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How the lockdown could bring a 'silver lining' for your health - more than just by staying safe from infection

Families finding themselves cooped up indoors in response to coronavirus could find a ‘silver lining’ in the opportunity to improve their diet.

By James Harrison
Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 9:13 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 2:54 pm

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Many households have had to rip up their usual dining plans following limited access to supermarkets and bare shelves due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

But experts also say the restrictions offer a chance to make lifestyle changes, such as reducing salt intake and increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables.

“Really get to grips with a healthy balanced diet, that is key,” said Linia Patel, a dietitian and sports nutritionist and spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association (BDA).

Linia Patel, dietitian and British Dietetic Association (BDA) spokeswoman

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“There is a silver lining to this and that is nutrition, people are at home and maybe have a bit more time to do some scratch cooking.

“They can try recipes, the food will come with less salt and you can add more vegetables – focus on vegetables and fruit.”

While more home cooking would be an ideal for many households, some may be daunted by the prospect of rows or empty or sparsely stacked shelves when they can make it out to shop.

But Patel recommends flexibility and urges families to take advantage of alternatives to fresh food which can still provide plenty of nutrition.

She added: “With people buying so much you may not be able to find what you want, but you can still get things frozen or in tins or jars.

“Get a variety, but don’t panic if you can’t find the one thing you really want, be resourceful.”

The BDA has also urged local authorities and health and social care providers to ensure the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable are being met.

A BDA spokesman said: “It is important that councils keep pushing the message that although no food or supplement can stop you catching coronavirus, good nutrition and hydration aids the normal functioning of the immune system and that people who are nutritionally well will cope better if they do catch Covid-19.

“Older people and those vulnerable people in isolation are at higher risk of malnutrition so councils as public health bodies and social care providers need to be considering that and providing communications and support.”

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