These months of confinement have been difficult for everyone, from emotional stress and anxiety to learning new ways to coexist with our loved ones who are in lockdown. Not to mention our diets.
When we’re at home, we’re more inclined to turn to the refrigerator to relieve tension and worry. And, if we’re not careful, this could be harmful to more than just our waistlines.
A bad diet has a negative impact on all aspects of one’s health and well-being, from heart health to blood sugar levels to how one feels. But there’s one aspect about which we’re particularly concerned right now: our bodies’ ability to fight sickness.
Is it true, however, that a bad diet makes you more susceptible to the coronavirus? Can eating healthy, on the other hand, safeguard you?
Let’s see what we can find out.
How does your diet affect your health?
If you eat too much poor food, your health will suffer. Isn’t it straightforward? But what is ‘bad food,’ why is it harmful to you, and what does it actually do to your body?
Food that is bad for your health is referred to as “bad food.” For instance, consider the following:
- Cola and other sugary drinks
- Takeaways, pizzas (not including handmade), fried dishes, and other fast food are examples.
- Breakfast cereals with added sugar
- Bread made of white flour
- Pastries in large quantities
- White chocolate is a delicious treat.
- Foods that have been heavily processed
- Red meat in large quantities
So, why are these products bad for you?
Each of them has a distinct effect on your health, forcing your body to work harder (and in a negative way) to metabolize it for energy. Consuming a lot of sugar, for example, can produce a jump in blood glucose levels, whereas others can push your calorie intake above the daily suggested limits or contain other goods that are dangerous to your health.
If you eat too many of these, you risk developing:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Blood pressure that is too high
- And, maybe most crucially, a weakened immune system.
Why does what you eat affect your immune system?
A bad diet, particularly one high in sugar, stops your immune system from performing to its full potential, putting you at greater risk of disease. Furthermore, it impairs the body’s ability to fight infections caused by foreign bacteria and viruses. A weaker immuno-response, in other words.
All of this means you’ll be less prepared to deal with any viral attacks that come your way. Conversely, consuming nutritious, healthy foods aids your body’s ability to fight infection. Filling your diet with nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables, lentils, and other legumes, for example, will give it the best potential boost.
What’s the connection with coronavirus?
Now that we know that food has an effect on your immune system, let’s look at some examples. What does this signify for the coronavirus and your body?
COVID-19 is currently surrounded by a lot of uncertainty. So, while we can’t say for certain that what you eat affects your ability to fight the virus, there are signs that it does.
The percentage of persons who are metabolically healthy in the United States now is only 12%. This refers to persons who are not only not overweight but also have normal-range results on medical tests such as general blood analysis, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and so on.
Those who do not are at a higher risk of developing medical illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other disorders that are thought to be risk factors for coronavirus death rates.
Ill metabolic health is now considered the major cause of poor health in the United States, and it is a significant concern that extends beyond COVID-19. This suggests that a balanced diet is critical not only during coronavirus outbreaks but also for your overall health.
What other factors can impact my immune system?
Now, while eating is vital, it isn’t enough to keep your immune system healthy. Instead, you should take a holistic approach to your health.
Your body is hard at work restoring itself as you drift off into the land of nod. The immune system releases cytokine, a protective molecule that aids in body repair, during rest. When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system is weakened, making you more susceptible to infections and making it more difficult to fight them off.
To stay healthy, your body must operate. Sedentary behavior has been related to health problems like obesity and diabetes. If you get a virus, both of these can make you more vulnerable. When you incorporate movement into your daily routine, you will not only look better, but you will also feel better.
There’s a link between mental health and cytokines, those nervous system cells, just as there is with sleep. Although more research is needed to determine why the link between poor mental health and sickness vulnerability is undeniable. As a result, if you have a mental illness, it’s critical that you take extra care of your body or seek assistance in doing so.
Underlying health conditions
We’ve been hearing a lot about coronavirus fatality rates and underlying diseases in the headlines recently. If you have an underlying illness, such as a heart condition, kidney difficulties, or others, you may be more susceptible to COVID-19. But that’s not all; some illnesses might make you more susceptible to other viral and bacterial infections, including the flu.
What positive steps can you take in your life right now?
While you won’t be able to modify your body overnight, the actions you do today will have a long-term impact on your life. Here are some positive measures you may take to become a better, healthier version of yourself.
1. Recognize that change doesn’t happen overnight
“A new year, a new you,” says the narrator. “I’ll begin on Monday,” she says. “Oh! “Only this time.” We’ve all said or at least considered these sentences at some point in our lives. But the truth is that the best moment to modify your eating habits is right now, not later.
Living on promises made in the future will not help your health. Change occurs as a result of the choices you make right now. Having one last ‘blow out’ before starting your diet will just make it more difficult to get started as your blood sugar levels rise and then fall.
Even if we’ve all done it, it doesn’t imply it’s a good idea. Make a conscious decision to eat healthier today and do a bit more exercise. But keep in mind! Change does not occur overnight, so take your time, don’t rush, and begin making better decisions right now.
2. Choose healthier snacks
It’s safe to say we’ve all been hitting the food cabinet a little more than we should during the lockdown. We’re more inclined to boredom eat and fill up our work breaks with a little eating while we’re stuck inside. While it may taste good, it’s not good for your waistline.
However, just because we should stay at home and be cautious does not imply your nutrition should suffer. You can still have some snacks if you want to. The key is to be strategic about it and choose a healthy option.
Try fruit or nuts as healthy snacks, or make something more intriguing with peanut butter and apples. In this way, you can satisfy your crunch hunger without jeopardizing your health.
3. Get moving
Staring at four walls isn’t enjoyable, and it might demotivate you, especially if your ‘commute’ suddenly involves a journey from your bedroom to your kitchen and back. However, the worst thing you can do right now sits still.
Although your fitness courses may have ended or moved online, that is no reason to abandon your health. Instead, you should choose a new training plan that suits your needs. What matters is that you keep moving, whether it’s through at-home activities like a 5-minute dance break at work or through Verv’s fantastic exercises (we have yoga, cardio, and more).
This is beneficial not only to your body but also to your psyche. When you exercise, your body produces happy hormones that improve your mood, which is beneficial to your immune system.
4. Eat foods that support the immune system
You are what you eat, as the saying goes, and if you want a healthy body and immune system, you must eat foods that promote this. Cutting back on saturated fats while increasing your intake of greens and vitamin-rich meals is a wonderful strategy to support your immune system and keep your body healthy.
While those fat-filled foods may taste wonderful on the lips, they aren’t beneficial for your body in the long run. Make the decision now to increase the number of healthy, immune-supporting items in your diet while decreasing the amount of non-helpful meals. Remember that a comprehensive lifestyle change takes time, so don’t be discouraged if it takes you a while to get your diet in order.
5. Consider professional help
If you’ve tried everything and still can’t manage your eating habits, it’s time to seek professional help. “I don’t need help eating,” you might think. However, the truth is that everyone requires a little assistance and support from time to time in order to succeed.
Working with a specialist (dietician or psychologist) to treat your eating disorders is a smart option, whether your issues with your diet stem from a lack of knowledge or impulse control. Your specialist will be able to assist you in determining the source of your eating problems and provide guidance on how to address them. They might even have some diet-related tips.
COVID-19 and Diet Wrap Up
While there is no clear correlation between eating well and avoiding COVID-19, it is undeniable that your diet has an impact on your health. Eating well and looking after your mental and physical health is crucial to your body’s ability to fight sickness. In these trying times, we at Verv encourage you to look for yourself and your family.