Nutrition through the pandemic

Have questions about your nutrition and coronavirus? Bella our dietician will provide answers to some of the most common questions.

Is there a specific diet that will make my immune system more resistant to the COVID-19?

Short answer – no. The best thing you can do for your immune system is follow our National Guidelines for healthy eating (https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating): 2 serves of fruit, 5 serves of veg along with grains, beans, lentils and lean protein sources.

Be mindful that the wellness industry may be targeting consumers during these uncertain times. Remember to use trusted sources of information and to critically assess any claims made. This handy list (https://www.pennutrition.com/enews.aspx?id=78#709) compiled by Dietitians of Canada and PEN: Practice -Based Evidence in Nutrition® can help you to assess whether or not a food/wellness product is legitimate.

Should I be taking supplements? If so, which ones?

The answer to this question varies person to person, but broadly speaking, if you are eating a variety of foods, it is not necessary for you to add supplements to your diet.

However, with the increase in hours spent in doors due to self-isolation and social distancing measures, a Vitamin D supplement may be beneficial. Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and it also acts as a regulator of the immune system. There are two ways to get Vitamin D – through contact with sunlight, or through food. Our skin contains a precursor to Vitamin D which is activated by the UVB radiation from the sun. Popular food sources of Vitamin D include fortified margarine, fatty fish and eggs.

The adequate intake for adults is:

19-50 yrs

5 micrograms/day

51-70 yrs

10 micrograms/day

> 70 yrs

15 micrograms/day

What about Vitamin C?

Vitamin C (>200mg/day) has been shown to reduce the length and severity of the common cold – however this is only if it is taken habitually before you get sick.

I’m bored at home and keep wanting to eat – what can I do?

It is very easy to over indulge when you are feeling bored – and even the stress of this pandemic may be causing bouts of emotional eating. This is not uncommon and you are not alone.

The best thing you can do is get a routine in place – get proper sleep, wake at the same time everyday, and have meal and snack breaks built into your day. If you are working from home eat your meal or snack away from the desk. Make it a time when you tune into your body and respond to its needs. If you have an energy lapse in the afternoon, instead of reaching for a high sugar/high fat option; take an active break. Do a 15 minute YouTube video – or if motivation is a problem, sign up for one of Port Melbourne Physiotherapy and Pilates’ online classes.

Make sure you have healthy snack options as well – if you are bored and want to munch on something, use it as an opportunity to get some vegies in. Chop up some carrot sticks or buy a few packs of cukes. All the mindless chomping with none of the calories.

Is there anything else I should be doing?

Yes, one more thing, so glad you asked. Getting movement into every day, including plenty of fibre in your diet and drinking lots of water are all key in preventing constipation. If you start having difficulty going to the toilet (whether it’s because your diets has changed from being at home, or you’re not getting your daily walking commute in), ramp up the vegies and wholegrains in your diet; make sure you’re getting 2-2.5L water per day and do some activity. It all counts.

Can I still book a consult with you?

I will still be available for consult over the phone or through video calls during this time: if you would like to book an appointment you can contact me via this form on my website (https://www.chowbellanutrition.net/contact) or email PMPP directly at info@portmelbournephysio.com.au.

You may also find this previous blog useful: Boosting immunity


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