Suffering from takeout burnout? These simple immunity-boosting nutrition tips will help get you back on track
We don’t need to remind you, but it’s been a year. It’s no wonder, self-care—particularly our diets—may have fallen to the wayside. Whether you’re feeling the effects of eating endless takeout, consuming more alcohol, skipping workouts or recovering from Covid-19, here are 4 easy-yet-effective tips to help boost your immune system:
For those recovering from the virus and worried about lingering symptoms, following a nutrient-dense, whole food-based diet with hydrating liquids is best, according to holistic nutritionist and founder of Kore Kitchen, Meryl Pritchard. “To regain your strength, a great first step would be to flood your body with high quality, whole-food based nutrients, meaning not processed or altered from its original form. The easiest way to do this is with superfoods like cacao, spirulina, chia seeds and wild blueberries.”
Sarah Murphy, resident holistic nutrition expert for wellness supplement brand The Nue Co, recommends eating 9-13 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day (particularly those high in antioxidants), cooking food at lower temps, and staying away from fried foods to help coronavirus recovery. “Eating fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, like berries and kale can also help neutralize free radicals to reduce oxidative stress in the body,” she says.
“The immune system is built in the gut, so incorporating foods such as artichokes, onions, garlic, olive oil, ginger and leafy green vegetables can get you on the right track towards better health and nutrition,” says Peter Kanaat, co-founder of GoBiotix, an organic, greens, superfood and supplement company. Take care of your gut, he says, and your immune system should follow
Murphy agrees, adding that the key to healthy gut is an organic, anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense diet. “It’s important to support and build up our immune systems with various nutrients and compounds with foods rich in zinc (found in shellfish and pumpkin seeds), turmeric and resveratrol (like pistachios and grapes),” she says.
Sugar lover? You won’t have to kiss wine and sweets goodbye forever, but you should do so until your health is back to 100%. According to holistic nutritionist and functional medicine certified health coach Sarah Anne Stewart, “After recovering from Covid-19, it’s imperative to focus on eating clean and drinking plenty of filtered water while avoiding refined sugar, packaged food, empty calories and alcohol.”
Thinking back to those endless lockdown days of ordering in? Don’t shame yourself. Stewart notes that it’s because we were in a survival mindset and therefore more reactive.
“Even now, heading back into a normal way of living, a survival mindset can lead to poor choices like choosing quick food options, having that extra cup of coffee and drinking a glass of wine to chill out before bed,” she says. “The key to thriving is activating your parasympathetic nervous system through practices like meditation and deep breathing before choosing what to eat or drink.”
Pritchard suggests keeping a healthy pantry stocked, but it doesn’t have to happen overnight. “Instead of tossing all your existing snacks at once, start adding in more healthy options gradually. Eventually you’ll have loads of nutrient-rich options at your disposal,” she says.
“Slowly start working back to your healthy regimen that you had pre-pandemic, but don’t try to hit a home run on your first swing,” Kanaat echoes. “Once you create healthy habits, they will stack on top of each other and lead you back up to a healthy lifestyle.”
Stewart adds that it’s also important to understand that it will take time to develop new habits. “A simple way to do this is by adopting a ‘course-correcting’ mindset,” she says. “Each time you go to eat, notice opportunities to support your body with a simple question: ‘How can I choose a healthier option in this moment?’”