By Julia MacPhee C.H.N.C., Pn1FitNutrition Consulting, www.fitnutrition.ca

 

Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown. So, it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Added to the fear of contracting the virus in a pandemic such as COVID-19 are the significant changes to our daily lives as our movements are restricted in support of efforts to contain and slow down the spread of the virus. Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, it is important to look after our mental, as well as our physical, health.

How do I support my body and mind during uncertain times?

Here are a few nutrients to include in your diet to support your mood, and general mental wellbeing:

Omega 3 fats

Your brain is 60% fat. And 25% of this fat are the omega-3s EPA and DHA.

EPA + DHA are found fish, such as:

  • Wild salmon
  • Sardine
  • Black cod
  • Trout
  • Anchovy
  • Mackerel

Plant-based options of Omega 3 include:

  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Flaxseeds (ground)
  • Pumpkin seeds

B vitamins

The B vitamins are very important for the brain and mental health.

Sources of B vitamins:

  • Leafy greens-spinach, kale, swiss chard
  • Most of Fruits and Vegetables contain some amounts of B vitamins
  • Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs, algae, and other sea vegetables

Vitamin D

Science shows that adequate levels of Vitamin D help with signs of depression and support our mental function.

Rich sources of Vitamin D are:

  • Fatty fish
  • Eggs
  • Organ meats- Liver
  • Butter
  • Dairy- if tolerated.

Plant-Based sources of Vitamin D.

  • Mushrooms
  • Sea vegetables

Magnesium

Magnesium is involved in over 500 functions in the body, but most importantly it is known for it’s muscle relaxing and anti-anxiety properties.

Magnesium found in plant based foods rich in chlorophyll- the green part of the plant. Therefore, plants rich in green color are a great source of Magnesium, as are Chlorophyll supplements.

Your best foods for Magnesium

  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Red, orange, yellow vegetables
  • Algae
  • Fruit (Figs, Avocado, Banana, Rasperries)

Magnesium is also found in:

  • Quinoa
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans

Probiotics

Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in the gut does not stay in the gut. Our gut health influences our brain. The healthier the gut flora, the happier we are. Therefore, supporting gut health with the right foods is very important:

Probiotic rich foods :

  • Yogurt
  • Kombucha
  • Raw sauerkraut
  • Kefir
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi
  • Real sourdough bread

Build a support team.

In addition to supporting your body and mind with the right nutrients, it is important to remind yourself that there is help available. Our brain is an organ and a part of our body, just like your arm or leg or the heart. Just like there is no shame in seeking medical advice when we experience physical illness, there is no shame in seeing your medical professional for emotional and metal struggle. Mental struggle is real and not a made-up story. And REAL is never perfect, just like perfect is not REAL.

Find a support group of like-minded people to support each other through these difficult times. Talk and share instead of suppressing your feelings and denying that they exist. Just like as spring- the more you push it down the more forcefully it will rebound when you expect it the least.

Additional help and answers can be found at https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/default.aspx

Stay healthy, stay happy.