We have reached Lockdown level 1, which is a great relief as the economy can slowly recover, more people can go back to work and we can regain a sense of normality in our daily lives while taking the correct precautions of course.
However, it seems that many people have let their guard down. People are out and about without masks, not washing their hands or rigorously sanitising, and not practising physical distancing. This is a recipe for disaster and new infections. We should at all costs try to prevent the second wave of infections.
Now is not the time to be complacent. It is important that you follow the basic rules of hygiene and physical distancing, and improve your nutritional intake to help improve your immunity, especially if you have a chronic disease.
Studies on Covid-19 from around the world have shown that patients who have died tended to have comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and cancer. Obesity has also increased the severity of the infections, with many obese patients being hospitalised in intensive care units.
Even more concerning is that these chronic diseases and inflammation increase with age, which is why the elderly are so much at risk.
The South African Demographic and Health Survey (SADHS), completed in 2016, has shown shocking statistics in relation to obesity and chronic diseases. They found 68% of men and 31% of women to be overweight and obese, with 20% of women and 3% of men being severely obese. Hypertension is present in 46% of women and 44% of men.
Diabetes is the second, and cardiovascular disease the fourth leading cause of death in South Africa. Chronic diseases are, therefore, a huge concern for the health system in South Africa, and the prevalence of these conditions is increasing at an alarming rate.
Obesity is a chronic inflammatory state and is linked to many chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, kidney disease and cancers. Even if you are not obese, any chronic disease has underlying inflammation associated with it. It is due to this inflammation that diseases are termed chronic.
Chronic inflammation is linked to many alterations in the immune system, which must always be alert to the invasion of organisms that may harm the body. The immune system consists of many cells which all have different roles to play to ensure proper immune functioning. Most of the immune cells in the human body are found in the gut. When we ingest food, we expose ourselves to near-constant immune responses, and our immune system must provide protection against invasive pathogens, while still tolerating food proteins and bacteria that are already present.
Nutrition is very important to ensure the proper functioning of the immune system. Many nutrients have specific roles to play in the development and maintenance of an effective immune system and preventing chronic inflammation. The Western diet is a known risk factor for chronic inflammation, and is characterised by a high intake of sugar, trans and saturated fats and salt, while being low in fibre, fruits and vegetables, bioactive compounds, polyphenols and healthier fats, including omega 3s.
In contrast, a Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. This diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole-grains, low-fat dairy, fish, olives, and olive oil. Although red wine is also a feature of this diet, it is not risk-free and should be used cautiously especially in the presence of chronic disease conditions and obesity.
What also needs to be considered in these challenging Covid times is the fact that many people have lost their jobs and have limited food availability. Although processed food may offer a quick and cheaper option, it should be avoided due to its high fat, salt, sugar and additive content.
To improve your nutrition, follow the following tips to ensure a natural and healthy diet:
Zarina Ebrahim is a registered dietitian and lecturer at the Division Human Nutrition, Department Global Health, at Stellenbosch University.
