By Nutritionist Mary Muthoni
It is now one month and some days since the first Covid -19 case hit our country .It has been a very difficult time for most Kenyans because some have lost their jobs while others have had salary cuts. All this leading to a lot of devastation with most us are asking ourselves what the next couple of weeks and months will look like.
As we follow the rules of hand washing, keeping a social distance, proper cough manners, wearing facemasks properly when in public, avoiding gatherings and crowded places and finally staying home as much as possible, we need to ensure we are taking proper care of our health by keeping a healthy diet and more healthy h.abits
Here is why.
- To ensure we gain enough immunity
- Maintain good health and weight.
- Gain and maintain good energy
- Positive effects on mood and self confidence
- Increase focus and concentration thus positive results in whatever you are doing
- It lengthens life
This Corona virus pandemic will soon be contained and time will do its thing, keep ticking. Life will resume its usual track of schedules. The question is where you will fit in after this period and how well you will be able to adjust. Use this time to optimize your health and adapt new healthy habits or rein force those healthy habits that are serving you.
I know that it is not an easy time, with the cutting of costs and minimizing budgets. Maybe you are thinking, “Does she know how expensive it is for us to come up with a balanced and well nourishing diet? Here is a question for you “do you think healthy is expensive? “Does taking a balanced diet mean buying expensive food”? There is lots of evidence shows that it is cheaper to eat healthy. All you have to do is prioritize.
In our country, most counties have stopped some of the developments that were going on and now most of the focus is on how to mitigate against Covid-19. This also applies to the national government. At the household level, setting priorities right especially when it comes to diet is lifesaving. If you skip meals, you will end up eating in excess as compensation. If we eat in excess, we end up misusing our nutrition and end up with health issues.
Involving the whole family in the decisions about diet is important. When people embrace the idea of a healthier diet and lifestyle, it becomes easier to adapt it. For those with families, involve children as much as possible as they get to learn early the importance of a proper diet. It is also important to have both a meal schedule and a diet plan too. Having a designated time to eat is essential in ensuring one uses the entire nutrients well.
Legumes or pulses are convenient as they go with all kinds of the main dishes.
They are also very good for nutrition and for creating a balanced diet, as there are as many nutrients as there are different legumes.
These include peas, broad beans, lentils soybeans, lupine lotus sprouts, moonbeam, green beans and peanuts .According to FAO in the fact sheet of 2016 covering the key messages of the international year of pulses; pulses can help to improve health nutrition, biodiversity food security and climate change adaptation. Pulses contain about twice the amount of protein found in whole grain cereals. They are also a significant source of dietary fibre, carbohydrates and minerals such as iron, zinc, folate, potassium and many others. They are high in antioxidants, have low glucose index, have anti diabetic and anticancer properties, and they are low in bad cholesterol and high in the good cholesterol.
Furthermore, I have also come to discover that groundnuts can make great meals. They are a good substitute for beans while making githeri .They also go well with mashed potatoes. There are many myths that surround the consumption of groundnuts. They are an important source of biotin, copper, niacin, folate, manganese vitamin E thiamine phosphorus and magnesium. Taken in small amounts, they are healthy as both snacks and meals.
Do some recycling.
You can use Gunny bags, old buckets and basins as kitchen gardens. recycle the vegetable peels you throw each day to the county council just make a compost pit at the end of your home and let even neighbours throw their veg waste there after sometime transfer them to your small vegetable gardens .as for water waste water that has rinsed utensils .it should not have any soap in it. Vegetables are very essential for fibre, low in glycaemic; contain both efficient in vitamins and minerals. Further, it is good to avoid over stocking our refrigerators and freezers with too much vegetables. You can use the locally available foods for example you can use pumpkins in the place of carrots.
Ensure you take plenty of water and encourage children to do so too.
Water carries nutrients to all cells in our body and oxygen to our brain ,allows the body to absorb and assimilate minerals, vitamins , amino acid , glucose and other substance , water flushes out toxins and wastes , water helps regulate body temperature.
Health stands for the total wellbeing of an individual.
The physical aspect involves proper diet and physical activity. Try as much as possible to ensure you consume three meals and if it is not possible to take two meals and at a snack. See our article on http://healthhubkenya.co.ke/snack-healthy-and-sweet/healthhub/healthy snacking for more details. Take care of your Social wellbeing too. Even with social distancing, we have many social media platforms were we could communicate through and keep ourselves up to date. This is good for your mental health
We have as much as possible to avoid the occurrence of malnutrition, which in this case will be because of eating too little or an unbalanced diet that does not contain the right quantity and quality of nutrients to be healthy as it can bring susceptibility to the corona virus or any disease.
Stay safe, stay Healthy
By Nutritionist Mary Muthoni