It has been just over a year since the first coronavirus cases were detected in the UK, but the same, if not deeper, challenges and uncertainties still remain.
"Building a fairer, healthier world" is the theme of World Health Day this year, which marks the 73rd founding anniversary of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Before I dissect the aptly named theme in the context of the pandemic, I want to touch base first. Since the first coronavirus cases were detected on 29 January 2020, The UKs pandemic journey has been a predominantly unpredictable one so far. Over 4.36million people have been infected and just over 126,000 people have sadly lost their lives thus far.
So, what has the Pandemic taught us, as consumers? Well, the pandemic has certainly made us recognise that wellbeing is a vital concern. The already rising attention on mental and emotional health has been multiplied by the pandemic and its far-reaching impacts. It has also put to light how hugely malnutrition is in the UK, alone.
Malnutrition - a term most of us believe is associated only with poverty. However, this is very far from the truth. Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. It consists of wasting, stunting, low birth weight, and micronutrient deficiencies on the one hand, and overweight, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases on the other.
Since we know that those who are healthy have a much better chance of only experiencing mild symptoms from Covid-19 and have the greatest odds for a full recovery, we also know that we hold the controls to our health in how we choose to live and move. Reducing our risk to chronic diseases and Covid-19 related complications can start immediately.
Here is what the pandemic has taught us in the world of nutrition:
1. Learn to be patient with fitness
This year has taught us the value of being patient – with others and ourselves. In order to experience holistic wellness on a deeper level, you have to be patient with your workouts. Apart from indulging in a mix of cardio and weight training; consistency and regularity are important. Read more about simple ways of staying fit here.
2. Optimum Immunity at all times
COVID-19 has made us realise that we can’t take anything for granted – be it access to restaurants and gyms or spending time with our loved ones. Or our immunity against infections and diseases. We’ve learned to appreciate our bodies better. Treating our bodies as temples is more important now than ever before. We’ve finally realised that building immunity is an on-going process and needs regular work and monitoring.
If you want to be better equipped for what the future might hold, make sure that immunity-boosting foods such as citrus fruits, garlic, broccoli, bell peppers, ginger, spinach become a regular part of your diet. Eating more fermented foods like yogurt along with staying hydrated and controlling the levels of stress in your life – also helps create more lasting immunity. Read how gut health also plays a role in your immunity.
3. Wellness beyond fitness
As mentioned previously, the pandemic has taught us to truly focus on our wellbeing. We are making better fitness and lifestyle choices now. But it’s important to remember that wellness is more than just a good diet and exercise. The pandemic has taught us to prioritise our mental and overall well-being and to take responsibility for it. Achieving a balance between work and play, making time for friends and family, spending some time close to nature, meditating, and to find loving self-acceptance are also important aspects of holistic wellness.
Finally, as a nutritionist, I do feel I have an important role to play in assisting individuals to improve their lifestyle. I also think myself and other health professionals should be working together to advocate to government to implement better environmental changes that will enable the UK population to eat well and be physically active. Through this all, we as a nation will be able to build a fairer, healthier life for ourselves.