around 150 to 200 calories per task.
Also, there are expert performing home-based exercise videos available online. All you need to do is pick up one that suits you and practice it.
There are videos available from yoga to Tabata to functional training to choose from.
3. Sleep (Rest)
Lock down doesn’t mean that we become a couch potato and do nothing but just eat and rest.
While it’s important to take adequate rest one must understand to not over do things as it may add up to lethargy and unnecessary weight gain.
Quality sleep helps to curb unwanted cravings and controls the hunger and satiety hormones and regulates natural detoxification.
People suffering from acidity, constipation, difficulty losing weight and other related issues can see a drastic change in all these conditions if sleep quality is taken care.
Some of the best ways to ensure good sleep are:
- Go off blue light emitting gadgets like mobile, TV, laptops etc as they affect sleep hormone secretion
- Take last meal minimum 2.5-3 hours before bedtime
- Keep dinner light but with adequate proteins and fibres
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine beverages too close to bedtime
- Taper down water intake towards day end to avoid visiting the restroom which may disturb your sleep
- Keep sleep-wake up cycle constant
- Drink chamomile tea if you are finding it difficult to sleep
- Take warm water shower with Epsom salt before bedtime
4. Emotional detoxification
Another important aspect of health is staying emotionally strong.
Every emotion leads to a chemical release in the body that in turn affects organs and their functioning.
Emotions like anger, hatred, jealousy, sorrow etc have negative impact on health similarly emotions like happiness, winning, laughter and even watching a comedy show have a positive impact on our health.
Best ways to emotionally detox are:
- Include good fats like seeds, nuts, cold pressed coconut oil etc
- Exercise daily; it helps release endorphins -- happy hormones
- Practice yoga and deep breathing
- Practice meditation
- Pray daily
- Chat with your loved ones
- Play with your kids or pet in the house
- Avoid negative conversations and people
Some of these small lifestyle changes can help you reap large health benefits.
Dr Deepti Bagree is national head of healthcare division at RESET -- Holistic Living Concepts, Bandra, Mumbai. She can be contacted on email@example.com.