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Food is Medicine: Healthy Eating in Quarantine

For thousands of years, food has been the best remedy for a variety of complications. Even now, we continue to see evidence that a healthy diet is absolutely instrumental in long term health. Studies have shown that various vitamins and minerals found in leafy vegetables and fruits can improve immunity against respiratory infections. This is especially relevant nowadays, given the outbreak of SARS-COV-2, the causative agent for COVID-19.

Luckily, there are easy steps that people can do right now to help themselves:

  1. Plating - Generally, a meal should be 33% of carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables. Dividing your plate into thirds and judging by size is a quick and easy method to ensure you are gaining essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and variety.

  2. Eating more fruit and vegetables - Studies continue to show vegetable consumption is associated with boosted immune function.

  3. Choosing whole grains over refined grains and simple carbs - Whole grains inherently contain more minerals as they are not processed to the same degree. These are generally low on the glycemic index and indirectly help with weight loss, calorically speaking as they are slow to digest but quick to satiate.

  4. Cut “empty calories” - It’s quite easy to be bored and go for a quick snack, but being mindful of what type of calories you are eating is very important. Empty calorie foods include those high in fat (especially saturated fats), low in nutritional value (potato chips, french fries) or high in added sugars (sodas, most fruit drinks, most coffees, etc.) Empty calories can sabotage weight loss and most certainly increase the likelihood of vitamin/mineral deficiencies.

  5. Drink Water - Most college students should aim for a minimum of eight cups daily. Keep a water bottle nearby and refill it often.


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©2020 by Student Health Advisory Board University of Pittsburgh.