Winter is hot on our tail and if history is any record it brings with it a nasty cold and flu season which requiring an immune boost!
Prepare yourself for a fit and healthy winter with the following hot tips from Nutritionist Danielle Catherine.
Get some C in your diet
I know it seems like a no brainer, as much of the marketing around for many years has pushed vitamin C for reducing the duration of colds. But the humble C really is an all-round immune support, largely pertaining to its an antioxidant capability.
Food should always be medicine, so although a vitamin C supplement may give you an additional boost, nothing beats the real thing. Choose two or more of your favourites of the following and include them at each meal or as part of your 5 and 2 (five vege, 2 fruit).
Fruit rich in vitamin C and in season for winter:
Avocado (yes it is a fruit), kiwi fruit, orange, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, lime
Vegetables rich in vitamin C and in season for winter:
Broccoli, broccolini, beetroot, carrot, brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, kale, capsicum, chilli, cauliflower, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, leek,
Herbs high in vitamin C:
Ginger, garlic, coriander, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, turmeric.
All of these delightful seasonals offer vitamin C but also, much much more in the way of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Warm your insides Soups & Bone Broths
We all reach for something warm and comforting during the colder months. Soups and bone broths are fantastically nutritive when made at home and satisfy that warm hug from food which we grave. Soups and bone broths are not only nourishing but are a low-calorie/kilojoule option to keep down that additional winter coat we find ourselves hiding under our baggy jumpers and trackies.
The other benefit of soups and bone broths is that they are easy, convenient and you can have a large variety to tantalise your tastebuds. With a large crock pot, slow cook a large bone broth ready for the week and store it in the freezer in portioned containers.
You can do the same with soups, throw in the above-mentioned vegetables. You could even roast some up to add into the blender with the rest of the vegetables after for additional flavour.
Roasted pumpkin, sweetpotato, garlic and capsicum work a treat when roasted. Add a metabolism booster with a touch of chilli and you are set to clear the sinuses, kick the immune system into gear and for a satisfying easy meal.
Cook with garlic, onion and chilli
Apart from great vitamin C content, garlic, onion and chilli or cayenne pepper are all active immune stimulants. They all contain anti-inflammatory and circulatory properties to ensure immune cells are where they need to be.
Garlic and onion or anti-viral and anti-bacterial helping to destroy cold and flu processes.
Onion contains an anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine enzyme called quercetin. This enzyme is great at breaking down mucus and reducing sinusitis.
Chilli or cayenne is rich in antioxidants and is efficient at stimulating immune cells to function as they should. It helps to remove toxins from the body by enhancing circulation and promoting sweating.
Every heard the saying- “Sweat it Out”?
Herbal teas are not just delish, but they can boast some ailment appropriate benefits. There is a tea for almost any condition you can think of!
Turmeric lattes are satisfying winter warmers that will reduce inflammation.
Pure hot chocolates (using cacao and not refined sugars) will offer a lovely magnesium hit
Herbal teas that are immune supporting and cold relieving will include: echinacea, lemon, honey, ginger, liquorice, cinnamon, elderberry, lemongrass, mullein, rosehip and yarrow.
Rug Up- Stay Cozy
Staying warm and cozy is a must in winter. Wear a scarf, temperature appropriate jumper and some nice warm long pants.
Power your immune system and quash your hunger with PROTEIN
Soups are wonderful and often filling enough on their own. However, protein will add an additional element to the soup or broth that will satisfy you for hours after you have finished your meal. Not only that, but proteins, with their amino acids are an essential building block to almost every function in our body, including our immune function.
Only clean lean proteins should be included into the diet for optimal benefits. Some clean lean proteins you might like to include could include:
Eggs, chicken breast, kangaroo, fish, turkey (not processed deli meats), extra lean beef, extra lean lamb.
Other great benefits of protein sources are that they often come with substantial iron, B12 and B6 levels. All of which play an important role in building up our blood and immune cells.
Rest and Recover – Get adequate ZZZZZZZs
Getting enough shut eye can go a long way in ensuring our body is performing at its best. Protein also assists us in our rest and recovery, meaning we can sleep sounder while allowing the body to undertake its repair duties. Our immune system relies heavily on this rest and immune supporting repair processes, therefore, depending on your age, it is important to get an average of between 6-8 hours quality sleep each night.
Alcohol is an incredible immune depressant. Research has shown that the immune deficiency caused by alcohol can make people susceptible to illnesses such as pneumonia, systemic inflammation, aggravation on allergies and sinuses, inefficient detoxification such as through the liver, reduced immune responses to viral infections. It is also well recognised that alcohol impacts on a personal quality of sleep. While it might be easier to fall asleep after having a few, your body will not enjoy a long quality sleep as it struggles to achieve an efficient REM cycle.
Reduce your winter drop to one standard drink 2-3 times per week, aim for weekends, or not at all.
Restore your healthy gut friends
Probiotics and a healthy gut flora are currently hot topics for supplement and food companies. While it may seem like a big hype or fad, there is very real evidence supporting the benefits of optimal gut and systemic healthy bacteria. Your immune system is one of the most important areas of function for these little friends.
Healthy bacteria provide us with:
– A force against nasty bacterial, viruses and pathogens
– They assist us in reducing inflammation
– Digesting and absorbing food
– They promote healthy skin and prevent conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis
– and; they support toxic waste elimination
All of which are pivotal in healthy immune regulation.
Along with a quality probiotic recommended by your nutrition health professional, include gut loving foods into your diet, including: raw, natural yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, kim chi, kefir.
If you feel as though your immune system needs some additional TLC it may be time to book with a nutrition professional for comprehensive support and advice Call Now.