By Susan Bowerman, Senior Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife Nutrition
The world has a new list of safety measures to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. We are re-learning the critical importance of frequent handwashing, as well as adapting to wearing face coverings in public, not hugging or shaking hands, and practicing social distancing. These and other safety measures have become part of our daily rituals. Yet there is another critical precaution we must re-learn that is a vital component of preparation and re-entry: proper nutrition and regular exercise.
While we cannot control public health pandemics, we can ensure that our bodies are fit and robust. Healthy eating and being physically fit are critically important, yet more than two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Unhealthy diets are the leading cause of poor health in the U.S., according to a 2018 study published in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association). After years of declines, heart disease death rates are on the rise again. So are rates of obesity-linked cancers among younger people. Along with donning our masks, remembering to socially distance and washing our hands, nutritious eating and regular exercise are integral items on our personal protection checklist.
Here are 5 tips to help you and your families stay strong and healthy as the world reopens.
Stock Up on Healthy Foods
There have been many reports of people selecting more prepared comfort foods in grocery aisles – items that are easy to stock up o“n or have a longer shelf life. From chicken pot pies to chips and cookies, these products are surging in sales. The result, in addition to more stress-eating behaviors, is what is being called the “COVID-15” weight gain. There is, however, good news – people are acknowledging the importance of fruits and vegetables in their diet, and they are adding more. For example, during the last week of March, sales of shelf-stable fruits and vegetables were up 51%, frozen items by 47%, and fresh produce by 8%, according to a report from the Produce Marketing Association and the IRI data analytics company.
Power Up with Proteins
Proteins are essential to good health. You need it to support the health of your bones, muscles, connective tissue, and hair, and your body needs protein to manufacture specialized proteins such as antibodies, enzymes, and hormones. tissue, antibodies, enzymes, and more. No matter how careful you are with your food choices, it isn’t always easy to ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs every day. A protein shake made with milk or soy milk and fruit or vegetables can help you meet your daily needs for several nutrients. And many protein shake mixes have vitamins and minerals added, which boosts nutrition even more.
Enjoy Fabulous Flavanols
Flavanols are a group of phytonutrient compounds found in many foods, but particularly in tea, cocoa, apples, berries, and grapes. Flavanols are active antioxidants and have other benefits including supporting heart health and cognitive function.
Today, a growing number of companies, including Herbalife Nutrition, are looking at new ways to incorporate flavanols from cocoa and tea into functional foods and beverages as well as supplements.
With many gyms and parks closed or with access limited, people are finding creative ways to make a workout both effective and fun. From dance to yoga, online exercise classes abound. If this option is not available to you, consider using stairs as your new stair climber, grab a jump rope or a fantastic aerobic activity, or coordinate a family dance session as your new calorie-buster. Regardless of how much space you have at home, you can do a quick full-body exercise routine to stretch and strengthen your body.
Learn to De-Stress
Our life is full of stress. Between juggling family and work, we often become overloaded. Add a global pandemic and financial uncertainty to the mix, and we have the perfect stress cocktail. Taking care of your health means taking care of your body and soul. Give yourself compassion during this time and do things each day to take care of yourself – from deep breathing to an online yoga class to taking walks and talking with family and friends. The pandemic is taking a toll on all of us but acknowledging the stress you are feeling and finding ways to manage your anxiety will help you – and your family.