The Winter Warm Up: Boost Your Immune System This Winter

immune boosting foods

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”?

Tea Time!

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.

Avoid alcohol

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.

Sweet Gold – Sweet Potato

Sweet potato fries

Sweet Gold – Sweet Potato

Household favourite, sweet potato is more than just a delicious addition to any meal or sweet treat. The golden root vegetable holds an abundance of phytonutrients. From its skin, deep into its sweet flesh.

It holds the phytochemical antioxidant anthocyanin within its skin, responsible for its ability to reduce oxidative damage and increase the absorption of the all-important vitamin A.  Prevention of oxidative damage has been shown to reduce carcinogenic activities, inflammation and fight fatigue.

There has also been research demonstrating great promise in its ability to address alcoholic fatty liver and cholesterol induced atherosclerosis, what a powerhouse!

Sweet potato around the world

In Asian countries such as Japan, sweet potatoes are praised for their benefits in the treatment of diabetes and some cancers. Sweet potatoes have also been used in some countries to encourage weight loss and in support of hormonal replacement therapies, awarding to the vegetables phytoestrogen content.

What have we learnt?

Sweet potato is utilised around the world as a dietary support for:

What else is sweet potato good for?

  • The bright golden/orange colour of the humble sweet potato gives us clues as to its high antioxidant content, specifically beta-carotene. Antioxidants are essential for the healthy function of almost every system in our body, including the repair of new skin cells for a beautiful, glowing complexion.
  • The skins and flesh of sweet potatoes are also fantastic sources of fibre and complex carbohydrates which help to sustain energy, keep us feeling fuller for longer and regulate bowel motions.
  • Apart from vitamin A, sweet potatoes are rich in other vitamins and minerals that sustain our energy levels ensure a healthy nervous system.

A versatile gift from nature

Sweet potatoes can be prepared and enjoyed in many ways. Its versatility lends itself to both sweet and savoury meals.

Some examples include:

Sweet potato savoury muffins

Vegetable Lasagne (layer baked sweet potato in place of pasta)

Sweet potato brownies

Sweet potato fish cakes

Vegetable burger patties

Baked sweet potato chips or wedges

Warming sweet potato soups

Stuffed sweet potato

Sweet potato bubble and squeak mini hash browns  

Goss on Detox – Is it for you?

The Goss on Detox

Fatigue, Bowel Irritation, Bloating, Gas, Food Sensitives, Tummy Cramps

Bad Breath, Allergies, Abdominal Pain, Excess Fluid, Eczema, Dermatitis

Do any of these sound like you?

A detox may be your key to ridding these uncomfortable bodily ailments.

First of all.. what are toxins? 

Toxins are poisonous substances produced by almost everything we come into contact with…

The Importance of Detoxing

Our body has an amazing natural ability to process and eliminate toxins within itself. These toxins can come from a range of environmental sources, such as, breathing in chemicals, pollution, heavy metals, harmful cosmetic products, alcohol, parasites, food and medications. Toxins may also be the result of natural chemical reactions within our body- that is right, we produce our own toxic materials.

When we are exposed excessively to environmental toxins, our body struggles and is unable to keep up with the processing and eliminating. Much like when a machine is over worked, it either stops output altogether or slows down to become inefficient.

What do we do to encourage detoxification?

To counteract this breakdown, we need a steady balance of dietary:

  • antioxidants -specifically zinc, copper, vitamin C, glutathione
  • nutrients – such as amino acids, vitamins B
  • minerals magnesium and iron

These dietary inclusions with help to nurture our detoxifying organs.

The main organs of detoxification being the liver, kidneys, skin and lungs.

*note- everyone’s requirements for the mentions vitamins and minerals vary as each person is unique. If the diet holds variety and nutritional substance, additional intakes of these may not be necessary.

Other non-nutritive detoxing aids may be:

  • Intermittent fasting – fasting allows the digestive system to catch a break and work on waste elimination.
  • Exercise – sweat is not only a strategy to cool our body down but it releases toxins through our skin. Exercise also helps to circulate toxins to the appropriate organs for effective detoxification.

What could the consequences be if we don’t assist our body to detox?

Without these dietary supports we may develop consequential:

  • gastrointestinal problems
  • chronic fatigue
  • aches and pains
  • skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis)
  • weight gain
  • immune breakdown
  • mood disorders (depression, anxiety, irritability, rage)
  • learning and behavioural issues
  • neurodegenerative disorders
  • neurological complaints
  • poor cardiovascular health
  • fatty liver
  • hormonal dysregulation
  • fibromyalgia
  • triggering of autoimmune conditions

How do our organs detox?

Our skin sweats out toxic materials, sheds, causes other eruptions to pushes them out through pimples and acne – ever had a breakout after a big night or wondered why we sweat with fever?

Our kidneys send toxins our through our urine – this is one reason it is vital to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

The liver processes materials and excretes through the urine, skin and faeces. It is our most important organ of detoxification as almost everything we eat, drink, inhale and put on our body is sent through our liver.

Our lungs send out Co2 gases from our blood and lungs.

The digestive tract eliminates toxic foods by promoting vomiting, diarrhoea or normal bowel motions.

