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 concoction which blends together instant coffee powder, sugar, water and cold milk) to sourdough bread and frying pan pizza, a number of interesting food trends have taken the social media world by storm over the last few months. Not sure about you guys, but just mentioning these delicious treats have got our taste buds buzzing with excitement! Without realising, the more relaxed and sedentary lifestyle that we have enjoyed during the lockdown also comes with its own set of advantages, which includes having more time to experiment with different food recipes. And yes, they were often sinful in nature. Taking into account that lockdown ruling is still currently being enforced in Thailand, here are a few healthy options that you should consider to help your body familiarise itself with being active and re-energised for “the new normal”. Nothing better than a good ol’ advantage over the competition, eh?
A Juicy Way to Amp Up Your Health
According to a recent study which was conducted by Nielsen across 11 Asian markets, the overall approach towards how Asians are consuming food after COVID-19 has changed dramatically within the span of such a short period. Mind-boggling?! You betcha’! From previously appreciating eating experiences, online delivery and on-the-go food and beverage consumption, a majority of Asians have switched to a current preference of purchasing fresh goods for in-home dining instead. Fascinatingly enough, this also coincides with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of consuming a minimum of 400g (or 5 portions) of fruits and vegetables daily. In short, you’re doing it right, Asians!
An example of this would be to incorporate citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit into your diet, as these foods are an abundant source of vitamin C for your body. Vitamin C is well-known for being able to strengthen your immune system, apart from the ability to also preserve the elasticity and smoothness of your skin. Not only that, it is also a healthy source of dietary fibre and able to slash your risk of suffering from kidney stones. In fact, a number of individual studies have also concluded that consuming citrus fruits can also cut your risk of a number of different cancers, such as cancers of the oesophagus, stomach pancreas, lungs and breasts. Quit wasting time and get to stockin’ up on these healthy treats, people!
The Greens Are Healthier on The Leafy Side
Similarly, leafy greens aren’t just another tasty inclusion of vegetables into your diet but are able to supplement your body with its own distinguished set of healthy nutrition,that can in turn provide your body with an energy kick. This is attributed to leafy greens having a high iron content, which promotes a positive production of red blood cells for efficient delivery of oxygen to your cells, thus preventing fatigue.
Best cooked as a steamed, stir-fried or slightly wilted dish, leafy greens don’t just provide an explosion of flavour, but are an abundant source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K. Leafy greens are also a welcome addition to the diet of pregnant women or women who intend to conceive, as they contain folic acid that is beneficial for early foetal development. Good time to rethink not wanting to eat your greens, eh?
Going Nuts About Nuts
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the course of our work-from-home duration during the lockdown, it’s that “getting the job done” does not necessarily require you to spend the most part of your day being cooped up at the office anymore. No, we’re not kidding people! As a matter of fact, work-life balance can be so much easier to achieve whilst staying at home, but if and only if you stay focused on completing each task diligently. However, you might also find yourself suffering from physical and mental burnout as a result of staying at home and working during the lockdown. Oh, the irony! Therefore, it is essential that you supplement your body with a sufficient intake of energy-boosting snacks, like nuts. No, we’re not “nuts” for saying this as you’ll eventually come to find as you read further into this topic with us.
Chomping on walnuts as you work can provide your body with a healthy source of protein, carbs and healthy fats throughout the day, apart from also being a rich source of antioxidants. Made up of polyphenols and various types of other antioxidants, snacking on walnuts can help to lower oxidative stress by neutralising free radicals which can damage your cells and increase your risk of disease. Nuts, whether in whole form or in the form of a nut butter, can be particularly effective for regulating your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. For instance, chomping on a handful of almonds or a spoonful of peanut butter on toast can up your HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and lower your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. Besides that, nuts have also been found to be an abundant source of dietary fibre which is not only able to improve your gut health, but also slash your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Told you we weren’t being “nutty” with our claims, did we not?
Fish Containing Healthy Fats for a Lean, Mean, Well-Oiled Machine
While it is essential for your energy levels to remain high throughout the day (given the fact that your sedentary body may need a bit of time to adjust to the standard physical and mental requirements of life after lockdown), it is equally important that you also supplement your body with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, a well-balanced diet that is also rich in nutritional content should also include a minimum of two 140g-fish portions a week, with one of these portions being fatty fish. For example, shellfish such as prawns, squid and scallops, and fishes such as salmon, sardines or mackerel, which can be served grilled or prepared as a dish that is curry or sambal-based.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids can help lower your risk of heart disease and is also an important nutritional requirement for pregnant and breastfeeding women as it plays a pivotal role in the healthy development of an infant’s nervous system. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been proven to tone down inflammation in your body, which is a common cause of fatigue. In addition, fatty fish also contains vitamin B12, which works in tandem with folic acid to produce red blood cells in the body and in turn promote better iron efficiency, which can boost your energy levels.
Unrefined, Yet Completely Wholesome
Produced to have a long shelf life, unrefined whole grains such as quinoa, oatmeal, whole grain rice and pasta are not just good for you but are also easy to prepare. Whole grain rice is best eaten with cooked dishes, while whole grain pasta should be enjoyed with a sauce of your preference. Quinoa, on the other hand, can be consumed 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 all four ingredients put together. Mouth-watering, indeed!
Consuming enough of these whole grains is able to provide your body with a healthy source of nutrients such as B vitamins, zinc, iron, magnesium manganese. It can also reduce your risk of various chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. Not only that, whole grains consumption is also able to cut your risk of obesity by preventing overeating and can promote healthy digestion by bulking up your stools and reducing your risk of constipation. Amazing how something so simple could do so many wonders for your body, eh?
Foods that can give your body an energy boost should be an integral dietary requirement for you during the lockdown, especially when you take into account the time you would need to attune your lifestyle to meet 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 that 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 into “drive” for “the new normal” again, it would please you to know that including these foods as part of a healthy diet is actually a big leap forward in the right direction. Stay healthy, and stay safe, folks!