Winter Wellness Tips Winter Wellness Tips - Nutrition EAT WELL & IN SEASON It’s important to maintain a wholefood diet, abundant with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables to ensure you are getting the right nutrients to maintain a healthy immune system. A wholefood diet should also include lean protein and whole-grains to ensure a balanced diet. It’s best to avoid winter comfort foods which are often high in fat, sugar and salt and turn to warming foods such as soups and casseroles. Too many carbohydrates in the form of sugar and grains is very unbalancing for your gut flora. Sugar is "fertilizer" for pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi that can set your immune system up for an easy assault by a respiratory virus. Most people don't realise that 80 percent of your immune system lies in your gastrointestinal tract. That's why controlling your sugar intake is crucial for optimizing your immune system. Winter Fruits & Vegetables NUTRIENTS AND FOODS FOR IMMUNE HEALTH Eating nutritious foods is a powerful way to help prevent disease and a healthy body begins with a healthy immune system. Help to keep your immune system strong by feeding your body with delicious foods packed with beta-carotene, vitamin A, B’s, C, zinc and selenium, just to name a few and add some extra power to that punch by spicing it up with ginger, garlic and turmeric. Garlic Traditionally garlic was used as both a food and a medicine due having serval therapeutic properties including being antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and antiviral. To get the most of these immune boosting properties, it is best to consume fresh garlic. Propolis Propolis is resinous substance collected by bees from certain plants and has a long history of medicinal use. Propolis has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial components and supports a healthy immune system as well as assists in protecting the body form harmful effects of free radicals and / or oxidative stress. It can also help with the relief of cold symptoms and reduce the duration and severity of common colds and other upper respiratory tract infections. Turmeric Curcumin is the active ingredient within turmeric with high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric also has anti-viral and antifungal, making it the perfect immune booster. There are many ways to incorporate turmeric in your winter cooking, such as tea, turmeric latte, soups and curries. To get the most out of your turmeric hit mix it with black pepper to significantly increase your body’s absorption. Vitamin C Vitamin C is an antioxidant which is required by the body to grow and develop. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C must be obtained through diet. It is the most commonly known nutrient for helping prevent colds and flus in winter as it promotes healing within the body by slowing down or preventing cell damage. It is recommended that adults have 45mg of Vitamin C daily. The best food sources of vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, acerola cherry, green chillies, broccoli and cauliflower. It is however best to consume these foods raw where possible to ensure you are getting the most vitamin C content as up to 100% can be destroyed through cooking. Vitamin D Vitamin D is an important player in overall healthy immune function, but it's also an effective antimicrobial agent, producing 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. Optimizing your vitamin D levels is a very effective and inexpensive action you can take to help strengthen immune function and protect against getting sick during the flu season. During summer, getting a few minutes of sun exposure each day is ideal, however throughout winter longer exposure times are needed preferably around midday. It is good to know that vitamin D levels can be stored over several months, so those summer rays can still be benefiting your body throughout winter. If you are considering getting your vitamin D through a supplement, it is highly recommended to have your vitamin D levels tested and monitored by a doctor before and during supplementation. Zinc Zinc is often described as the nutrient of all nutrients. All cells and over 300 enzyme activities in the body require zinc to be able to function. Zinc has antioxidant properties and plays an important role in immune responses. A zinc deficiency may cause a weakened immune system making your more susceptible to getting sick. The recommended daily intake of zinc for adults is 14mg/day for men and 8mg/day for women. Food sources rich in zinc include red meat, poultry and seafood. These foods have been found to be the best sources as they do not contain phytates, hence making the zinc more absorbable to the body. STAY HYDRATED Consuming water can drop off as we turn to warmer drinks to heat us up from the inside out. Water keeps our body’s healthy by flushing out all the toxins and hydrating our skin as it deals with blistery winter conditions and indoor heating. If drinking plain old water sounds boring, try mixing it up with warm water with lemon or herbal teas to help stay hydrated during the cooler months. Green teas and Rooibos are excellent sources of immune booting antioxidants, whilst lemon and chamomile teas are more relaxing on the body.