The ongoing lockdown has changed the way most of us lead our lives. This has not only changed our lifestyles but also has affected our diet patterns. Due to the pandemic, restaurants and eating outlets are being avoided and people are heavily relying on ordering takeout every other day or sometimes even every day.
With increasingly more people who have never cooked meals working from home, eating freshly prepared home meals have become a rarity. This sedentary lifestyle propagated by this office at home culture, is a sure-shot invitation to a wide array of health and lifestyle problems that can be avoided by being a little mindful.
Why you should Avoid too much take-out food
Eating takeout every day is harmful to your health. Everyone’s body reacts and processes food differently. We do not often know how the food that we are ordering outside is prepared; what ingredients are used; what level of hygiene is maintained and most importantly how well the nutrition is preserved in the final dish that is being served or packed for us.
This is an important reason why eating take-out every day must be strictly avoided. Other disadvantages of eating fast food regularly are outlined here.
Increased calorie intake.
This is because many food joints serve sides like chips or salsa before the main food items. This confuses your body and mind as they think that you are still consuming a serving. However, in reality, you tend to consume more unhealthy calories than you normally would.
- High levels of sodium and cholesterol
The foods prepared at fast food joints have high levels of sodium and cholesterol. The daily recommended sodium intake is 2300mg per day- as much as 1 teaspoon of salt. Fast food joints on the other hand don’t pay heed to such directives.
Excessive Sodium intake has been linked with increase in blood pressure, dehydration, and chances of developing kidney diseases.
Restaurant food, especially food prepared at fast food joints are more likely to be deep fried and high in saturated and trans fats. This high-fat diet in turn increases your cholesterol levels considerably.
Risk of heart diseases, stroke and poor Oral health
As already mentioned, food served outside is high in saturated and trans-fat. Add to this the excessive salt(sodium) consumed with every meal which is known to negatively affect blood pressure and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. While eating out, we are not spared from the large deluge of sugary drinks that are offered. These may range from your go-to fizzy drink (‘diet’-coke) to typical smoothies or shakes. The one common thread among all of which would be the amount free sugar present in them. This affects not only your oral health evidence suggests that those with poor oral health (particularly periodontal or gum disease) are at more risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Leaner meat, and low-fat (and consequently cholesterol) diets and consuming low- sugar drinks when outside can seriously cut down on a lot of risk that you may be putting yourself through.
Exposure to phthalates.
Food items in the restaurants are often in contact with via food handling gloves, plastic packaging, and so on. A number of these materials can contain phthalates which is used for their manufacturing. Although this compound stays in our body for only about a day it has been linked to a number of detrimental effects on health. Depending upon the number of times you eat or order food from outside, you may be at a higher risk of exposure to them. Young children and toddlers are more prone to the ill-effects of this.
Easy weight gain
As must be apparent by now, fast-food although easy to get can have long-lasting effects on your health. The excessive sugars, salt and fat-derivatives not only directly lead to issues with your health as mentioned but can also cause you to gain ‘easy’ calories which are a lot harder to lose when it comes down to it. These easy options increase our calorie intake by a large degree and regular dining out can cause you to easily put on more pounds!
Opt for healthy home cooked meals; whole plant diets are especially good for providing all essential nutrition and are also known to be helpful in weight loss.
Immunity Boosting diets:
Planning the meals especially during the pandemic is essential as not all family members have similar tastes. The loss of a daily routine of the family members can disrupt their normal eating cycles. With limited groceries, consuming a healthy meal has become even more challenging for the people during a continued lockdown.
We often turn to processed foods and our favourite snack whenever we feel the munchies. This quick fix can cause a number on our health as they contain a lot of free sugars which affect our blood-sugar levels and can even affect our moods.
To maintain your physical and mental well-being, you should look for better and healthier alternatives. Some diet changes that can boost your immunity and provide better overall nutrition are:
- A plant-based diet is very helpful in increasing the resistance of the body against many diseases. These diets are high in essential micro-nutrients.
- Red bell peppers and Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C supports the immune system and has been found to help ward off diseases. Make juice from these fruits instead of buying processed drinks saturated with sugar and preservatives.
- Spices like ginger, turmeric, garlic can be used in day-to-day meals or at-home snacks. These spices not only increase immunity but also improve gastrointestinal health and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Ginger has been known to relax blood vessels, stimulate blood flow and relieve pain.
- Zinc has virus-fighting abilities. Consuming food rich in zinc like clams, oysters, cashews, liver, egg yolks, beef, and mussels is helpful for the body.
- Anxiety, stress and a negative emotional state can decrease the magnesium levels (ionized Mg2+, total Mg and ionized Ca2+) in the body. Foods like nuts, legumes, leafy greens, seeds, and whole grains.
- Omega-3 has been found to reduce anxiety and also help in bettering the heart-health. Fatty fishes have a high quantity of Omega-3 and its consumption has shown to lower anxiety in controlled group studies.
- Consume probiotic-rich foods like Yogurt, kimchi, kefir, miso, pickles, and so on. Probiotics increase digestion, promote good health of the heart, and reduces depression.
- Antioxidants are a huge support for your immune system. Adding antioxidants to your daily diet will positively improve immunity. Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, goji berries, plums, artichoke, walnuts, pecans are high sources of antioxidant-rich foods.
These are some of the diet changes that you should make for a cleaner, healthier and fuller mindful lifestyle. Even if your local grocery store doesn’t cater to these specific food items, pick green leafy vegetables and seasonal fruits to add to your diet. Make it a habit to drink fresh fruit juice instead of processed one. Shop mindfully when you are out buying groceries and keep away from salt-rich snacks and on-the-go food.
Be active even when home
Covid and subsequent lockdowns have led to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle which has a lot of adverse effects on their health. Most of us have been working from home and sitting for long durations to complete our office-tasks. This is linked to back-pains and other ailments due to lack of physical activity.
Yoga and workouts have a calming effect on your mind. It de-stresses you. Besides improving the flexibility of the body and burning down calories, it has a therapeutic effect which is well-known.
Yoga during lockdown can be done from the comfort of your homes and requires little space where various yogasanas can be practiced. Yoga not only increases the immunity of the body but also strengthens the mind. Including this in your daily routines along with a little meditative session early in the morning can have tremendous health benefits on both your mental and physical health.
Cater to your mental health
While many individuals are still concerned about their physical well-being, a lot of people have paid little to no heed to their mental health during this lockdown. Staying at home for such long periods and the fear of the pandemic are taking a toll on the mental health of individuals.
To take care of your mental health, there are a few things that an individual can do. One can speak with a therapist, watch their favourite film or show, spend time outdoors, meditate, exercise, take a nap and even write in a journal. You can check out the things you can do or watch out for to make sure that you are not stressing out. [link]
A little lifestyle change can go a long way in improving your health and immunity and keeping you and your loved ones healthier during these tough times.
The priority, in this blog, is to supply the reader with clear and unambiguous information. However, neither The New Me nor Gagan Dhawan makes promises, or guarantees regarding the completeness of the information found here. The content is not a replacement for advice of a licensed professional. The opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of the writer’s.