EAT YOUR WAY TO WINTER WELLNESS
Stay healthy this winter by boosting your immunity through the foods you eat.
EAT PLENTY OF SEASONAL FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Make sure you eat an abundance of colourful and leafy green vegetables, as well as fruit that is packed with Vitamin C. Local, fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables have high nutritional values, much more than produce that has been picked early and stored. You may have to be creative with what the winter season offers in your area; instead of green salads, make coleslaw with cabbage or celeriac, adding kale, sprouts or different dressings to change it up.
CHOOSE FOODS THAT PROVIDE NOURISHMENT
Vitamin C boosts the immunity and reduces the length of illness. Find it in winter citrus, kiwifruit, dark leafy greens including parsley and cilantro, along with broccoli and cauliflower. And don’t forget our favourite superfoods: cacao and blackcurrants, both offer a good serving of Vitamin C.
Zinc is an unsung hero when it comes to fighting colds or even preventing them. It can be found in pumpkin seeds, garlic, sesame seeds (including tahini), legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, chickpeas, cacao, oysters and red meat.
Vitamin B6 supports the immune system and is found in blackcurrants, garlic, bananas, beans, spinach, avocado, eggs, whole grains, cauliflower, potato, meats and poultry.
PROBIOTICS – EAT YOUR BUGS
Our guts are filled with billions of micro-organisms and bacteria. The digestive system relies on a natural balance of these ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria to function properly, which directly relates to a strong immune system. Some say 80% of the immune system is located in the intestines! When these friendly bacteria are depleted, harmful bacteria can take over, disrupting overall health. Such things as a poor diet rich in acidic foods, antibiotics or stress can reduce the “good bugs”. Probiotics are the ‘friendly bacteria’ or ‘good bugs’ that keep your gut in a healthy balance and therefore are essential as part of your diet. Fermented foods are particularly rich in probiotics, such as: kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, as well as tempeh, miso, and soy sauce.
EAT MORE GARLIC AND ONIONS
Besides being rich in antioxidants and selenium, garlic is a natural antibiotic, has antibacterial and antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system. Both garlic and onions are part of the Allium family, containing sulphur rich compounds that support health and wellbeing.
MAINTAIN A PROPER BALANCE OF EFA’S
Essential Fatty Acids are another building block to a strong immune system. They are essential in our diets, as the body does not make them. For optimum health Omega 3 and Omega 6 need to be in balance. Most people consume plenty, if not too much, Omega 6, which is found in vegetable oils, processed foods, and animal fat. Therefore, to meet a healthy balance, we need to increase our Omega 3 intake. Omega 3 can be found in: dark leafy greens, hemp oil, cold water fish oil, walnuts, chia seeds or oil and sachi inchi seed or powder.
Ease up on pastries, pies, fizzy drinks and the like. A few grams of sugar can destroy your white blood cell’s ability to resist infections for several hours.
GET OUTSIDE, GET MOVING AND FIND GRATITUDE
Exercise boosts the immune system and helps the lymph system cleanse impurities. Getting outside for a brisk walk a few times a week is one of the best remedies for staying healthy this winter. Plus the negative ions in the fresh ocean air boost your mood. It’s also a great time to say 10 things your grateful for. It’s amazing how regular gratitude increases overall wellbeing. Your skin also needs to be exposed to the sun to create vitamin D, which is essential for good health and fighting off colds and flus.
TAKE TIME FOR A CUPPA
In saying that, slowing down, getting some rest and revitalising is also important in the winter, so keep a healthy balance of activity. It’s an ideal time to snuggle in, grab a book and enjoy a cup of tea. Lemongrass and ginger are both known for their warming properties. Chai is filled with spices that warm your system and support digestion. Or try Chantal’s Kiwi Currant Sipper… a health tonic to boost your immune system. (recipe on the back page)