Is staying at home becoming hazardous to your health?
According to a recent University of Utah study:
People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher) are at a greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. This data is listed right alongside those who are elderly, have serious health issues, immune suppression, diabetes, etc.
This may help us be mindful that while we are staying at home to protect our health we want to be careful not to compromise it by packing on extra pounds.
What you eat while you are at home is very important to accomplish the goal of staying well. The foods you eat should be high in quality and not so high in quantity. This can be very difficult when we are all stuck at home and living outside of our normal routine... But it is still possible to eat well and maintain a healthy weight. I have listed a few tips below that might help.
1. Are you bored or hungry? If you are feeling "hungry" wait 20 minutes before you decide to get a snack. If the urge is still there after you have occupied yourself maybe you will have had time to make a healthier choice while you were waiting.
2. Drink, drink,drink....
Dehydration is often confused with hunger. Consuming a healthy amount of water daily is crucial to overall health and wellness. A large percentage of people live on a lower amount of water than the body needs to thrive. It is recommended that each person should consume half their body weight in ounces for optimal hydration and therefore optimal health. If this seems like a huge amount then start off slowly by adding one extra 16 ounce glass of water a day until you reach at least 64 ounces a day and progress from there. Oftentimes drinking one glass of water will help stave off displaced hunger.
3. Stay busy!
I know this is a challenging time but it can also be a huge blessing. Make a checklist of all the things you always said you wished that you had time to do such as deep cleaning, organizing the house, closets, garage, etc. Maybe even list hobbies you would like to start or recipes you want to make and add those on the list too. Staying busy helps to occupy our minds so that we do not end up "feeding" our boredom and then feeding ourselves too much food.
4. Switch one meal a day out with a delicious nutrient packed smoothie instead of empty calorie foods and snacks. I have a great meal replacement "Immune Boost Smoothie" recipe on my website.
This will help decrease some unwanted calorie consumption and give you tons of healthy vitamins and nutrients to boost the immune system.
5. No mindless eating! Mindless eating seems to just happen if we are not careful so tune into those snacks and make sure that you really "need it before you eat it".
Ask yourself the questions: Am I really hungry and if so am I hungry enough to eat something healthy? If those cut up veggies or fresh fruit do not seem appetizing then maybe it is not really hunger but something else. Find a distraction, take a walk, play with the kids, or maybe go clean something instead of giving into the craving.
6. Fresh air, exercise, and good old "vitamin sunshine"
Incorporating these into your daily life can help stop the "munchie monster" dead in its tracks.
Fresh air is a natural disinfectant. is more harmful to airborne bacteria than indoor air thanks to something called the "Open Air Factor". Although this remains somewhat of a mystery it still works wonders when it comes to killing viruses.
According to the Surgeon General of the Massachusetts State Guard:
`The efficacy of open air treatment has been absolutely proven, and one has only to try it to discover its value.’
Exercise serves a dual purpose by helping decrease appetite due to the production of feel good hormones- endorphins, a type of neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger. They help relieve pain and stress and boosts the immune system.
Endorphins are only one of many neurotransmitters released when you exercise. Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood and help fight off cravings.
For example, regular exercise can positively impact serotonin levels in your brain. Raising your levels of serotonin boosts your mood and overall sense of well-being. It can also help improve your appetite and sleep cycles, which are often negatively affected by depression.
Regular exercise also helps balance your body’s level of stress hormones, such as adrenaline.
Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body's immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies or WBCs circulate more rapidly, so they could detect illnesses earlier than they might have before.
The brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing. This temperature rise may help the body fight infection better. (This is similar to what happens when you have a fever.)
Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Some stress increases the chance of illness. Lower stress hormones may protect against illness.
Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3.
Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. Getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine helps the body store vitamin D which helps the body maintain a healthy weight, boost immunity, and fight depression.