Many moms are now motivated to stay healthy for themselves to set a good example for their little ones. So if you are a mother working to become healthier, you are setting a great example to your family. Considering the lockdown, embark on a healthy lifestyle with some home exercises, preferably in the morning. Regular physical activity helps build muscle strength, balance and flexibility while also helping manage stress better.
While physical activity is important, the intake of nutritious food is equally necessary for overall well-being. It is recommended that we incorporate “superfoods”, which are considered a nutrient powerhouse providing large quantities of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins for small amounts consumed. These foods contain bioactive compounds that confer immense health benefits.
Here are some important facts to keep in mind that can help boost one’s immunity:
Balance your plate
A balanced plate includes whole grains (whole wheat, unpolished rice, ragi) whole pulses and dals, vegetables, fruits, dairy and fluids. We cannot rely on any single food item for immune boosting. It is always a combination of foods that translate into a mix of required nutrients. The Indian thali, which is a combination of all food groups, is a perfect example of this.
Eat your protein
Protein is an essential building block of the immune system. “Without enough content in the body, your immune system may not function as efficiently as expected. Protein can be obtained from different food items like all dals, whole pulses, egg, meat, milk and its products, nuts, etc. These food items can ensure that the body gets adequate protein,” says Anushka Baindur, Senior Dietician, Fortis Hospital, Bangalore. Non-vegetarian foods naturally have complete protein in them. But even vegetarians can get complete proteins by combining cereals and pulses like rice and dal.
Get your micros
Micronutrients include vitamins and essential minerals. They play a major role in keeping the immune system in top shape. “Vitamins ranging from A to E and minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, selenium etc, all play an important key role. So, ensure to pile up your plate with a good amount and variety of vegetables. One can also consume fruit, nuts and seeds, eggs as a regular snack which will help to fill the gaps between meals,” explains Baindur. You should also get 20-40 minutes of sunlight exposure regularly which will enable your body to produce Vitamin D (without breaking the current lockdown rules).
Strengthen your gut
Your gut forms a barrier for unwanted guests that can invade your body. For this, a good amount of fibre and probiotics is important. Fibre is present in vegetables like green leafy vegetables, fruits, whole cereals that include wheat, brown rice, ragi, bajra, whole pulses and lentils like green moong, whole masoor, horse gram, channa, rajma. Probiotics are foods that contain live good bacteria which can help keep the bad ones at bay. One can also consume natural probiotics that are homemade, like curd, buttermilk or even organic honey.
Superfood – Virgin Coconut Oil
Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil (VCNO) is recommended for its myriad health benefits. It is obtained from the fresh and matured kernel of the coconut by mechanical or natural means, cold-pressed and non-refined. “It is a rich source of naturally occurring Lauric acid and contains Vitamin E which helps to improve body immunity along with many other health benefits. Several studies show a positive association between virgin coconut oil consumption and how it helps in supporting people affected with Alzheimer’s. It also benefits breastfeeding mothers as the MCTs found in the oil are similar to the fats found in breast milk and have a similar nutraceutical effect. It is recommended to include two teaspoons of virgin coconut oil in the diet every day to maintain a healthy and holistic lifestyle,” explains nutritionist Sheryl Salis.
The importance of folate or Vitamin B9 in women
Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, is another nutrient many women don’t get enough of in their diets. Folate lowers the risk of heart diseases and certain types of cancer. It is also an essential nutrient for women of child-bearing age to reduce the chance of neurological birth defects. Mint, spinach, Bengal gram, black gram, green gram, red gram, gingelly seeds, soya bean are good sources of folate.
As you celebrate Mother’s Day during lockdown, focus on personal health as a mother’s health ultimately impacts her family’s well-being.