As countries are taking stronger measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, self-quarantine and the temporary closing of businesses may affect normal food-related practices. Healthy individuals, as well as those showing acute respiratory disease symptoms, are being requested to stay at home. In some countries, restaurants and take-away offers are being limited and some fresh items are becoming less available.
Good nutrition is crucial for health, particularly in times when the immune system might need to fight back. Limited access to fresh foods may compromise opportunities to continue eating a healthy and varied diet. It can also potentially lead to increased consumption of highly processed foods, which tend to be high in fats, sugars, and salt. Nonetheless, even with few and limited ingredients, one can continue eating a diet that supports good health.
According to dieticians, staying on schedule and eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at your normal times is one of the most important things you can do and one of the biggest mistakes seen people make during this pandemic is getting off of their eating and sleep schedule. Maintaining a regular routine is the key to avoiding weight gain. Plus, the most important thing is to stay hydrated and physically active.
We know that working from home can present mental health challenges, and as it turns out it can be bad for our physical health too.
If you’ve put on a few kilos since you swapped office life to go freelance or work remotely, it’s a common struggle. Experts say it’s caused by missing out on the incidental exercise people get from walking to and from the train station or bus stop to go to work and moving around the office to talk to colleagues or go to the printer.
People who work from home are at a greater risk of obesity and diabetes because there is a significant decrease in physical activity.
An increase in grazing on food all-day and food availability is another common behavior of those who work from home that can lead to weight gain. Unlike in an office where you only have biscuits and Coffee/Tea machine.
The lack of exercise and physical activity is a common factor leading to obesity, many people have office jobs, they are obligated to sit in an office most of the day, and many depend on their cars instead of walking or biking.
Many tend to watch TV, surf the Internet, or play electronic games, instead of exercising regularly.
If you aren't active enough, you're not using the energy provided by food, and extra calories are stored as fat instead.
Adults are advised to engage in at least two to three hours of moderate activity (for example, cycling or jogging) in a week. This will help you maintain a healthy weight.
As you grow older, if you continue eating the same types and amounts of food but do not become more active, you will probably gain weight. That’s because your metabolism (how your body gets energy from food) can slow with age, and your body composition (amount of fat and muscle) may be different from when you were younger.
Many things can affect your weight, including genetics, age, gender, lifestyle, family habits and culture, sleep, and even where you live and work. Some of these factors can make it hard to lose weight or keep weight off.
But being active and choosing healthy foods has health benefits for everyone—no matter your age or weight. It’s important to choose nutrient-dense foods and be active at least 150 minutes per week. As a rule of thumb:
Doing an exercise like a walk around your area or more intense exercise like running or jogging can help you unwind and refocus. Exercise strengthens your brain’s powers of executive function, including your ability to think ahead and control your inhibitions. This will then make it easier to stop thinking about your hunger pangs.
Try taking up a yoga class. Yoga can help you deal with temptations and be a more mindful eater.
Get eight hours of sleep a night. Being sleep-deprived can lead to anxious snacking and overeating. A good night’s sleep can reduce your cortisol levels, the hormone that rises when you are anxious or stressed. Avoid stress eating by committing to eight hours of sleep a night
Have a small snack, like almonds or avocado. Eating a handful of raw almonds will fuel your body with antioxidants, vitamin E, and magnesium. Almonds have also been shown to increase feelings of fullness and help with weight management.
Avocados are full of healthy monounsaturated fats, which take a long time for your body to digest and can help to suppress your appetite. They're also an excellent source of soluble fiber, which forms a thick gel as it travels through your gut, slowing your digestion. Slice up an avocado and sprinkle some honey on it if you like them sweet, or sprinkle salt and pepper, as well as a squeeze of lime for a savory snack.
Water can help decrease your appetite. Sip water and stay hydrated throughout the day to keep your stomach from feeling empty and keeping your hunger levels down.
You can also try drinking hot water with lemon, or hot ginger tea. Ginger has been used for centuries as a digestive tool and can help to settle your stomach if you are suffering from hunger. Sip hot ginger tea or chew on crystallized ginger.
If you find yourself hungry after you’ve already eaten, you may need to find ways to get your mind off eating. Often, when we are bored or under-stimulated, we get hungry and start snacking. Fight off this boredom by focusing on doing activities and adjusting your daily routine to avoid hunger pangs.
WHO recommends that ideally less than 5% of total energy intake for adults should come from free sugars (about 6 teaspoons). If you crave something sweet, fresh fruit should always be the priority. Frozen fruits, canned fruits in juice rather than syrup, and dried fruits with no added sugar are also good options. When other dessert options are chosen, ensure that they are low in sugar and consume small portions. Watch out for low-fat options, as these are often high in added sugars. Limit the amount of sugar or honey added to foods and avoid sweetening your beverages.
Multiple cases of over-purchasing have been observed throughout the WHO European Region. Panic buying behavior may have negative consequences, such as an increase in food prices, overconsumption of food and unequal distribution of products. It is therefore important to consider your own needs, as well as those of others. Assess what you already have at home and plan your intake. You might feel the need to purchase large amounts of foods, but make sure to consider and utilize what is already in your pantry, as well as foods with shorter shelf life. This way you can avoid food waste and allow others to access the food they need.
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