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 In HearSway

Of course we loaded up our cart with 5 cartons of extra cheesy Goldfish crackers. What else are we supposed to do while trapped indoors all day?

We asked FirstHealth dietitian Ashley Carpenter for some tips.

1. Tell me how not to eat everything in my pantry.

  1. Keep your nemeses out of the house. While this is true 24/7/365, never is it truer than when you are home all day with the siren song of Cheetos calling to you from the pantry. If you have loaded your own personal kryptonite snacks, you have set yourself up for a major snaccident. Whatever it is that you cannot be trusted with … maybe don’t buy that thing right now.
  2. Keep your hands busy: Boredom one of the top reasons for snacking too much, so any project that keeps your hands and mind busy is a good deterrent. Busy hands cannot shovel Girl Scout cookies into your mouth.
  3. Keep your body busy: Try an activity break if you are feeling too tempted. Take the dog for a walk or the kids for a bike ride.

2. Is there anything I should be eating to boost my immune system?

What you eat does play a role in your ability to ward off illness. Though it doesn’t boil down to just one or two foods, the nutrients and other compounds found in your daily diet have an impact on how weak or strong your immunity is. Here are some eating habits that can help you stay healthy:

  • Eat fruits & vegetables every day: Produce contains key vitamins involved in the immune system.
    • Vitamin C in foods like strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, and citrus helps immune system cells function, including phagocytes (the kind that engulfs potentially harmful particles).
    • Vitamin A helps keep tissues in the mouth, intestines, and respiratory tract healthy and is found in sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, and cantaloupe. Remember that eating the actual fruit or veggie is better than popping single-vitamin supplements since it’s likely that all the components in the food interact to offer protection.
  • Season your meals: Every plant food has its own unique compounds that offer potential health-boosting benefits.
    • Spices and seasonings like garlic, ginger, oregano, and cinnamon have all been researched for intriguing capabilities as anti-microbials, anti-inflammatories, and cell-protecting antioxidants. They’re not magic cure-alls, and popping them in the form of pills isn’t the same as eating the real deal. But adding flavor to foods with these ingredients means you’re getting even more beneficial compounds in the meals you eat every day.

3. Anything that I shouldn’t be eating (or drinking)?

Sweetened beverages, junk food, and alcohol are not particularly helpful. Sorry! YOLO, but with moderation.

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