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Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Adolescents During COVID-19

Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Adolescents During COVID-19

Help Adolescents During COVID-19

Adolescence is a difficult time for kids to handle both physically and emotionally. The coronavirus pandemic has added additional challenges in maintaining the normal routine, a balanced diet, and a healthy lifestyle.

Adolescents during COVID-19

Moreover, disturbances in social interactions and the inability to attend school or college have added to their anxiety and stress.

Some tips for adolescents during COVID-19 are below to ensure they eat nutritious meals and have a healthy lifestyle.

Eat Nutritionally Balanced Meals

Ensure that your meals are balanced with energy-giving carbs, fats and oils, and proteins. Stick to lean meats like poultry as well as fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Avoid red meat as well as processed meats like sausages and ham that are packed with chemicals and salt. Stay away from saturated fats like lard and margarine as well as trans fats, typically found in packaged snacks.

Try to consume fresh leafy veggies and fruits and foods rich in dietary fiber such as baked beans, apples, dark-colored vegetables, etc.

Eat three main meals at the right times, keeping a watch on the portions, and limit yourself to not more than two snacks daily, preferably salads and fruits, not fried foods.

Do not consume excessive tea, coffee, and sugary drinks, and try to abstain from alcohol.

However, do make sure you drink at least two to three liters of water to keep yourself well-hydrated, recommends Ian Mausner.

Maintain a Regular Exercise Routine

Even though it is not possible to go to a gym to work out, you can try simple stretching exercises, light weights, yoga, pushups, etc. right at home without the need for any specialized gym equipment.

Even activities like dancing or gardening are good, observes Ian Mausner. When the sun is up, take a walk outdoors for at least 30 minutes, however, ensure you wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

Try to expose your body to the sun for half an hour to allow it to generate essential Vitamin D that is not only good for strengthening the bones but also for building immunity.

Get Adequate Sleep

According experts, not getting enough sleep puts adolescents more to the risk of depression, self-harm, and suicidal tendencies in addition to a variety of ailments like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

To help in getting good sleep at night, go to bed at the same time and rise at the same time every morning, advises Ian Mausner.

Taking a bath before going to bed can help you to relax as can listening to light music or reading a book. Do not watch TV, play computer games, or use your mobile in the bedroom. Draw the curtains and switch off the light to ensure a dark room.

Wrap-Up

Adult family members need to reassure teenagers that even though the world is in turmoil, they are not alone.

By exercising personal hygiene, practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, and following the advice of the federal and state authorities, they can prevent being infected by the virus.

It is important to keep busy in a structured routine and stay connected with family, relatives, and friends using technology even if personal isolation is required.

>Right nutrition = Strong immunity

>Right nutrition = Strong immunity

Make healthy food choices and eat right to help strengthen your body’s immune system. The main tasks of the body’s immune system are: to fight disease-causing germs (pathogens) like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, and to remove them from the body, and to fight disease-causing changes in the body, such as cancer cells. The way your body fights an infection depends on your overall health. Regular exercise, sufficient sleep, low stress levels and a nutrient rich food helps increase your body’s capability of fighting a disease.

Choose to eat right

Some compounds have properties that help make your immune system strong and help your fight diseases. Here is a list of must-haves in your daily diet:

  • Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants: Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables provide nutrients—like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E—that can boost immune function. Many of the vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based foods are also rich in antioxidants, they help reduce oxidative stress.
  • Beta-Carotene: Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body. Excellent sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables.
  • Vitamin C and E: Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help to destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response. Sources of vitamin C include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, mangoes, lemons, and other fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E sources include nuts, seeds, spinach.
  • Vitamin D: Research shows vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk for viral infections, including respiratory tract infections, by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory compounds in the body. Food sources of vitamin D include fortified cereals and milk and dairy products.
  • Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that can help boost white blood cells, which defend against invaders. Sources include nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beans, and lentils.

Healthy eating tips

  • You may be eating the most nutritious diet but some dietary mistakes can weaken your immune system and have adverse effects on your health. Here are a few guidelines to follow to help preserve your immunity:

    • Avoid eating processed foods
    • Reduce sugar intake
    • Choose plant-based, whole foods
    • Say “No” to alcohol
How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body?

How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body?

