While we are forced to stay at home it is important we receive the necessary nutrients to protect the body against viruses and especially the coronavirus, clinical dietitian Elena Solomou said on Thursday.

Our diet should be low in calories however, as we are not moving around a lot, she added.

As we may perceive the current situation as stressful, people should keep in mind that stress can lead to overeating and eating more sweets.

“It is now scientifically accepted that by eating, a certain area of the brain is activated which releases chemicals producing a sense of joy and satisfaction,” Solomou said.

She warned that this ultimately causes weight gain and as a result the person will have negative feelings of guilt and mood swings.

The dietician explained how people can protect their bodies by consuming nutrients.

Vitamin A provides protection against infections and is necessary to maintain the health of the respiratory system, and skin vitamin E has a strong antioxidant effect by neutralising free radicals and further enhancing immune function.

Proteins are essential nutrients and a major component of the immune system and zinc contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system and to the process of wound healing. Sources rich in zinc are dairy products, seafood, whole grains, pulses and poultry.

Caffeine in moderation acts as a stimulant and helps to improve our mental ability and reduces the feeling of fatigue. Whole grain carbohydrates induce relaxation and stress relief, while vitamin D increases serotonin levels, thereby improving mood. There is also a strong correlation between omega 3 fatty acids, contained in fatty fish such as salmon and in seeds and nuts, and mood improvement.

Alongside eating healthy food, Solomou recommends that we increase our physical activity by gardening and cleaning the house.

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