As the UK population panic bought pasta in bulk, what do you really need to know about nutrition and Covid19/Coronavirus.
Unfortunately, there are no specific foods which can prevent you from catching Coronavirus. However, we all know that keeping our immune system healthy and working as well as possible can help us to recover from illness.
It is therefore vital that we continue to aim for a varied and balanced diet, including all of the major food groups, throughout these times. There are many key nutrients that help support our immune system including Vitamins A, C, D, B6 and B12 and minerals iron, selenium, zinc and copper.
Vitamin D is often referred to as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, even with a healthy balanced diet you are unlikely to get enough vitamin D through diet alone. It is therefore recommended that adults and children over the age of 1 in the UK take a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during autumn and winter. As we are being asked to stay inside more it may be that this period needs extending even into the summer months this year. To boost the vitamin D you are getting from your food include oily fish such as salmon, sardines and herring in your diet. Some breakfast cereals are also fortified with vitamin D.
Gut health plays an important role in our immune system and having healthy and happy gut bacteria is essential. The main way we can achieve this is through including a wide variety of different fibres in our diet. So before we all move onto our white pasta diet try to remember to include wholegrains where possible, also include a variety of fruits and vegetables and beans and pluses where you can.
To ensure you are getting a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and fibres we recommend to ‘eat a rainbow’…this means try to eat a wide variety of different colours of fruits and veg. Remember that fresh, frozen and tinned varieties are all good sources of nutrients. Just try to avoid anything that has been tinned in syrup as you will soon find your sugar intake shooting up.
Although these vitamins and minerals are essential for health, there is no evidence that taking high dose supplements helps. Some vitamins and minerals are toxic at high levels and having an excess of one can actually inhibit the absorption of another. So always aim to get your intake from food and seek advice from a registered Dietitian if you feel you need additional supplementation.
Thing are changing rapidly as we learn more about this virus. Currently there is no evidence to suggest that Coronavirus is transmitted through food. However food safety and hygiene is extremely important so always make sure you wash your hands before eating and washing fresh fruit and veg before eating is never a bad idea.
Lastly, these are strange times…it’s a Thursday morning and I am sat at home on my laptop. Usually I’d be out and about seeing clients and running from one place to the next. It’s all too easy to reach for the biscuits with that extra cup of tea or forget that I’m actually using a lot less energy than my normal Thursday. Make sure you adjust to what will be our new ‘normal’ for a while, adjust your calorie intake accordingly and make sure unhealthy habits don’ start to creep in. We all work hard to stay in shape and stay healthy don’t accidentally undo your hard work!