With winter now upon us and the 3-degree Adelaide nights becoming more frequent, our body’s immunity can really take a beating. Fighting the morning battle with your workout leggings is hard enough on a good day let alone over the winter months. So catching the cold or flu that is hanging around the office can be a real bump in your stride, often providing you with an awesome excuse to miss that workout or not eat the way you intended.
The types of foods we eat play a huge role in ensuring our immune system is at the top of its game. Here are a few tips to help boost your immunity and help keep your health and fitness goals in place over the cold winter months!
Boost your veggies
Vegetables provide a variety of fibre and micronutrients that are essential for general health and wellbeing along with maintaining a healthy immune system. Choose a variety of coloured vegetables to ensure you are getting a wide spread of those vitamins and minerals. Veggies can sometimes seem unappealing over the colder months… you definitely don’t make friends with a garden salad over winter! Try adding a stack of veggies to your soups, roasting them with your favourite herbs and spices (I love nutmeg on pumpkin) or sneaking them into some homemade burger patties.
One of the most important vitamins to keep topped up over the winter months. In addition to its biosynthetic and antioxidant functions, vitamin C plays an important role in immune function and improves the absorption of Iron. So where you do get the most vitamin C from you ask? Oranges? You’re surprisingly wrong! While they provide a good source, the best source of it is actually from capsicums (bell peppers). Vitamin C can also be found in other coloured fruit and vegetables like dark leafy greens (e.g. kale, spinach), broccoli, berries, kiwi fruit, mandarins, tomatoes and chilli. So whip up some stuffed capsicums or throw an orange in your lunchbox to make sure you’re getting enough of the good stuff.
Keep the Aqium away from these guys! Eating a good source of probiotics will help to promote the growth of healthy bacteria and prevent other infections. These can be found in fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut or Kombucha. It’s important to look after the bacteria in your gut. Just like your Tamagotchi make sure to look after and feed your good bacteria by choosing a diet that is rich in fibre.
We are really lucky in Adelaide with our weather. While it’s super chilly outside we are still fortunate to have sunny days. I understand that curling up on the couch into a quilted burrito can be quite appealing but getting outside provides us with a hit of serotonin! This will help to keep a positive and happy mood and prevent food cravings. Stepping outside into the sunshine will also help to boost up your vitamin D which is essential for healthy, strong bones and teeth and to assist with normal immune system function. It’s also a good excuse to spend some quality time with friends or family. Seeing there aren’t as many social occasions over the winter months organise a walk and coffee with your closest pals!
Keep your fluids up!
We often don’t drink enough water over the winter months, which is surprising seeing hydration is one of the most important factors to help avoid or treat the common cold or flu. Water helps the kidneys to flush out the body’s toxins and waste. If we don’t get enough fluid these baddies can’t be removed, which weakens our immune system. Water also assists in the production of lymph which plays a vital role within the lymphatic system to clear and destroy viruses and bacteria within the body. If plain water isn’t tickling your fancy, try adding a squeeze of lemon or sliced fruit to your water bottle (think of the added vitamin C too!) or having a herbal tea to warm your insides. While caffeinated teas and coffee provide fluid for the body they are a diuretic so you won’t hold onto that fluid as well as you would if it was water!
Not enough? These are my favourite boosters to a healthy and balanced diet:
My Tribe Type – Evolve Latte: Wanting more from your mid-morning latte? My Tribe Type brings you a blend of active fragrant turmeric, ginger, cardamom, vanilla bean and orange peel with a pinch of black pepper. They’ve also added adaptogens, reishi mushrooms and astragalus to help boost up your immune system.
Bioceuticals – Arma Force: A combination of andrographis, echinacea, olive leaf, vitamin C and zinc. It has been scientifically formulated to provide relief of symptoms and decrease the duration of upper respiratory tract infections and colds.
Sambucol Cold & Flu: With each capsule containing highly concentrated elderberries they help to cut down the duration of cold and flu symptoms so you can start to feel better faster.
Emily Hartley is an accredited dietitian at Improve Performance