COVID-19: Minding Your Health

We are in a situation that not one of us could have predicted. At the end of 2019, social media was flooded with posts highlighting how 2020 was going to be thee year – full of hope and optimism. Unfortunately, 2020 has become the year of COVID-19. To protect our health, we are advised to obey the recommendations implemented by the Irish government, following guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Many of us are working from home, entirely or in part, and this can come with many challenges. Here I share with you my top tips for minding your physical health and mental health during these uncertain and challenging times. Remember, each day we have the opportunity to act in such a way that will help to bring the country closer to being back to normal. #StayHomeStaySafe

The following information should not replace the advise of a health care professional. If you believe you have symptoms of COVID-19 please call your GP.

Limit Media Consumption

Choose one medium for getting your news. This has been a great tip that I have picked up early on in the COVID chaos. It is very easy to listen to the news on the radio, watch it on the TV, scroll through the news app on your phone, click through to articles from social media and repeat. This is negative and somewhat self-harming behaviour. This is no doubt an anxious time for everyone and the one of the best actions you can take it to choose one reliable news source to check in on two or three times each day. RTE News have a live coronavirus tracker online to keep you up to speed with the latest developments.

Do Not Believe Everything You Read

It truly upsets me to see people sharing false information on social media relating to foods that can cure or prevent COVID-19. It is entirely a myth that black tea, apple cider vinegar or can prevent or cure this virus. Scientifically speaking, no food or drink will boost your immune system. Rather, optimum nutrition will allow your immune system to work to its best ability.

Choose home-cooked meals with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables for a range of essential micro- and macro-nutrients that will help to prepare your body for whatever life throws at you. Throughout the year, Drop Chef has continued to deliver food boxes to households around the country, helping us to whilst still having nutritious meals on the table. One of my favourites dishes at this moment is the Spiced Beef & Quinoa Salad. Quinoa is a complete protein source, meaning it provides all of the essential amino acids that our bodies cannot intrinsically produce.

Form Good Habits

At the moment, restrictions are changing as case numbers rise and fall. When we are at home and limiting our social contacts, boredom can easily get the better of use and many of us will have turned to the TV for keeping us entertained. Unfortunately, with TV viewing often comes snacking and with snacking often comes disturbances to our meal times.

It may sound silly but I highly recommend having a meal schedule. This will ensure that you are getting three \”proper\” meals each day which will provide essential nutrients and which will prevent you from grazing on unhealthy snacks throughout the day. For dinner, I find curry to be a super satisfying meal that is (1) quick to make and (2) nutrient-dense. I love any of the curry dishes from Drop Chef and I have shared one of my own recipes on a previous blog post too – Turkey Curry Recipe.

Get Outdoors

In Ireland we are in a position to get outdoors for exercise, bearing in mind social distancing guidelines. Thankfully, we no longer have to stay within a 2km or 5km radius from home. If you can, get out for a walk, a cycle or a run. Your body and mind will thank you for it. Now is a wonderful time for being outdoors as we can see nature unfold as the weather gets cooler, the leaves change colour and we move from summer into autumn. For motivation, join a group or set yourself a challenge. I am currently taking part in a step challenge with work and have set myself a very ambitious target of 20,000 steps per day. For sure, it pushes me out the door in the evenings when I sometimes just want to curl up on the sofa.

For meal inspiration, health living ideas and book recommendations, follow The Baking Nutritionist on Facebook and Instagram @thebakingnutritionist .

Amy Meegan, BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition, UCD