- Weight loss expert's 'simplest and most effective' way to burn fat with high protein plan - Express - November 28th, 2020
- Shawn Mendes lost sleep to work out and thought he'd lose fans if not - Insider - INSIDER - November 28th, 2020
- Don't Just Sit There: A Little Exercise Makes Up for a Full Day of Sitting - Everyday Health - November 28th, 2020
- Tara Sharma pens note on why physical activity is needed now more than ever before - The Indian Express - November 28th, 2020
- Diabetes as a condition can not entirely be reversed, it only enters Remission Mode, says Expert at ASSOCHAM's 'Illness To Wellness' Series -... - November 28th, 2020
- Lifestyle tips to help keep your body and mind healthy during the pandemic - Yahoo! Voices - November 28th, 2020
- HEART OF WELLNESS Immune-strong movement and nutrition - Barnstable Patriot - November 28th, 2020
- What is brown fat? Know how it can protect you from diabetes, obesity - Times Now - November 28th, 2020
- The Recovery Room: News beyond the pandemic November 27 - Medical News Today - November 28th, 2020
- Prostate cancer: Survivors talk radiation, loose bowels and battling a disease more common than you think - CNA - November 28th, 2020
- The Effects of Doing Body-Weight Exercises Every Day - LIVESTRONG.COM - November 28th, 2020
- Watch What Happened When This Guy Ate and Trained Like Eddie Hall - menshealth.com - November 25th, 2020
- Diet to exercise: FSSAI suggests these post-festival tips to resume a healthy routine - The Indian Express - November 25th, 2020
- Diabetes: Facts you should know in the era of COVID-19 - Q City Metro - Qcity metro - November 25th, 2020
- What Is the Endomorph Diet? What Can You Eat on the Endomorph Diet? - GoodHousekeeping.com - November 25th, 2020
- Swollen Stomach and Weight Gain: Causes of Abdominal Bloating - Healthline - November 25th, 2020
- What are some of the best diets for men? - Medical News Today - November 25th, 2020
- Here are a few tips to keep yourself healthy amidst winters - Times of India - November 25th, 2020
- Type 2 diabetes: One of the best diets to help with insulin resistance and obesity - Express - November 25th, 2020
- Market America | SHOP.COM Shares Five Ways To Help You Avoid Excess Sugar While Still Enjoying The Holidays - PR Web - November 25th, 2020
- Justin Herbert Who Lives on Subway Sandwiches - GQ Magazine - November 25th, 2020
- Henry Cavill full body workout: Get as strong as Superman and The Witcher - T3 - November 25th, 2020
- Do Chemicals Cause Breast Cancer? Its Unknown, but Two Researchers Say That the Government Should Do More to Protect Women - SurvivorNet - November 25th, 2020
- Weight Loss: Lose Belly Fat With This Quick Lower Abs Workout That Can Be Done In Just 20 Minutes - NDTV - November 25th, 2020
- Obesity and pets - Illinois Times - November 25th, 2020
- Weight loss: Two things that helped Nita Ambani lose 18 kilos - Times of India - November 25th, 2020
- Dieting downfalls and the promise of a non-diet approach - Daily Cardinal - November 25th, 2020
- Working out in a polluted city? Here are some exercises you must avoid doing as air pollution rises - Times Now - November 25th, 2020
- How to lose belly fat: get in shape before it all goes wrong again during the holidays - T3 - November 25th, 2020
- Exercise nutrition: whether you should eat before or after a workout depends on your fitness goals - The Conversation UK - November 16th, 2020
- Strict diets can deprive us of our happiness and health - The Aggie - November 16th, 2020
- Polo G on His New Album 'The Goat,' Workout Routine, and Complicated Diet - menshealth.com - November 16th, 2020
- Henry Cavill Witcher workout: a full body workout in just 5 moves plus a diet based on lots of protein - T3 - November 16th, 2020
- Lockdown: Survey finds that many in SA gained weight, despite trying to lose a few kilos - Health24 - November 16th, 2020
- Fitness: Outdoor exercise is the new normal even for winter - Montreal Gazette - November 16th, 2020
- The importance of knowing your family health history - PhillyVoice.com - November 16th, 2020
- How Diabetes can affect your eyes and what you can do to avoid those complications - wmar2news.com - November 16th, 2020
- Mary Trump says terrible diet and lack of exercise will prevent Donald Trump from running in 2024 - Queerty - November 16th, 2020
- Dr Norman Lazarus has a simple and direct message when it comes to living longer, healthier lives - The Canberra Times - November 16th, 2020
- Over-the-counter diet pills: Do they really help you lose weight or harm your health? - TheHealthSite - November 16th, 2020
