Several food trends have emerged over the past few months on social media as most countries remain on lockdown due to COVID-19. These include Dalgona coffee, sourdough bread and frying pan pizza.
Several food trends have emerged over the past few months on social media as most countries remain on lockdown due to COVID-19. These include Dalgona coffee, sourdough bread and frying pan pizza. The more relaxed and sedentary lifestyle enjoyed during the Movement Control Order (MCO) has also presented individuals with time to try out other comfort food recipes. In light of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) where individuals are allowed to progressively return to work, here are a few healthy food options which can help rejuvenate your body for “the new normal”.
Citrus FruitsJust recently, a study on the food consumption habits of individuals and families living in Asia after COVID-19 was conducted by Nielsen1. Studying 11 individual Asian markets, Nielsen concluded that the food consumption habits of these individuals have changed after the deadly pandemic. The individuals and families studied were found to prefer purchasing fresh goods for in-home dining instead of out-of-home eating experiences, online delivery and on-the-go food consumption1. This coincides with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of consuming a minimum of 400g or 5 portions of fruits and vegetables daily2.
These may include citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit. Citrus fruits can supply vitamin C to your body3. This vitamin is especially beneficial for strengthening your immune system. It is also a healthy source of fibre, which aids in lowering your risk of suffering kidney stones3. Several studies have also shown that citrus fruit consumption can also lower your risk of several types of cancer. These include lung, oesophageal, stomach, breast and pancreatic cancer3.
Leaf VegetablesLeaf vegetables can add flavour to a healthy diet. It can also supplement your body with a distinct set of nutrients. These nutrients can provide your body with an energy boost. This is mainly attributed to its iron content which promotes the production of new red blood cells4. This in turn helps to deliver oxygen to your cells more efficiently and prevent fatigue.
This type of food is best prepared as a steamed, stir-fried or slightly wilted dish. Preparing leaf vegetables using either one of these methods allows it to retain its natural flavours. Leaf vegetables are also a healthy source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K4. Consumption of leaf vegetables is particularly beneficial for pregnant women or women who intend to conceive. This is because the food contains folic acid which is important for early foetal development4.
NutsAn important takeaway for most who work from home during the CMCO is that certain responsibilities can be entertained remotely. This presents an opportunity to find a balance between work and personal matters. Life after the CMCO may not necessarily mean that you get to continue working from home and could prove to be physically and mentally detrimental. This is primarily due to your body transitioning from an idle state to a more active role as the CMCO regulations ease for businesses to resume operations. Therefore, it is important to consume snacks such as nuts, which can provide your body with an energy boost throughout the day4.
Eating a snack consisting of a handful of walnuts can supply your body with a healthy source of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats5. It also contains a rich source of antioxidants. Polyphenol is a type of antioxidant which can be supplied by walnuts. It can reduce oxidative stress by neutralising free radicals which cause cell damage and increase your susceptibility to diseases5. Nuts can be consumed whole or as a nut butter. The consumption of nuts can regulate your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Eating a handful of almonds or a spoonful of peanut butter can increase your HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and lower your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels5. Nuts are also a healthy source of fibre. Fibre can improve your gut health and lower your risk of diabetes and obesity5.
Fish Containing Healthy FatsIt is also important to supplement your body with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. This can be provided through fatty fish4. A healthy and balanced diet should include a minimum of two 140g-portions of fish a week. This includes a single portion of fatty fish6. For example, fishes such as salmon, sardines or mackerel. It also includes shellfish such as prawns, squid and scallops6. These seafoods can be either grilled or cooked as part of a curry or sambal.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce your risk of heart disease6. It is also important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because it can promote healthy development of an infant’s nervous system6. Omega-3 fatty acids can also reduce inflammation in your body which is a common cause of fatigue. Fatty fish also contains vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 combines with folic acid to produce red blood cells in the body which in turn promotes better iron efficiency and an improvement in energy levels6.
Unrefined Whole GrainsUnrefined whole grains are also suitable to rejuvenate your body for “the new normal”. These whole grains include quinoa, oatmeal, whole grain rice and pasta2. These foods have a long shelf life and are easy to prepare as well. Whole grain rice is best eaten with cooked dishes. Whole grain pasta is best paired with a sauce of your preference. Quinoa can be consumed as part of a salad or accompanied by a protein of your choice. Oatmeal is best prepared using water or milk. It is best served with fruits, nuts, raisins, honey or a combination of all four ingredients together.
Consumption of these whole grains can supplement your body with a healthy source of nutrients. These include B vitamins, zinc, iron, magnesium and manganese7. It is also able to lower your risk of several chronic diseases. These include heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes7. Eating whole grains can lower your risk of obesity by preventing overeating7. It is also able to support healthy digestion by adding bulk to your stools and lowering your risk of constipation7.
There is an abundance of foods which can be consumed to boost your energy levels. They may include foods that contain carbohydrates, which can supply your body with a source of readily available energy. There are also foods which contain fibre and protein, which provide a slower release of energy but can increase your power and stamina. If you feel that it is time to rejuvenate your body for “the new normal”, incorporating these foods as part of your diet is a step in the right direction.