Dietician: Keep your immune system strong, maintain normal diet


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – How to stay healthy is on forefront of a lot of people’s thinking, and when it comes your diet, a Lexington dietician recommends stability.

ABC 36’s Monica Harkins talked with Megan Medrano, a Lexington based a eating disorder dietician about all things food during the coronavirus outbreak.

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The main tip? Stick to what you’d normally eat.

“Our bodies really like consistency. They don’t really like things to change very much, and especially to support our immune system we want things to stay pretty regular,” Medrano said.

This stability includes refraining from dieting.

“I think that food is something that is supposed to enhance our lives,” Medrano said. “It’s supposed to be something that gives us energy.”

So, skipping meals or trying to diet would be discouraged during this time of heightened anxiety.

She also said it’s okay to lean on comfort foods.

“Food is something that can definitely soothe us and give us comfort,” Medrano said. “But just like any coping skill, we don’t want to just have one thing that we’re relying on to get comfort.”

As far as adding in certain foods, or meals, to specifically try to boost your immune system, she says there’s not really a cure-all solution.

“There aren’t any specific foods that can necessarily prevent this virus from occurring or prevent us from getting those things,” she said. “And really, what we want to be focusing on is keeping things normal, not stressing your body out too much.”

A stress like worrying about gaining the “quarantine 15.”

“I’m encouraging people to recognize that if gaining weight is the worst thing that happens to you during this pandemic then you’re actually probably pretty lucky,” Medrano said.

What about snacking? The refrigerator door can seem to open a lot more when we’re working from home.

”Snacking is one of those things I think it’s demonized as a whole,” Medrano said. “Don’t beat yourself up for satisfying your biological needs.”

But, with that, she adds if you find yourself addicted to snacking ask yourself if you’re truly hungry or looking for something to do.


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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or