- The hard truth about losing weight why speeding up your metabolism for weight loss is a myth - Business Insider Australia - November 16th, 2020
- World Diabetes Day: Steps to improve metabolism for the prevention of diabetes - TheHealthSite - November 16th, 2020
- Here's how to maintain blood sugar levels, starting from your gut - TheHealthSite - November 16th, 2020
- Breaking up with diet culture: A dietitian on how to ditch the toxicity - Women's Agenda - November 16th, 2020
- Confined indoors? Heres how to boost your immunity |India Today Insight - India Today - November 16th, 2020
- Home and Away's Ethan Browne: 'My health and workout secrets' - New Idea - November 16th, 2020
- Questions and Answers About Your Immune System and Winter - Healthline - November 16th, 2020
- Causes of Heartburn During Exercise and What to Do About It - LIVESTRONG.COM - November 16th, 2020
- How to Lose Inner Thigh Fat: Causes and Toning Exercises - Greatist - November 3rd, 2020
- Learning to Actively Pursue the Light at the End of the Tunnel - Charcot-Marie-Tooth News - November 3rd, 2020
- Healthy diet, exercises are pivotal in preventing cardiovascular diseases WHO - - The Eagle Online - November 3rd, 2020
- A deep dive into diabetes in Arkansas | Wear the Gown - THV11.com KTHV - November 3rd, 2020
- 'My Diet Was All Over The Place Until I Started Counting Macros With The Strong Daily App' - Yahoo Lifestyle - November 3rd, 2020
- Polarity Balancing: Benefits, Exercises, How to Find a Practitioner - Healthline - November 3rd, 2020
- Kareena's advice to women who conceived during the pandemic - Daijiworld.com - November 3rd, 2020
- This Guy Ate And Trained Like Conor McGregor And The Cardio Session Alone Looks Like Absolute Murder - BroBible - November 3rd, 2020
- 5 things to know about Vitamin D - StarNewsOnline.com - November 3rd, 2020
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment and Beyond - SurvivorNet - November 3rd, 2020
- What Is Preventive Cardiology? What Doctors Want You To Know About the Emerging Field in Heart Health - Well+Good - November 3rd, 2020
- Weight loss: This guy changed his diet every 10 days and lost 50 kilos! Here's what he ate - Times of India - November 3rd, 2020
- How to exercise to lose weight and build muscle at the same time - Daily Express - November 3rd, 2020
- Kate Middleton's green juice with blueberries and matcha is key to flat stomach diet - Express - November 3rd, 2020
- Henry Cavill Workout: How to Do It, Cautions, and More - Healthline - November 3rd, 2020
- 6 scientifically-proven techniques students can use to relieve stress this school year - Insider - INSIDER - November 3rd, 2020
- Video of Husband Exposing Cheating Wife is Going Viral: Trending Topics, Viral Videos & Funny Memes of The - LatestLY - November 3rd, 2020
- Do you have a sitting job? Here are 7 quick desk exercises to prevent neck and back pain - Times Now - November 3rd, 2020
- Metabolic Renewal Review: Pros, Cons, and Effectiveness - Healthline - October 28th, 2020
- I got a whole new mindset: the health secrets of people who got much fitter in lockdown - The Guardian - October 28th, 2020
- Simple Tips And Tricks To Make Your Diet Healthier: You Must Try These! - NDTV - October 28th, 2020
- How do you calculate your calorie intake? Know some tips, recipes on how to lose weight with exercise and diet - Times Now - October 28th, 2020
- Here's What We Know About the Diet Fuelling Rebel Wilsons Fitness & Weight Loss Journey - POPSUGAR Health and Fitness Australia - October 28th, 2020
- If Your Heart Health Is at Risk, Your Partner Should Get Checked Too. Here's Why - ScienceAlert - October 28th, 2020
- Eat to beat diabetes: Delicious ways to reverse and transform your health explains Gurmeet Arora - PINKVILLA - October 28th, 2020
- Noom diet: The virtual weight loss program taking the world by storm explained - 9Coach - October 28th, 2020
- Weight loss: can your 'settling point' prevent you from losing weight in the long term? - T3 (US) - October 28th, 2020
- Link between early menopause and osteoporosis - The New Indian Express - October 28th, 2020
- Adele and Pippa Middleton Both Swear By the 'Sirtfood Diet' -- Here's Why Its Founder Says It Works - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - October 28th, 2020
- Can a Plant-Based Diet Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer? - LIVEKINDLY - October 28th, 2020
- Eat well, be well - NZ Register of Exercise Professionals - Voxy - October 28th, 2020
- Heart palpitations and headache: Causes and treatment - Medical News Today - October 28th, 2020