COVID 19, the on-going pandemic, is responsible for the changes in our daily lives. There is a need for awareness to maintain a healthy lifestyle in these difficult times. These lifestyle changes can begin by taking a proper diet, which may help keep their immunity strong. What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections. Social distancing, sanitisation, and use of mask are the measure key to keep ourselves away and safe from COVID 19, but maintaining a healthy diet is important for supporting strength and immune systems. Good nutrition can also reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. Being at home for 24/7 can be challenging, especially for the adolescents, as they anyway go through the storm and stress periods due to rapid growth and development. Moreover, it affects the physical and mental levels of adolescents. One has to stay positive at this time to maintain good health.
Eating healthy food is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and is something that should be taught at a teenage. The proper meal planning is an utmost aspect which includes good food habits, proper nutrition, wholesome diet, low calories diet, easily digested diet and maintaining proper food schedule. According to the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “the Adolescent’s plate must be divided into 5 major food group categories: grain, vegetable, fruit, dairy and rich protein.”
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It is important for adolescents to load up on 5 major food groups including grains.
The rapid physical changes of adolescence have a direct influence on a person’s nutritional needs, which creates increased demands for energy and nutrients. Any nutritional deficiency experienced during this critical period of life can have an effect on the future health of the individual and their offspring. Adolescence is a time to prepare the body for the nutritional demands of adult and late adulthood which may experience in later life. According to nutritionist and diet experts, following are some important food options that one can try to increase strength and immunity during COVID.
1. Increase fibre in the diet by adding whole wheat, grain and legumes.
2. Cut on sugar and salt as it reduces immunity. There are various healthy alternatives of refined sugar like coconut sugar, jaggery, honey etc.
3. Eat five servings of seasonal fruits like orange, guava, pomelo, apple, papaya etc. in daily food diet.
Fruits are an essential part of a healthy diet.
4. Consume variety of vegetables for a snack, lunch, dinner and salad. Include more greens (especially cruciferous veggies) like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower etc.
5. Drink detoxifying water to remove toxins from the body. Make lemon juice, beetroot juice, amla juices etc.
6. Increase the intakeof turmeric, giloy (Tinospora cordifolia), clove, dry ginger with hot water to make throat clean and dry.
7. Decrease the use of butter and heavy gravies. Add ghee (clarified butter) to your diet instead. But remember to practice moderation as an excess of everything is harmful.
Along with these dietary measures, proper sleep and exercise is vital to boost digestion and immunity. Since we still cannot go out to exercise, include some indoor exercises in your daily routine.
About the author: Dr. Shuchi Upadhyay is a food and nutrition expert, AP-Selection Grade, at School of Health Science, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies.
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