Preventing Nutritional Deficiencies During Quarantine
"Let’s talk about how to eat in a healthy way, and ensure you and your family are getting enough of each essential vitamin and mineral every day."
Today's fresh live show with Dr. Nancy is the latest in her series on maintaining health while home on COVID-19 lock-down. Because of a lack of availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, people are relying more on packaged foods. This means foods higher in saturated fat with more refined sugars, and less essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Dr. Nancy is back in the kitchen with the tips and recipes we can use to get more nutrients out of our pantries, plus the right supplements to quickly get key vitamins and minerals back to healthy levels again!
- 04:52: How Quarantine Affects Our Diets
- 13:24: Anti-Inflammatory Foods
- 16:51: Getting Creative with Shopping and Cooking
- 22:59: Prevent Deficiencies by Supplementing
- 28:31: Wrap-Up
We know most of you have social distancing down pat by now. You’re staying home as much as possible, and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from everyone when you have to go out. While you are at home, we’re sure you’re being diligent there, too; washing your hands, getting enough sleep, exercising, and getting your vitamin D. Doing these things will help keep you healthy and your immune system strong.
Something else that is more important now than ever is to keep both your immune system up and your inflammation levels down by eating right. It’s tough for many of us to make that happen right now, but missing out on key essential vitamins and minerals is not what you need right now — so let’s talk about how to eat in a healthy way, and ensure you and your family are getting enough of each essential vitamin and mineral every day, while you’re sequestered in at home during the pandemic.
This is really a serious topic right now. Everyone should be taking steps to take care of their immune system right now. The Covid-19 models still show that there is a good chance more than half of Americans may get over time, even if we flatten the curve! So you really need to take every precaution to make sure you are optimizing your health and ensuring your immune system is ready should you contract the illness.
How Quarantine Affects Our Diets
We are all living in unprecedented times. Essential items like toilet paper are still hard to find. Grocery store aisles have improved a bit, but the variety we’ve come to expect is just not there. A lot of us aren’t able to buy the fresh organic foods and brands we’re used to. Plus, we’re limiting trips to the market, which means we’re eating more packaged and processed foods than ever.
Because of this, chances are good that your diet has undergone some changes in the last month, and not for the better. There are so many memes floating around the internet lately talking about “eating your feelings,” and although they’re meant to make us laugh, a lot of them do ring true.
Stress levels are off the chart as we settle into our new normal. Most of us are either not working or we’re working from home. And many of us are getting tired of cooking, on top of everything else we need to do. We’re all struggling to strike that balance: working while also caring for children and other family members, and often without any breaks.
So we’re all stressed, which means adrenal glands get triggered sending shots of adrenaline coursing through or veins to help us cope. Now initially, adrenaline actually works to suppress the appetite and provide energy — but it’s short-lived. The continuous release of an additional hormone, called cortisol, occurs if a stressful situation is ongoing — like when a worldwide pandemic hits! This cortisol contributes to your desire to comfort eat right now.
And with all this craziness going on, that desire often doesn’t translate to grabbing a piece of fruit or a big, beautiful salad. No, this is when the body craves comfort food high in fat and sugar. Plus, with everyone home all the time, it’s easy to fall into a vacation mentality and indulge in sweet treats, cook heavier meals, or order take-out too often.
But what really has people grabbing for foods higher in saturated fat and containing more refined sugars than they are used to, is the fact we already mentioned, that people are relying on packaged foods at this time much more than they typically would.
We’re also seeing a lack of availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s not because we’re having a shortage — it’s because many people are panic buying. First it was the packaged foods and now it’s happening with fruits and vegetables. Panic buying is just as the name implies; if you live in a part of the country where there is snow, you might see this in the days leading up to a predicted blizzard, or if you live in a part of the country plagued by hurricanes. People flock to the grocery stores and big box retailers and often buy more supplies than they will ever need to weather the storm.
The problem is, panic buying has a ripple effect. Once people see the shelves being depleted, they start to panic and stock up on items, too, and that is why we’re still seeing a lot of empty shelves in our grocery stores and big box retailers. And it’s not like we can go out and shop every day at local farms — we all need to avoid going out as much as possible. So we find ourselves having to get creative in the kitchen.
