Staying home longer during the pandemic can affect both people’s eating habits and their mood.
London-based nutritionist Lily Soutter lists the top 10 best foods to lift your spirits, boost the immune system and fuel the brain.
Although, it is becoming increasingly popular to avoid carbohydrates, specialists warn not to do so.
What you do have to do is choose them well. Thus, nutritionist Lily Soutter recommends opting for whole grains.
Foods like whole grain bread, pasta, and rice, as well as quinoa, are rich in slow-release carbohydrates and they are not just a source of energy, but they also feed our brain and help us to concentrate and maintain a good mood, because they help in the production of serotonin.
Omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory effects. And to get a rich intake of omega-3 fats, we must consume at least two servings of fish per week, including one serving of fatty fish.
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3s, but they are best not fried, but rather steamed, baked, or broiled.
Chia, flax and walnuts
These foods are plant based sources of omega-3. Chia or flax oil can be used as a delicious and healthy salad dressing, regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or not.
Frozen or fresh berries are very rich in flavonoids, good for the brain.
They also contain a lot of vitamin C, which supports the immune system and is essential for fighting microbes.
Fermented foods, such as plain yogurt, are full of live, good-for-health bacteria. “About 70% of our immune system lies withing the gut,” explains the nutritionist.
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Sauerkraut and kimchi are also fermented food sources that serve a similar mission, but yogurt has a high concentration of bacteria, calcium, and protein.
Egg yolks are an excellent source of vitamin D and antioxidants.
Vitamin D helps the immune system to function properly and is very important for skeletal and muscle health. “Two eggs a day are absolutely normal for a healthy and balanced diet,” Soutter advises.
Fruits and vegetables of different colors
Each color in a plant contains different chemicals, and these chemicals serve different functions in the body, especially in gut bacteria, Soutter says.
“The more variety of fruits and vegetables on our plate, the more diverse our gut microbiota will be.” And the stronger and healthier our gut microbiota, the better our immune function.
Olive, coconut and avocado oil are sources of monounsaturated fats, good for heart health. These oils are a source of vitamin E, which also contributes to the health of the skin.
The nutritionist recommends using it for salads.
Canned tomatoes are very rich in lycopene, which gives the fruit its color and has powerful antioxidant properties.
“Lycopene is potentially good for cardiovascular health,” says Soutter, noting that a can of tomatoes tends to have more lycopene than a pack of fresh tomatoes.
You have to drink at least 6 or 8 glasses of water a day, according to the health expert and study published by the UK National Health Service (NHS).
The nutritionist, in turn, recalls that fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and cucumber, are good sources of H2O.