The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has dramatically changed our way of life. Faced with the imposition of confinement in our homes, the Professor of Immunology at the University of Jaen, José J. Gaforio, offers us a practical guide to handle this situation as best as possible and in which consuming EVOO and practicing exercise are fundamental.
The Royal Decree that declares the State of Alarm for the management of the health crisis situation imposes, among other measures, the limitation of the freedom of movement of the people, so the confinement of the population in their homes is imposed. This will change our routines, we will have a lot of time to occupy it differently, and we will share much more time with our closest family.
I would like to propose, in a concise manner, some practical advice for eating and taking care of oneself in a healthy way during the time of confinement.
The virus we are dealing with produces from very serious symptoms, which can even cause death, to asymptomatic ones. Our immune system is responsible for fighting the virus until it is eliminated. Consequently, strengthening our immune defences is important in order to cope with the virus, as it is known that immunosuppression increases the risk of suffering from the most serious form of the infection. The right diet can help improve the immune system, so what should we do?
These days have some peculiarities that could be summarized as follows: physical activity will inevitably decrease during this period, it is possible that sometimes you are bored, even feel some anxiety about not being able to leave the house, all this makes us snack more than usual and visits to the refrigerator are frequent. On the contrary, we will have more time than we usually have to make the meal, precisely the lack of time is one of the excuses used for not eating in a healthy way.
The indications could be summarised as follows.
- Control the amount of food you eat.
- Give priority to plant foods over animal foods. Chard, celery, artichoke, eggplant, borage, broccoli, zucchini, spinach, asparagus, leek, mushrooms, carrots and peppers, among others, must be part of your diet. "Eating in color" is a graphic way to describe the above.
- Eat seasonal, nearby and fresh foods.
- Eat salads that include lettuce, tomatoes, chicory and onions, among others. It is important to season the salad with virgin olive oils and vinegar, not with sauces that normally have an excess of calories.
- Be careful with salt. Pepper can be a good alternative.
- Fruits are the choice for dessert, don't abuse elaborate desserts that are usually rich in sugar.
- Eat meat in moderation.
- Consume fish, being very advisable cold water fish such as salmon or trout, for example.
- Legumes are highly recommended.
- Use spices to spice up the food.
- Now that you have more time, get into the kitchen and dare to make new dishes. If you have children, involving them in the preparation of the food can be a very interesting moment to share with them and teach them good eating habits. All family members should participate.
- Don't make it easy for yourself to order food from home.
- Don't abuse fried foods.
- Avoid processed and pre-cooked foods, which are usually high in calories and require very little preparation time before consumption.
- Enjoy, now that you can, the food as a family, giving it the time it deserves and creating a welcoming and pleasant atmosphere. Prioritize the conversation between you and turn off the television.
- Maintain adequate hydration, water and infusions are recommended.
- Always use the oily juice of the olives, virgin olive oils, as the only source of fat.
- Keep in mind as a diet to follow the Mediterranean, the scientific evidence supports it.
- Finally, do some exercises at home that you can share with the rest of the family. It is important to do activities together, they can be very pleasant recreational moments.
By José J. Gaforio, Professor of Immunology at the University of Jaén