Times are tough and as we struggle to adapt to life in the times of COVID-19, besides practising the lockdown and social distancing norms, it is also important to focus on our mental health and manage stress levels.
These changes won’t take place overnight but we must begin. Eating right and thinking right are just some of the ways to navigate through these unprecedented times.
Food plays an important role in feeling good
“Food plays a central role in strengthening the body physically and mentally. Replace the habit of consuming junk food with wholesome foods that can help improve the body’s overall well-being. This is all the more relevant for the urban workforce which is currently confined to the stagnant routine of working long hours,” says Dolly Kumar, Founder & Director, Gaia.
However, before you go on to focus on what to eat, it is extremely essential to chart out a routine that places equal importance on working out, eating, and sleep to the most optimum level.
Here are some eating tips that help you beat depression and stay bright and positive even when the going gets tougher than the usual:
“Drink fluids as much as possible. Apart from water, there is a wide range of infused teas that can help you de-stress and engage in a goodnight’s sleep like never before,” recommends Kumar.
She suggests trying food products containing flavonoids and anxiolytic compounds, which promote sound sleep and relaxation. You can also try moringa tea which has stress relieving properties due to its unique natural compound called pterygospermin, which helps in calming the central nervous system.
She adds, “Hibiscus tea helps induce sedative, antidepressant and anxiolytic properties.” The quercetin and cyanidin flavonoids present in hibiscus can lower anxiety, depression, bad cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Make sure you get your dosage of fibre because this leads to proper digestion and healthy bowel movement. Kumar informs, “A body’s digestive and mental health are directly correlated. Therefore, consuming foods that boost digestion is sure to invigorate one’s mental and emotional health by exuding calm and serenity.” Include fibre-rich foods such as oats, barley, rye, cereals and berries.
Nuts and seeds are a great stress-busting snack and they’re high in proteins and healthy fat. Eat regular amounts of almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, etc, for that extra dose of energy and strength. Similarly, try cutting down on sugar by opting for healthier alternatives such as granola bars. Not only do they satiate hunger but unlike regular sweetmeat, they also offer an antioxidant-rich indulgence.
Lastly, make sure you do some sort of workout for 30 minutes daily since “sweating during and after exercise also helps the body in eliminating harmful toxins that accumulate over time,” mentions Kumar. After all, good health and fitness depend not just on what the body consumes but also on what it can digest. “Thus, with the right combination of healthy food and regular exercise, you can feel healthier and happier – inside and out,” says Kumar.
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