8th April|News

Remembering World Health Day: How to stay healthy in today’s climate

“Without nurses, there would be no response.” Coming directly from the World Health Organization (WHO) on this year’s World Health Day, which took place on the 7th April 2020, this statement represents both truth and accuracy in the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. It’s particularly poignant during such a pivotal time in history where nurses, midwives and all other healthcare workers are at the forefront of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

At OptiBiotix, we want to extend a huge thank you to show our appreciation and admiration of those working on the frontline. To support nurses, midwives and others in the sector, the message is simple; stay home and save lives. For those with underlying health conditions, including those affected by cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the advice is to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks due to a higher risk of contracting the virus and experiencing additional complications.

Yet it’s during times of uncertainty that staying at home can be difficult for both our mental and physical health. Globally, many people are keeping themselves busy by taking an interest in DIY projects and crafts to keep the kids entertained, performing an adaptation of Les Misérables to keep their minds active, or taking free online workout videos and exercises as recommended by World Athletics to keep fit. Though when the activities subside, how do we stop ourselves from heading to the kitchen and indulging in food we don’t regularly eat when at school or work?

Managing expectations

Keeping yourself healthy in today’s climate can be challenging when relying on willpower alone. There’s more temptation when staying indoors to eat more and move less. During stressful times, our cortisol levels elevate which can lead to an increase in appetite. Typically, we turn to high-calorie, high-sugar and processed foods which only provide short bursts of energy, instead of foods naturally high in fibre and proteins to help aid our digestive system.

To help manage expectations and maintain a healthy weight, it’s a good idea to start with a meal plan. Planning what to eat for your breakfast, lunch and evening meals during the week not only works wonders for your gut, which thrives off routine and healthy habits, but also helps households to reduce their food waste by efficiently using pre-purchased groceries in well-balanced meals. When trips to local food stores and supermarkets are limited, effectively planning your meals, and only taking what you need when you need it, means everybody has access to staple health foods such as canned fruit, wholegrain bread and pasta, and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Eat healthy, stay healthy

For those with underlying health conditions, it’s now more important than ever to manage your weight and stay as healthy as possible. If you can opt for home delivery or ask a friend to help deliver goods to your home, choosing foods that are both healthy and long-lasting are key. Try fruits such as unripe bananas, apples and oranges and frozen berries or pineapple to toss in a smoothie, sipping gradually while at your home desk, in the garden or in your living room. If you prefer snacking gradually during the day, prepare fruit during the time you would usually commute to work or school, or the time it takes you to travel to and from your regular activities, and place in a bowl ready to eat.

To help your good bacteria thrive, choose from canned fish, seeds, nuts and beans which are high in fibre to help manage or lower cholesterol. Or for long-lasting protein, store eggs on the fridge shelf so they keep for longer periods of time and opt for plant-based milk alternatives such as unsweetened soy milk.

Leafy green vegetables, walnuts and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and tuna are great for keeping your heart healthy. Recent studies have claimed that eating salmon up to three times a week for up to eight weeks can significantly decrease diastolic blood pressure. Alternatively, science-backed supplements such as ourCholBiome® range can also boost your heart health and decrease blood pressure, while helping to reduce and maintain cholesterol levels.

Experiment with something new

Staying at home for a lengthy amount of time without the ability to change your routine can result in food lethargy. But if you’re willing to try something new and experiment with foods you’ve never eaten before, now’s the time to give it a go. Swap your regular fruit and vegetables with those that are in season or your breakfast cereal for our range of GoFigure Muesli pots, which are expertly formulated to help control those mid-morning cravings, promoting good gut health.

For now, staying healthy by eating nutrient-rich foods and maintaining a great exercise regime at home is the best way to support our healthcare workers on the frontline. Although World Health Day only comes around once per year, our nurses, midwives, doctors and others in healthcare deserve our recognition every day.