Marco Borges

Is This the COVID Advice Our Doctors Should Be Giving Us?

Marco Borges raises questions about the advice he HASN’T been hearing during the coronavirus pandemic

‘Every time we eat, we have an opportunity to either move towards health or move further away from it. The decision is ours.’

Marco Borges pulled no punches when we spoke with him in May as part of SHINEfest 2020. As an exercise physiologist and founder of 22 Days Nutrition, Marco has deep knowledge and expertise that he’s put into practice helping his friends and community – including Beyonce and Jay-Z – get healthier, get fit and lose weight. 

And if it’s good enough for Beyonce…

Beyonce, Instagram

It was a conversation that stuck with us, particularly when he started to talk about the advice he wasn’t hearing during the COVID lockdown. 

‘Not once during this coronavirus pandemic have I heard someone say, sit by a window in your house and get some sun because vitamin D is good for you. It’s going to prevent depression – it’s the feel-good hormone. It can prevent many cancers, it is something that is going to make you feel full of life. How about taking some vitamin D? 

‘How about eating some citrus fruits to take some natural vitamin C, because our bodies don’t produce vitamin C, we have to get it from our food.

‘I haven’t heard anything about taking natural supplements, I haven’t heard anything about taking some flex seed for omega-3. I haven’t heard anything about reducing your risk for morbidity by bringing down those comorbidity factors. We found out over the past few months that those most affected by the coronavirus are those that are morbidly obese, those that have underlying health conditions. So why not start to help our societies by encouraging them to move in the direction of better health?’

Marco Borges
Marco Borges, 22 Days Nutrition

We thought these were brilliant questions….

So we’ve rounded up some suggestions from 22 Days Nutrition to improve your physical health and mental wellbeing. 

Switch to a plant-based diet

‘A plant-based diet contains all of the essential macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals you need to fuel your body, making it a healthy, nutritious lifestyle. But the benefits of a plant-based diet extend beyond health – plant-based diets also tend to be less expensive and better for the environment than a traditional diet heavy in animal products. Adopting a plant-based lifestyle can also help to change your relationship to food – relying less on unhealthy processed foods to sate your cravings, and instead shifting your attention to healthy whole foods that nourish your body.’

Get the right nutrients through food or supplements

‘Flooding your body with nutrients to carry out and purge toxins will help you feel cleaner on the inside, and glowing on the outside.’ 

Vitamin C: The ‘most commonly known vitamins for immune support’; take it in a supplement or eat more kale, oranges and strawberries

Zinc: Pumpkin seeds, blue-green algae and chlorella all give you a hit of zinc which ‘assists in the development and function of cells responsible for immunity’

Mushroom powder: Whether in food form or in powder that you add to a smoothie, reshi mushrooms help the body produce white blood cells – ‘our body’s front line defence against outside invaders’

Dandelion: Brilliant for detoxing, ’this plant has the amazing ability to support your liver, kidneys and digestive system in their elimination of toxins’

Broccoli: Broccoli provides the detoxifying organs of our bodies with compounds that aid in their abilities to keep us clean and healthy.  

Omega-3: Chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts are all ingredients high in omega-3 which ‘feed your brain, fight depression and anxiety and support heart and eye health’

Reduce the amount of sugar you eat

‘The consumption of refined sugar suppresses the immune system. Stick to whole fruits and recipes that use whole fruits to sweeten dishes. Do your best to keep refined sugar intake as low as possible, especially during times of pandemic, when traveling and during flu seasons.’

Reduce your stress

‘Stress is another immune suppressor that can be harder to tackle at times. No one wants to stress, but we must seek to avoid it in our efforts to improve the condition and quality of our lives. Try to set time aside each day for exercise, meditation, or even a simple walk through the neighbourhood. Any of these things will help!’

Mother and daughter practicing meditation

Drink plenty of water

‘Average adults should consume eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 litres, or half a gallon. Water helps to carry oxygen to your body’s cells, which results in properly functioning systems. It also works in removing toxins from the body, so drinking more of it could help prevent toxins from building up and harming your immune system. Water = life!’

Don’t forget to stand up if you’re working from home!

‘Working from a consistently seated position is now considered the new smoking. What does this mean? Sitting day in and day out for extended periods is bad for your cardiovascular system. Any reason to sit down is typically welcomed by most people who have not yet realised the serious implications of doing this for 42+ hours a week. Now you may be thinking, do you really expect me to invest so much of this hard-earned money into one of those fancy standing desks? The short answer is absolutely not! We encourage you to get creative with the way you bring your computer to standing eye level, every home has the items necessary!  

Spend time outdoors in nature

The mental health charity Mind says: ‘Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing.’ It can help calm anxiety and reduce depression, it can help reduce the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and it can boost confidence and foster connections with other people.

People having a picnic in the park

Get enough sleep

We all know 7-8 hours of sleep every night is ideal. To help get the most out of your sleep – regardless of how long it is – try these tips from Healthline:

  • Reduce exposure to blue light (smartphones, tablets, tvs) 2 hours before heading to bed
  • Reduce your caffeine intake, especially after 3pm
  • Take a melatonin supplement or try ginkgo biloba, glycine, valerian root, magnesium, L-theanine or lavender
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink before bed
  • Set your room temperature to around 20C (70F) for optimal sleep

The COVID-19 pandemic has us all thinking about health more than we normally might. And Marco hopes that during this time at home we’ve used this opportunity to re-evaluate some of our habits. 

‘A lot of good can come from this. You can choose one of two things: You can come out of this enlightened, renewed with a new sense of purpose, passion and drive for your life. Or you can sit there, throw your arms up and feel powerless.’

If you’re ready to develop a healthier lifestyle and improve your physical and mental wellbeing, why not check out 22 Days Nutrition? We’re huge fans.

And as Marco says, ‘Every day is a new opportunity to live the life you want!’

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