Foods to include as part of a healthy diet to help your body ease into “the new normal”, as it transitions from idle to active again post-lockdown.
From Dalgona coffee (a fluffy mix consisting of instant coffee powder, sugar, water and cold milk) to sourdough bread and frying pan pizza, several different food trends have surfaced on social media over the last few months. Our mouths are just watering at the mere mention of these tasty delights! Thanks to a more “chilled out” and sedentary lifestyle enjoyed during the lockdown, time has presented itself as a major bonus for individuals to try out a number of different food recipes that are for the most part, sinful in nature. Given the fact that the lockdown imposed by the Indonesian government does not look like it’s going to get lifted anytime soon, here are a few healthy food choices which can help you get your body into the rhythm of being active and energised again for “the new normal”. After all, it’s always better to get a head start on the competition, baby!
A Juicy Way to Amp Up Your Health
Based on a study conducted by Nielsen across 11 Asian markets recently, the perspective on food in Asia after COVID-19 has transformed significantly over such a short span of time. Surprised? So are we. Yes folks, it has evolved from one that embraces outside eating experiences, online delivery and on-the-go food and beverage consumption, to one that prefers to purchase fresh goods for in-home eating instead. Coincidentally, this is also in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of consuming a minimum of 400g (or 5 portions) of fruits and vegetables daily. In short, keep up the good work, guys!
For example, you may include citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit into your diet as these foods are especially effective for supplementing your body with vitamin C. This vitamin can strengthen your immune system and aid in preserving the elasticity and smoothness of your skin. It is also a healthy source of dietary fibre and can help to lower your risk of suffering from kidney stones. Additionally, a number of different studies have also found that the consumption of citrus fruits can also lower your risk of several types of cancer which include cancers of the oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, lungs and breasts. Better late than never to stock up on these healthy treats, folks!
The Greens Are Healthier on The Leafy Side
Leafy greens do not just make for a tasty inclusion into your diet but can also provide your body with its own set of nutritional goodness, which includes helping to supplement your body with an energy boost. This is mainly attributed to the iron content of these vegetables, which promotes an optimal production of red blood cells for effective delivery of oxygen to your cells, thus preventing fatigue.
Best prepared as a steamed, stir-fried or slightly wilted dish, leafy greens are not just chock full of flavour but are also an abundant source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K. The consumption of leafy greens is particularly useful for pregnant women or women who want to conceive as they contain folic acid which can aid in the early development of a foetus. If you want to be a mama, then you also gotta’ listen to your mama, cuz’ she knows best!
Going Nuts About Nuts
One of the biggest learnings from being confined to the walls of your own home during the lockdown is that “taking care of business” does not necessarily require you having to spend long hours at the office anymore. That’s right, folks! In fact, work-life balance can be easier to achieve by staying at home but only if you set out on completing each task diligently. Over time, you might find yourself starting to suffer from mental and physical burnout, which ironically, is a result of being stuck at home during the lockdown. Bummer. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you supplement your body with a sufficient intake of energy-boosting snacks as you work, like nuts. We totally get it if you think we’re “nuts” for saying this, but let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Munching on walnuts as you work can supplement your body with a healthy source of protein, carbs and healthy fats throughout the day, aside from being an abundant source of antioxidants. These antioxidants, which consists of polyphenols, amongst others, can reduce oxidative stress by neutralising free radicals which damage your cells and increase your risk of disease. Nuts, whether whole or in the form of a nut butter, works efficiently to also regulate your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. For example, feeding yourself a handful of almonds or a spoonful of peanut butter on toast can increase your “good” HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and reduce your “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. In addition, nuts are known to be a rich source of dietary fibre that is not only able to improve your gut health but reduce your risk of chronic disease such as diabetes and obesity. Told you we weren’t “nuts”, did we not?
Fish Containing Healthy Fats for a Lean, Mean, Well-Oiled Machine
Although it is important to preserve energy levels throughout the day (especially since your inactive body may need a bit of time to readjust to the normal physical and mental demands of life after the lockdown), it is equally important to supplement it with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, a nutritious and well-balanced diet should consist of a minimum of two 140g-fish portions a week, with one of these portions being fatty fish. For example, fishes such as salmon, sardines or mackerel, or shellfish such as prawns, squid and scallops, which can be served grilled or prepared as a curry or sambal.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for reducing your risk of heart disease and essential for pregnant and breastfeeding women as they promote the healthy development of an infant’s nervous system. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been proven to suppress inflammation in your body, which is a common cause of fatigue. At the same time, fatty fish also contains vitamin B12, which works together with folic acid to produce red blood cells in the body and in turn promote an improvement in iron efficiency to help boost your energy levels.
Unrefined, Yet Completely Wholesome
Manufactured with a long shelf life in mind, unrefined whole grains such as quinoa, oatmeal, whole grain rice and pasta not only taste good when accompanied by a side dish or mixed with other ingredients but are also easy to prepare. Whole grain rice is best eaten with cooked dishes, whereas whole grain pasta should be enjoyed with a sauce of your preference. Quinoa, on the other hand, can be prepared as part of a salad or accompanied by a protein of your choice. Oatmeal is best cooked using water or milk and served with fruits, nuts, raisins, honey or a combination of these four added ingredients together. Delicioso!
Adequate consumption of these whole grains are not only able to provide your body with a healthy source of nutrients such as B vitamins, zinc, iron, magnesium manganese, but can slash your risk of a number of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Not only that, whole grain consumption can also cut your risk of obesity by preventing overeating and can also promote healthy digestion by adding bulk to your stools and reducing your risk of constipation. Amazing how, even in its most basic form, unrefined whole grains could be so healthy for you, eh?
Energy-supplying foods are an essential requirement during the lockdown, given the fact that you would need some time to readjust your lifestyle according to the demands of a regular day. These include foods which can provide your body with a readily available source of energy such as carbs and protein as well as foods which provide a slow release of energy but an increase in power and stamina such as fibre and protein. And when the time comes to kick start your body for “the new normal”, it would certainly be pleasing to know that including these foods as part of a healthy diet is a leap forward for you in the right direction. Stay healthy, and stay safe, folks!