If you watch Dr. Nancy’s show regularly, you know she is a big proponent of eating an anti-inflammatory diet. If this is your first time tuning in or you’re unfamiliar with that, it includes foods like:
- Brown rice
- Legumes, including black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils
- Organic nuts like almonds, walnuts, and Brazil nuts
- Lean protein like chicken and turkey
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Toasted sesame seed oil
- Raw cacao powder
- Apple cider vinegar
- Nut butters like almond, cashew, and sunflower seed
- Spices like turmeric, black peppercorns, and ginger
Organic fruits and vegetables also make the list — in fact, they’re usually listed first, but there’s a key difference between these and the other items on the list: the other items are not as perishable as fresh produce, and chances are, you have some of these items in your pantry or even your freezer already!
As you can deduce from the name “anti-inflammatory foods”, these are foods that help keep inflammation in the body at bay. And when the body’s inflammatory load goes down, then you are less affected physically by stress, sickness, or disease, and your immune health gets a needed boost!
Getting Creative with Shopping and Cooking
Most of us right now are having to use a little creativity when it comes to mealtime. One thing you might try is buying organic frozen produce. Frozen produce usually isn’t as good as the fresh stuff, but it’s far from bad and in some cases it can be even better.
Fresh produce is often picked before it’s fully ripened to account for transportation time to your local grocery store. This stunts the development of the produce’s nutrients. Frozen produce, on the other hand, is picked later when they are more ripe and contain the most nutrients. It’s then blanched, which takes away some nutrients, and frozen within hours of being picked, locking in the nutritious goodness. So keep an eye out for those; this can be a great way to get fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Anti-Inflammatory Pantry Staples
Two great foods to use as a base to an anti-inflammatory diet are beans and rice. Beans and rice, when eaten in combination, make a complete protein (meaning it contains all nine of the amino acids essential to your daily diet). You need these amino acids to help with:
- Synthesizing hormones
- Preserving muscle... and
- Boosting immune function
Simple Beans and Rice Recipe
To start, cook up a batch of rice according to the package directions, on the stove or in a rice cooker. It may be a good idea to soak the beans the day before cooking. This can help make the beans more bioavailable to the body, and make digestion easier.
Next, add a little onion and garlic, as well as some of the other spices mentioned, and just like that you have a meal the whole family will love. Get multiple meals out of the leftovers by adding a splash of creativity — add ground chicken or turkey, steamed vegetables, or put it on a bed of greens with a homemade apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing. You can also add bone broth to the rice and beans to create a delicious chili. As a bonus, organic chicken bone broth is another great immune boosting food.
There you have it! Simple meal options the family can enjoy for days, and each one made with inflammatory-fighting foods.
Prevent Deficiencies by Supplementing
Give these foods a try, but keep in mind chances are we’re all coming up short these days in key nutrients that we really need right now like the B vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Zinc, Boron, Magnesium, and more.
This is not the time to walk around nutrient deficient! That’s why we should each be stocking up on a high-quality, food-based multivitamin. And you need something better than what you find on grocery store shelves — like the Smarter Multivitamin.
A few things you should know about the incredible multi: there’s a formula for men, and one for women, and each is formulated to deliver the specific right amount of nutrients your body needs.
That means it doesn’t contain excessive amounts of vitamins and minerals you don’t even need. Many traditional multivitamins contain way too much of certain cheap nutrients, which can throw your body out of whack, and too little of other nutrients to address any deficiency. The Smarter Multi is a perfect balance of essential vitamins and minerals, primarily sourced from organic, whole food sources — not a bunch of synthetics created in a lab like you find in the traditional rock-hard multi tablet.
In fact the minerals come in loose pack powder capsules so you absorb them quickly, and the vitamins come separately in an easily absorbed veggie softgel. Both are super gentle on the stomach.
The best part, though, is where the nutrients come from. For example:
- Calcium is derived from almonds, Amaranth grain and the superfood red-green algae
- Magnesium comes from sesame and sunflower seeds, spearmint leaf, dill and okra
- Zinc is derived from wheat germ, pumpkin seed, watermelon, banana and cocoa
- Boron comes from prunes, broccoli, peach, and pear
We know it’s a challenge to whip up healthy meals while fresh fruits and vegetables are harder to come by, but it’s important to choose healthier options wherever you can to support your immune system and overall health. Also make sure you take your Smarter Multi every day for the added insurance! For a limited time, when you use coupon code: IMMUNEBOOST during checkout, you’ll get 10% off your Smarter Multivitamin order.
Remember to stay safe out there and do everything you can to protect yourself and others during this strange time.