The holiday season brings joy, happiness and often stress. As this season quickly approaches amidst another year in a global pandemic, it becomes even more important to focus on our health. During the holidays, there’s a lot of pressure to travel, shop, and be at every social gathering for weeks on end.
Tips to staying healthy during the holidays:
One of the ways to ensure we stay healthy during holidays, is to boost our immune system. Looking after your immunity is important throughout the year, not only in the winter months, which is even more important now due to the pandemic and the harmattan weather in some parts in Nigeria. The air is dusty and dry and could predispose one to some health conditions such as cold, flu etc.
Eat balanced diets with less carbs and more of fruits and vegetables. Serves as good source for vitamins and minerals.
Staying active and exercising; Exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer and lower risk of early death by 30%.
Good hand hygiene and social distancing to reduces Covid-19 infections.
Some important vitamins and nutrients that helps us to stay healthy
Vitamin A: Involved in protecting the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat, and lungs from damage. The role of Vitamin A as an immune enhancer is well known. Sources includes dairy foods and eggs.
Vitamin D3: Recent research supports the effect of Vitamin D3 in helping to maintain a healthy immune system. Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for the immune system. Many immune cells have vitamin D receptors. Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption in the body. There have been reports of vitamin D reducing the risk of viral infections, including Covid-19 virus. Dietary sources are limited – mainly oily fish and eggs hence the need for supplementation.
Vitamin E: An important antioxidant for the immune system, which maintains the health of the skin and heart by acting within cellular membranes, protecting the cell from oxidative damage. Dietary sources include vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.
Vitamin C: Important for the maintenance of a healthy immune system. Vitamin C is also a general antioxidant and offers protection from free radical damage around the body. Increased amount of Vitamins C is required during illness. Dietary sources include citrus fruits and juices, peppers, berries and spinach
B Vitamins – Folate B9, B6 and B2 act as antioxidant and supporting the immune system. Food sources include fish, banana.
Zinc plays an important role in the immune system, protection, and healing. Food sources sea food, pork.
Selenium acts as an antioxidant and is essential for healthy immune functioning. It helps protect cell membranes through the action of the selenium-dependent enzyme Glutathione Peroxidase and is important for the quenching of free radicals. It may also help in the activation of DNA repair
Calcium helps build strong and healthy bone and teeth, regulating muscle contractions including heart muscles. Lack of calcium could lead to osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Dietary sources milk, cheese and dairy foods.
Iron is important is important for making red blood cells which carry oxygen round the body. Food sources include; meat, soya beans, red meat
A healthy diet should include vitamins and common minerals such as beta carotene, copper, magnesium, etc. from different food sources such as fruits vegetables etc. They help support the body’s health in various ways such as support growth, immune system, formation of white and red blood cells, enzyme activation etc.
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