Melanie Anne Salisbury
Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist at
The Well Garden
As life around us appears to be moving at an increased pace once more, there is still a great sense of uncertainty in the air. This can cause significant internal anxiety, making life/work decisions more challenging. This has been a stressful period, and for many continues to be so.
At a time like this, it is crucial to remain attuned to our physical health and mental well-being.
While we would all like to return to living as we were before COVID-19, we must continue to look after ourselves and those around us the best we can. Try not to give up on any positive changes you may have made over these recent months. Or, if you have found this period such a struggle that it has negatively impacted on the healthy habits you did have, now is the time to rebuild some resilience.
More than ever this is an opportunity to take care of your health; make lifestyle changes, manage stress and sleep patterns, and optimise your nutritional intake.
What we choose to eat during this time is a vital part of the preventative measures we can take to fight disease and infection. Our immune system is greatly affected by the nutritional and lifestyle choices that we make each day. Not only can a robust immune system help fight infection, it allows for an increased recovery rate, if or when we encounter an infection.
We must optimise our immune system and with that regulate our body’s inflammatory response.
A healthy functioning immune system is one of the most important factors in our armoury, which we can strengthen through food intake, specific food reduction, mental health awareness, movement and sleep.
- GREENS IN SEASON – Cabbage, Kale, Chard, Rocket, Spinach. ENJOY THESE DARK GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES DAILY! They are packed with antioxidants; vitamin C, Zinc and Selenium, all necessary to protect you from pollutants, inflammation and many chronic conditions including heart disease and respiratory disorders. These wonderful vegetables are IN SEASON NOW! They are high in vitamin K too, necessary for optimum bone health, and Magnesium, which we all need more of during times of stress. Magnesium plays a vital role in energy production, relaxation, mood regulation, and controls both inflammation and blood sugar levels.
- FEED YOUR BRAIN – YOUR BRAIN NEEDS FAT.
Did you know that 50% of your brain fat is made up of polyunsaturated fats (‘good fats’) with 33% omega 3. With greater risk of low mood and uncertainty right now, we must look after our nervous system. Nerve cells need fat. These fatty acids are essential for a happy, healthy mind. Don’t be afraid of increasing your fat intake!
Food sources rich in Omega 3 oils include the oily fish group: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring. Flaxseeds are packed with Omega 3 oil too.
Enjoy handfuls of walnuts for their protein as well as their healthy fat content. A fantastic ‘go to’ snack if you feel low in energy or mood.
Be generous with adding olive oil to your dressings or to top those delicious green leafy vegetables! Olive oil contains a healthy ratio of the essential fatty acids, omega 3 and 6.
- TRY TO AVOID COMFORT EATING. When we feel low or when our routine is disrupted, it can be very tempting to reach for those ‘quick fix’ foods for a momentary sense of satisfaction and pleasure. These foods tend to be high in sugar and simple carbohydrates. The satisfaction soon wears off and the feeling that is left can be worse than before.
On a cellular level, these sugars actually compete with the vital antioxidants we need for fighting infection and disease. Try to stick to your main meals each day without snacking. If you do need to snack at work or in transit, carry nuts with you or a piece of fruit.
Dark chocolate is an option for those cravings. It should be at least 70% cocoa solids and that will provide you with a good dose of magnesium too!
- DON’T GIVE UP ON SLEEP. There have been many news reports around the difficulty in sleeping during the lockdown due to worries about work, finances, living, relationships, and of course anxiety surrounding Covid itself. And the heat has certainly not been our friend at night over the last month or so.
There are many little steps you can take to improve your sleep:
Avoid stimulants and alcohol before you go to bed. Sugar, caffeine and alcohol interfere with both our nervous and hormonal systems. They can disrupt the amount of melatonin released for initiating slumber and cause premature release of cortisol, our wake-up hormone. Over time this can lead to a disturbed sleep pattern night after night.
Make sure you open your bedroom window at least an hour before you settle. Sleep onset is associated with a cooling body temperature.
Include a good balance of protein in your evening meal to ensure a steady blood sugar level through the night.
- MOVE. With many people being forced to transfer their work to online platforms, for some, there has been, an increase in sedentary habits.
At the least, maintain the exercise you might have done when going to work. If you are working from home, then take advantage of that extra time you do have to increase your physical fitness.
Regular exercise increases lung capacity and the lungs’ ability to deliver more oxygen to the blood. For now, while we have near optimum day light, make the most of getting out for walks in the sunshine. Not only is this vital for our Vitamin D intake, but movement and simply being outdoors can hugely increase the production of serotonin, our happy hormone.
Please refer to Keep your Immune System Strong with the Right Nutritionfor further nutritional and lifestyle advice, gardening tips and preventative measures.
Look after yourself and those around you.
Talk to each other, listen to your loved ones’ concerns.
Be aware of your own mental health.
Feel the benefits of eating nutritionally dense foods.
For a more in-depth guidance on how nutrition and lifestyle can improve your health and well-being:
Melanie is offering a 15% discount on ALL appointments from Monday-Friday throughout September.
Welcome Back to The Well Garden.
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 0203 095 9735