Making Nutrition a Priority During the Pandemic

As a result of the global pandemic, there is an amplified impact on over and under nutrition in different regions, depending on factors such as confinement mandates and food access. A healthy diet is one key aspect of a healthy immune system, and the Ajinomoto Group continues to offer products and initiatives that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Ana San Gabriel, an Associate General Manager of the Global Communications Department, Science Group at the Ajinomoto Group, provides four strategies to help support overall wellness during this time.

1. Eat a Healthy Diet

Enjoying a range of nutritious foods and well-balanced meals is the best way to get all the nutrients that are important for the immune system and overall health. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, and nutritious sources of protein, such as seafood and legumes, while lowering intake of salt and added sugars, may help to reduce inflammation and support overall health. Inflammation can be caused by several things, whether it’s sore muscles after a strenuous workout, a chronic disease or illness. Inflammation can be harmful to the body, but nutritious dietary choices can help lessen this impact.[1] [2] For healthy meal inspiration, read more here.

2. Get Adequate and Restful Sleep

Maintaining a healthy sleep pattern is critical to overall health. While it is essential to get enough hours of sleep, the quality of sleep is also important. Getting adequate sleep helps the body better defend itself when it comes to infections and illness. Whereas poor sleep quality may be associated with increased inflammation and even some chronic diseases like diabetes, atherosclerosis and neurodegeneration.[3] Research by the Ajinomoto Group has shown that the amino acid glycine, taken before bedtime, helps the body reach deep sleep more quickly. Read more here.

3. Exercise Regularly

Physical activity and movement is always important, but especially during times of social isolation and an ongoing pandemic. Exercise supports the immune system, cognitive health and the health of the muscles. Not getting adequate exercise can be associated with conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer.[4] [5] Maintaining muscle mass through physical activity and optimal protein intake is particularly important for older adults. Read more here.

4. Reduce Stress

There are many factors that contribute to stress, such as personal relationships, job situations, financial problems, societal issues and more. This is especially heightened during a pandemic. Self-care is more important than ever to reduce stress and support mental health and overall wellness. The World Health Organization (WHO) has shared tips on self-care, which include eating healthy, well-balanced meals.[6] Taking time to prepare a healthy meal for yourself and your family is just one way to help with managing stress. For healthy meal inspiration, click here.

There is no one solution to preventing or treating illnesses. However, these are four important steps that can be taken to support the immune system and overall wellness as well as help protect others.

Find out more:

  1. Cavicchia PP, Steck SE, Hurley TG, et al. A new dietary inflammatory index predicts interval changes in serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. J Nutr. 2009;139(12):2365‐2372. doi:10.3945/jn.109.114025

  2. Kanauchi M, Shibata M, Iwamura M. A novel dietary inflammatory index reflecting for inflammatory ageing: Technical note. Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2019;47:44‐46. Published 2019 Sep 27. doi:10.1016/j.amsu.2019.09.012

  3. Besedovsky L, Lange T, Haack M. The Sleep-Immune Crosstalk in Health and Disease. Physiol Rev. 2019;99(3):1325‐1380. doi:10.1152/physrev.00010.2018

  4. Pedersen BK, Akerström TC, Nielsen AR, Fischer CP. Role of myokines in exercise and metabolism. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2007;103(3):1093‐1098. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00080.2007

  5. Pedersen BK. Muscles and their myokines. J Exp Biol. 2011;214(Pt 2):337‐346. doi:10.1242/jeb.048074

  6. World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (‎2014)‎. Self care for health. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/205887

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