Chances are you already know that eating too much sugar isn’t good for you. Yet you’re probably still overdoing it. Americans average about 270 calories of sugar each day, that’s about 17  teaspoons a day, compared to the recommended limits of about 12 teaspoon per day or 200 calories.

Sugary drinks, candy, baked goods, and sweetened dairy are the main sources of added sugar. But even savory foods, like breads, tomato sauce, and protein bars, can have sugar, making it all too easy to end up with a surplus of the sweet stuff. To complicate it further, added sugars can be hard to spot on nutrition labels since they can be listed under a number of names, such as corn syrup, agave nectar, palm sugar, cane juice, or sucrose. (See more names for sugar on the graphic below.)

No matter what it’s called, sugar is sugar, and in excess, it can negatively affect your body in many ways. Here’s a closer look at how sugar can mess with your health, from head to toe.

Your Brain

Eating sugar gives your brain a huge surge of a feel-good chemical called dopamine, which explains why you’re more likely to crave a candy bar at 3 p.m. than an apple or a carrot. Because whole foods like fruits and veggies don’t cause the brain to release as much dopamine, your brain starts to need more and more sugar to get that same feeling of pleasure. This causes those “gotta-have-it” feelings for your after-dinner ice cream that are so hard to tame.

Your Mood

The occasional candy or cookie can give you a quick burst of energy (or “sugar high”) by raising your blood sugar levels fast. When your levels drop as your cells absorb the sugar, you may feel jittery and anxious (a.k.a. the dreaded “sugar crash”). But if you’re reaching into the candy jar too often, sugar starts to have an effect on your mood beyond that 3 p.m. slump: Studies have linked a high sugar intake to a greater risk of depression in adults.

Your Teeth

You probably rolled your eyes at age 12, but your mother was right, candy can rot your teeth. Bacteria that cause cavities love to eat sugar lingering in your mouth after you eat something sweet.

Your Joints

If you have joint pain, here’s more reason to lay off the candy. – eating lots of sweets has been shown to worsen joint pain because of the inflammation they cause in the body. Plus, studies show that sugar consumption can increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Your Skin

Another side effect of inflammation  – it may make your skin age faster.

Excess sugar attaches to proteins in your bloodstream and creates harmful molecules called “AGEs,” or advanced glycation end products. These molecules do exactly what they sound like they do: age your skin. They have been shown to damage collagen and elastin in your skin — protein fibers that keep your skin firm and youthful. The result? Wrinkles and saggy skin.

Your Liver

An abundance of added sugar likely contains fructose or high fructose corn syrup. Fructose is process in the liver and in large amounts can damage the liver. When fructose is broken down in the liver it is transformed into fat. In turn this causes:

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): This is seen as excess fat build-up in the liver.
  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH): is a fatty liver, inflammation and “steatosis,” which is scarring of the liver. Scarring eventually cuts off blood supply to the liver. Many of these develop into cirrhosis and will need a liver transplant.

Your Heart

When you eat excess sugar, the extra insulin in your bloodstream can affect your arteries all over your body. It causes their walls to get inflamed, grow thicker than normal and more stiff, this stresses your heart and damages it over time. This can lead to heart disease, like heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes. Research also suggests that eating less sugar can help lower blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. Plus, people who eat a lot of added sugar (where at least 25% of their calories comes from added sugar) are twice as likely to die of heart disease as those whose diets include less than 10% of total calories from added sugar.

Your Pancreas

When you eat, your pancreas pumps out insulin. But if you’re eating way too much sugar and your body stops responding properly to insulin, your pancreas starts pumping out even more insulin. Eventually, your overworked pancreas will break down and your blood sugar levels will rise, setting you up for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Your Kidneys

If you have diabetes, too much sugar can lead to kidney damage. The kidneys play an important role in filtering your blood. Once blood sugar levels reach a certain amount, the kidneys start to release excess sugar into your urine. If left uncontrolled, diabetes can damage the kidneys, which prevents them from doing their job in filtering out waste in your blood. This can lead to kidney failure.

Your Body Weight

This probably isn’t news to you, but the more sugar you eat, the more you’ll weigh. Research shows that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages tend to weigh more — and be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes — than those who don’t. One study even found that people who increased their sugar intake gained about 1.7 pounds in less than 2 months. Excess amounts of sugar can inflame fat cells causing them to release chemicals that increase weight.