How To Stay Healthy When A Virus Hits
Updated: Apr 3
How To Stay Healthy
Amid the Corona Virus, I decided to blog about how to be healthy because at the end of the day your body will not be able to fend off a virus or heal itself if it isn’t properly nourished.
Properly nourished means, fed with the right macro and micro-nutrients such as fruit, veg, whole grains, pulses, and legumes. It doesn’t mean lots of animal products and processed food, no matter how good you think they taste.
What needs to be in a healthy diet?
To be healthy you need to consume a diet rich in both macro and micro-nutrients which you can only get from food that hasn’t been messed about with too much. Even the plant-based vegan meat substitutes can not beat the plant itself for much-needed nutrients.
Macro-nutrients are needed in larger quantities than micro-nutrients. They normally include water, carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Macro-nutrients except water are all energy-providing
nutrients. Energy, as you know is measured in calories and you need a certain number of calories each day to keep yourself healthy. Too little or too many calories can upset the balance in your health and wellness.
Protein is essential for growth and repair and is set in motion whilst you sleep so getting a decent night’s sleep also aids the recovery of your body from viruses and infections.
These are required for energy and provide the body’s main source of energy at 4 calories per gram. They form most of the food on a western diet plate. They are also stored in the body as an energy store and exist in three forms: sugar, starch, and fiber. You probably already knew that to be honest, but did you know, if you reduce your carbohydrate content too much you will not be able to function properly. The same goes for fat.
There is a good reason why you should eat a balanced diet with plenty of carbs, fat, and protein. To keep yourself healthy. Depriving yourself of carbs is like not putting petrol in your car then wondering why it won’t start.
Regardless of whether you need to lose weight or not the secret to health and wellness is a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables not processed food and animal products.
Do you ever miss breakfast then get sleepy at 11 am? Do you suffer from mid-morning brain fog? You forgot to put petrol in your engine, didn’t you!
Your brain works entirely on glucose alone and without the right amount of carbs, you will not function properly. However, when you eat too many carbs the excess is converted into glucose and is stored in your body. It is stored in the liver as Glycogen which you can then use for exercise and within/around your muscles and as body fat.
Carbohydrates are important for fat oxidation and can be converted into protein. You didn’t know that did you? I bet you also didn’t know that it is carbohydrates that make you fat and not fat?
Fats are used in the making of steroids and hormones in the body and serve as solvents for hormones and fat-soluble vitamins.
Fats have the highest caloric content and provide the largest amount of energy when burnt. Fats provide about 9 calories per gram of fat, making them twice as energy-rich than protein and carbohydrates. Extra fat is stored in adipose tissue and is burnt when the body has run out of carbohydrates. Yes, it is burnt when the body runs out of carbohydrates. That means you have to eat the right amount of carbohydrates and it’s virtually impossible to eat too many carbs on a plant-based diet. Try it and see, but don’t double carb. e.g. rice and potatoes. I say this not to prove to you that too many carbs are bad (which they can be) but to tell you that your portion controls need to be looked at.
Each meal should contain:
1 x Carbohydrate portion
1 x fat portion
1 x protein portion
0 x processed food portion
If you do have to eat processed food, try to eat those products that are high in natural fats and proteins.
Proteins provide amino acids and make up most of the cell structure including the cell membrane. They are the last to be used of all macro-nutrients. In cases of extreme starvation, the muscles in the body, which are made up of proteins, are used to provide energy to your body and brain. This leads to muscle wasting which no one wants.
Water makes up a large part of our body weight, around 70% and is the main component of our body. The body needs more water than any other nutrient and we lose water through natural bodily functions, so there is an ongoing need to replenish it through the foods and liquids we eat and drink each day.
Water serves as a carrier, distributing nutrients to cells and removing wastes through urine. It is also a compulsory agent in the regulation of body temperature and the ionic balance of the blood. Water is completely essential for the body’s metabolism and is also required as a lubricant and shock absorber. If you don’t drink at least 8 cups a day you will become dehydrated which leads to the ineffective repair of your body which can lead to illness.
These nutrients include minerals and vitamins. Unlike macro-nutrients, they are required in very small amounts and combined, they are extremely important for the normal functioning of the body. When you become dehydrates it is essential to replace these micro-nutrients through a substitute such as Dioralyte or fatigue, headaches and a lack of concentration set in.
Micro-nutrients do not function for the provision of energy alone and their main function is to enable chemical reactions to occur in the body.
These are essential for normal metabolism, growth and development, and the regulation of cell function. They work together with enzymes and other substances that are necessary to achieve optimal health. Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble.
Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the fatty tissues in the body when in excess. Fat-soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, D, E, and K. Green leafy vegetables, milk, and dairy products and plant oils provide these vitamins.
Water-soluble vitamins are excreted in urine when in excess and so need to be taken daily. Water-soluble vitamins include Vitamin B and C. Green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin B, whereas Vitamin C is found abundantly in citrus fruits.
These are found in an ionized form in the body. They are further classified into macro-minerals and micro-minerals (or trace minerals). Macro-minerals present in the body include Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Sodium, and Magnesium among others. Iron is a component of Haemoglobin which is present in your blood.
Macro-minerals are needed in larger amounts compared to micro-minerals. Micro-minerals include Copper, Zinc, Cobalt, Chromium, and Fluoride. They are mostly co-factors and are necessary for the function of enzymes in the body. They are needed in minor quantities but are essential to the proper functioning of the body. Approximately 4% of our body’s mass consists of minerals.
If you do not consume a plant-based diet you may need a good multi-vitamin such as Nutrivita vegan multivitamins
There are many benefits of ensuring you get the right amount of sleep each night. It’s not enough to get the right amount of sleep but to get a quality night’s sleep is more important. Scientists have shown that regular sleep patterns of between 6–8 hours nightly have major benefits such as:
Keeping Your Heart Healthy: A lack of sleep is associated with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Reduce Stress: Regular sleep patterns of 6–8 hours can reduce stress which in term can reduce your high blood pressure to normal levels.
Reduces Inflammation: A lack of sleep can cause Increased stress hormones which can lead to inflammation in your body creating a greater risk for heart-related conditions, as well as cancer and diabetes.
Sleep Improves Your Memory: Sleep plays an important role in the process of memory consolidation. Deep sleep is a very important time for brain functioning and it’s ability to make memories and build neural pathways.
Sleep and Weight Loss: Researchers found people who sleep less are more likely to be overweight or obese. A lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones (ghrelin and leptin) in the body which affect appetite. If you want to lose weight, get an adequate night’s sleep every night.
Sleep Can Reduce Depression: Sleep impacts the chemicals in your brain, including serotonin. Serotonin deficiencies can lead to depression. You can help reduce your chances of getting depression by making sure you get the right amount of sleep.
Sleep Helps the Body to Repair: Sleep is a time during which the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, exercise, and other harmful exposure and activities.
Don’t go mad, you don’t need to join a gym and exercise yourself into the ground to be healthy. A 35-minute walk in the great outdoors each day, or at least 5 times weekly will easily do the trick. In conjunction with a sensible diet, it will help to reduce your chances of gaining/symptoms of diabetes and obesity and help it will also help to boost your serotonin and Vitamin D3 levels which help to improve your mood.
So there you have it, my lowdown on how to stay healthy in a time of viruses, infections, and everyday chaos.
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