Because our body relies on us to get arm it with the appropriate tools for effective detoxification it is important to ensure we are consuming sufficient amounts of healthy fats, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and fibre to enhance and optimise its detoxing functions. Some great detoxing and antioxidant foods include:

  • asparagus
  • fresh beetroot
  • granny smith apples
  • ginger
  • turmeric
  • green leafy vegetables
  • lemons, grapefruit
  • garlic
  • green tea
  • capsicum
  • cucumber
  • broccoli sprouts
  • nuts and seeds

Include these into your daily routine and watch the magic happen!

Gut Health: Our Gut and Brain Talk to Each Other

Our Gut and Brain Talk to Each Other

Our gut and brain are more connected than we think

Nutritionists, Naturopaths and Psychologists alike are discovering the power of what is now called the gut-brain axis and the role our gut health plays in mental health.

Did you know we host an entire nervous system in our gut?

Even more fascinating is that this nervous system sends signals to our brain and the brain responds, sending signals and messages back to the gut!

This means, under times of high stress, our gut health can often suffer the consequences, presenting as:

  • IBS, gas, bloating, constipation
  • Weight gain, weight loss
  • increased or decreased appetites
  • blood sugar spikes and dips
  • even vomiting and diarrhoea

Similarly, when we stress our gut by:

  • putting the wrong foods in
  • contract a parasite
  • drink alcohol
  • take excesses of medications
  • cause alterations to our protective healthy gut bacteria

Our gut signals these stress messages to the brain and it responds by sending unpleasant chemical reactions around the body, often resulting in:

  • anxiety, depression, irritability
  • aches and pains
  • sleeplessness
  • hormonal alterations
  • blood sugar dysregulations such as hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar)
  • and more.

To protect ourselves from these resulting complications, we require a diet high in:

  • prebiotic fibres
  • balanced protein and low GI carbohydrates
  • minimal saturated fats
  • generous amounts of essential fatty acids (healthy fats)
  • minimising alcoholic beverages and non-prescription medications

These will all greatly reduce gut-brain axis complications from impacting on our quality of life, leaving us to live a healthy happy life!

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

Endometriosis

March is

Endometriosis Awareness Month

Endometriosis: It is more common than you think

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue (the tissue normally inside of the uterus) in places outside of the uterus. 

How many women are affected?

This female menstrual condition affects one in ten women worldwide and has no medically recognised cure or prevention.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms that endometriosis sufferers experience include:

          Painful, cramping periods

          Heavy periods

          Irregular cycles

          Bloating

          Fatigue

          Anxiety/Depression

          Painful sexual intercourse

          Pain and cramping during bowel movements and/or urination

          30-40% of women with Endometriosis have trouble conceiving

          Lower abdominal and lower back pain

          Diarrhoea/constipation

          Low iron levels/anaemia

          Bloody urine during menstruation

An every day struggle

Endometriosis affects the lives of those who suffer dramatically, in all aspects of life. Imagine living day in day out with fatigue, anxiety or depression, anxiety over the anticipation of having painful sexual intercourse with your partner, the stress of infertility or troubled conception, alternating between diarrhoea and constipation and living through the weakening pain.

What supports are available?

Because many of the complaints of endometriosis are linked with hormonal patterns and inflammation, some nutritional treatments may prove effective in treating and lessening symptoms of the warriors who suffer with this debilitating condition.

Endometriosis month was created to generate awareness for the warriors of the condition and strive for more research into its future treatment. Support groups are available to all the strong women living every day with Endometriosis. Fight like a woman ladies!

Keto Buzz: What is it all about?

The Keto Buzz

The buzz word in the diet realm currently seems to ring ‘Keto’. There are so many FAD diets around and so many that have come and gone over the many years that people have been ‘weight’ conscious. Most diets have their pros and cons and it is evident ‘diet’ is not a one size fits all protocol and the ‘Keto diet’ is no exception.

So, what is it?

There are several forms of the ketogenic diet geared towards different people including: Standard ketogenic diet: Very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat. Cyclical ketogenic diet: Phases of higher-carb reloads with majority ketogenic days (5:2). Targeted ketogenic diet: Carbs are consumed around workout times. High-protein ketogenic diet: The standard Keto diet with additional protein.

The most common however, is the standard very low-carb, high fat concept, where protein is left at a moderate intake. The diet is time consuming and leaves people open to obsessing over their ‘macros’. Counting total carbohydrate intake is the aim of the game. You can see how this may become problematic for those with eating disorders or addictive behaviours.

The goal is less than 50g of net (total minus fibre) carbs per day. In doing this, you are working towards the primary target of regearing where energy is derived from. Therefore, as glucose is our main energy source on a normal diet, our bodies will begin to utilise or create other energy sources, ‘ketones’ which are produced in the liver from the breakdown of fatty acids, essentially accelerating fat metabolism and weightloss.

Possible Benefits

– Ketosis has beneficial effects on blood sugar and may, benefit ‘some’ of the diabetic community along with other related blood sugar dysregulation conditions.

– It has been shown to benefit some with neurological disorders (epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s).

– It has shown benefits in sustaining healthy blood lipid levels for cholesterol control (when the correct fats are also consumed)

– Supports happy hormone levels and other hormonal related conditions

– Effective for some who wish to lose weight, if done properly.

On the flipside if poorly executed or with a lack of professional guidance, nutritional deficiencies can arise, hypoglycaemia may present, a temporary energy loss may leave one unable to live a normal life and too much weightloss may present.

What I suggest… Do lots of reading and research before you jump into any diet regime and seek the guidance of an extensively trained professional who can educate, support, guide and monitor your health.

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