We are currently deep in the trenches of winter which means colder temperatures, the heat pump on full blast and less sunshine hours to keep our souls happy. To ensure we stay well this winter, The Beauty Book reached out to Claire Turnbull, Registered Nutritionist, writer for The Healthy Food Guide and all-round wellness guru.
Winter is here! What can we be doing to keep ourselves well during this season?
Keep your immune system strong and healthy. People often run to the pharmacy to load up on supplements, but there are a few things you can do relating to what you eat and your lifestyle that will have more impact overall. Food first is the way to go wherever possible!
Firstly, a few things about your immune system. Your immune system is a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to keep out pathogens (e.g dust, pollen, splinters, viruses, bacteria). Keeping your immune system strong, doesn’t mean you won’t get sick, it just means that if you catch something your body will be able to fight it off with ease!
As a result, below are 5 of my top tips for staying healthy this winter and keeping your immune system well.
Vitamin C is a popular supplement for people to take, but it is very easy to get lots from your food with the added benefits of fibre!
It is suggested we have around 200mg/day of Vitamin C, 5+ servings of fruits/veg will ensure you get what you need. Opt for more vegetables where possible.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that needs to be topped up daily as your body doesn’t store it. Any excess passes out in your pee.
It is best to consider Vitamin C as a PREVENTATIVE rather than when you are already sick. If you are having enough before you get a cold as well as during, it has been shown that it’s possible to reduce the length and severity of your cold
In terms of Vitamin C from food, not only citrus is a good source. I recommend considering the below;
· Kiwifruit- High in Vitamin C and are great for your digestive system too!
· 1 cup of broccoli or cauliflower has a similar amount level of Vitamin C as an orange – easy to get into your diet, think hot soup!
· Frozen blackcurrants and cook into porridge. Alternatively, you can also get no added sugar blackcurrant juice.
Find more information on Vitamin C here
Iron is VITAL for a healthy immune system. Your body can store iron but stores can run low, this is particularly something that vegetarians and vegans need to be mindful of.
Red meat and seafood are excellent sources of iron. Plant sources high in iron are; Green leafy veggies (frozen is a good idea!), tofu, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds.
It is recommended to take with Vitamin C to increase the absorption of non-haem iron (the type found in plant food). Avoid drinking tea with meals as this can compromise the absorption of iron.
1 in 14 women in New Zealand are low in iron and 8 out of 10 toddlers are short on iron too. It is interesting to know that a 7 month old needs more iron than a fully grown man!
For more information on iron here
Zinc is an important mineral for the immune system that isn’t stored in the body so needs to be replaced daily.
Many New Zealanders don’t get enough, particularly men! Men need 14mg per day vs 8mg for women.
Lean red meat, seafood, eggs, pumpkin seeds and tofu are all great sources of zinc.
Find more on Zinc here
Vitamin D has a HUGE impact on your immune system and once again a lot of New Zealanders aren’t getting enough over the winter months!
Your body is able to make Vitamin D when you expose your skin to light therefore be sure to GET OUTSIDE! Expose more of your skin when you can, even something simple such as rolling up your sleeves.
There is a reason why light therapy is a form of treatment for lifting your mood!
Good quality sleep is super important to keep your immune system strong. Conveniently, getting outside during the day will help you have a better night’s sleep.
The trick is to be ensuring you are getting quality sleep and avoiding blue light before bed is pivotal. Substitute your blue light emitting device for meditation or get back into reading a book before bed!
For personalised nutrition advice, check out Mission Nutrition
Words: Amanda Basher Images: Supplied