Healthy Choices Challenged by the Pandemic
COVID-19 has forced us to be indoors, inactive, and in isolation, challenging our efforts to stay healthy. Making simple changes and educated choices can have a positive impact, especially during the pandemic. “The biggest challenges are food choices, social isolation, and inactivity,” says internal medicine physician Dr. Juan Carlos Torres Urrutia. “Prioritize real foods over ultra-processed factory foods, move your body every day, and stay in touch with loved ones.
Eating a healthy diet is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections. The World Health Organization offers the following tips for maintaining a healthy diet:
- Eat a variety of food, including fruits and vegetables
- Cut back on salt
- Eat moderate amounts of fats and oils
- Limit sugar intake
- Drink enough water
- Avoid hazardous and harmful alcohol use
Don’t use stress as a reason to binge. People usually stress eat and binge on processed, packaged foods, so nip that in the bud and avoid bringing the unhealthy food products into your home in the first place. You can’t reach for something that’s not there. Torres Urrutia suggests stocking your kitchen with healthy and delicious choices like fresh fruits and veggies. And if you feel out of control, reach out for help and visit your physician to discuss your concerns.
Social isolation during the pandemic comes with it’s own set of concerns. Experts emphasize that it’s important to stay in touch with family, friends, and co-workers. And while you may not want to hit the gym in person, social distancing is no excuse to slack off. “Take breaks, move your body, meditate, or go for a walk” advises Torres Urrutia. “Never underestimate the power of a walk!”
Don’t use the pandemic as an excuse to make bad choices when it comes to your health.