Supercharge Your Immunity this Winter
If you’re aiming to sail through the rest of winter, eating a vitamin and mineral rich diet will help to boost your immunity and build up your internal defenses. An immune-boosting diet can also help to reverse engineer your moods, helping you to beat the winter blues.
Perhaps you’re one of those people who, every winter without fail, ends up in bed with the flu, making best friends with a hot water bottle and a jumbo-size box of tissues. If this is the case, one of the first places to examine is your diet to ensure that it’s not leaving you vulnerable to nasty bugs.
Immunity is your body's natural defense against disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Considered to be the holy grail of health, a strong immune system can help fight cold, cough and chest congestion, as well as protect against more serious diseases and ailments.
To supercharge your body’s first line of defense, consuming plenty of immune-boosting foods in your diet is crucial to building and maintaining a strong immune system and keeping your mind in tip top shape.
Some of my optimal immune-boosting nutrients and ingredients to keep you supercharged this winter are Vitamin C, zinc, ginger, turmeric, oily fish and seeds.
Fight back with flaxseeds and fish
I’m going to start small, flaxseeds are full of Omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for our body to avoid foggy brains, helping to produce energy and strengthen our immunity. They’re also high in fibre to promote regular bowel movements so you can wave goodbye to that sluggish winter belly.
You can sprinkle flaxseeds over eggs, put a teaspoon of ground flaxseeds in porridge or use them to make a crust for baked fish.
It’s no secret that oily fish like salmon, sardines and tuna are overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids, but our fishy friends can also raise dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain.1
Dopamine improves circulation and blood flow, to keep you warm all winter long while serotonin, our happy hormone is sure to put a smile on your dial! Find my my favourite happy foods here.
Supercharge with Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful flu-fighting antioxidant which can help to keep colds and flus at bay by enhancing your immune system functioning and increasing the production of necessary antibodies and white blood cells in your body, a key component to warding off infections.2
To up your intake of Vitamin C, consume citrus fruits in winter when they’re wildly abundant and inexpensive. Other well-known sources of vitamin C are berries, broccoli, parsley, cabbage, capsicum and dark leafy greens.
A simple way to get a high-speed injection of C is to use create a smoothie using oranges as a base, then throw in a handful of berries, leafy greens and a good squeeze of lime.
The forgotten mineral: Zinc
It’s common for many of us to have a low intake of zinc, particularly amongst women, children, vegetarians and vegans, as zinc is most commonly found and absorbed from animal products. Zinc is predominantly found in lean red meat, chicken, eggs, seafood, especially oysters and shellfish and in smaller quantities in whole grains, nuts and seeds such as pumpkin seeds and fortified breakfast cereals. This mineral is incredibly important in the development and functioning of the body’s infection-fighting white blood cells.3
It’s vital to note that how well we absorb zinc depends heavily on the foods with which it’s consumed. The amount of protein in the diet is a factor contributing to the efficiency of zinc absorption as zinc binds to protein.
Colour your winter
Once your zinc intake is taken care of, you can concentrate on loading your body up on in-season fresh fruit and vegetables, which are rich sources of a number of powerful antioxidants to help protect the body's cells against damage and infection.
Flavonoids, the natural pigments that give plants their color, have antioxidant, or cell-protecting, properties.4
Beetroot, broccoli, sweet potato, oranges, red capsicum, and pumpkin are high in antioxidants and work well in cold weather fare.
Star spices: Ginger & turmeric
Ginger is a gut-friendly spice that stimulates digestion and bowel function, while helping to relieve bloating, cramping and nausea. This is especially important during winter, when it’s common for digestion to be a little compromised from loading up on carbohydrate heavy, and rich meals, roast dinners, pastas and pizza. Ginger is a gorgeous warming root that has also been shown to increase neurotransmitters in the brain.5
Neurotransmitters are chemicals used by brain cells to communicate with each other.
They control your ability to focus, concentrate, remember, and regulate mood, cravings, addictions and sleep.
Turmeric contains Curcumin, a compound that increases the level of immunity-boosting proteins in our bodies. These proteins help fight bacteria and viruses when they try to attack. Turmeric is also a natural anti-inflammatory and painkiller.6
During the cooler months remembering to keep your fluid intake up is important. If you find that you’re drinking much less water in winter, adding soups and teas will not only keep you warm and hydrated, they will also nourish your body.
Winter food doesn’t need to be all about stodgy stews and heavy meals to keep in the warmth and boost immunity:
Incorporating vitamin and mineral rich ingredients into your meal planning is your body’s best defense to keep you ahead of common bugs and lift your mood and energy levels, so you can feel your best this winter.
Gut health is important for your mental health and overall wellness, it’s one of the most important components of the body. We interact with it daily and it’s something intricately connected to many aspects of our everyday life.*
OnePath Life Limited (OnePath Life) is committed to deliver market leading mental health and wellness solutions with a focus on service, customer wellness and prevention. The focus on mental health and wellness is at the core to OnePath Life’s proposition. To deliver on our commitment, we have developed a suite of tools, education pieces, and collaborated with partners to provide our customers with the support they may need to facilitate a healthy life. OnePath Life has proudly partnered with Lee Holmes to provide education and nutritional inspiration for our customers to supercharge their health.
* Important Note
The information related to your health is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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