Nutritionist's Tips for Winter Health
The colder months can be more challenging health wise. It is a time when energy levels can decrease, mood may also decline along with immune function.
There are certain supplements that I recommend to help with autumn and winter health. The first and most important is Vitamin C, however, you don't just want to take any vitamin C! You want one that is natural and that is whole food based.
Synergy Company Radiance C contains wild-harvested camu camu, together with a selection of antioxidant-rich berries and acerola. This formula is rich in natural vitamin C and will also deliver a range of immune boosting phytonutrients - it is also nonacidic so is gentle on the stomach. Vitamin C will also help with winter skin health as it helps to stimulate collagen production - it also helps to support adrenal function so can help reduce stress and anxiety levels.
It is important to keep your diet as healthy and colourful as possible in order to keep vitamin, mineral and antioxidant levels up. One of the best ways to do this is to start the day with a shot of nutrient dense super greens. This chlorophyll rich drink provides high levels of magnesium which helps support the nervous system and is also involved in energy production. The deep green pigments also provide good levels of iron to help boost immunity and fight fatigue.
Adding a teaspoon to a little water or juice first thing also helps with digestive function and with the body's natural cleansing processes.
It has gentle detox and alkalising functions too.
Synergy Natural Organic Super Greens is my green powder of choice, containing spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass and chlorella - also available in veggie caps and tablets. A healthy diet during this period will also help with weight management.
It's a good idea to begin the day with a bowl of porridge with added antioxidant-rich blueberries. Rhubarb or stewed apples make a great addition so either lightly stewed is a fantastic vitamin booster. Oats help keep blood sugar levels stable and help with cravings while the fruit helps to keep your immune system strong.
You can also choose to have:
Fresh Fruit Salad - any combination though berries are a good option with a low-fat yoghurt.
Spicy Baked Beans on Toast - if you want something warming add some chilli or tabasco which acts as a thermogenic agent by speeding up the metabolism and stimulating the digestion.
Quick Spanish Omelette or Scrambled Eggs with Avocado - eggs are high in protein, will help set up your metabolism for the day which helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
The avocado provides essential fatty acids to help with mood and skin, hair and nail health.
Make sure you buy organic or free range.
Breakfast is the perfect time for a fresh smoothie instead of a meal and you can add a protein supplement to really turbo charge weight loss if you want. Protein smoothies as meal replacements are perfect for weight loss regimes such as this as they are bioavailable, easily broken down in the gut and importantly make you feel fuller quicker and for longer.
Banana and Strawberry Smoothie
Bananas have high levels of potassium, which help you keep energy levels up longer:
Just use 200ml low-fat milk, rice, almond or hemp, 1 small banana chopped, ¼ cup fresh strawberries and 1 scoop of Sun Warrior Protein Powder together with one tablespoon of flaxseeds or flaxseed oil.
Something simple like an apple and 8 almonds is perfect for your mid-morning snack or it's a great time for a low-fat low sugar yoghurt with half cup of fresh fruit.
You'll notice that these options come with a protein component so don't eat the fruit on its own and stay away from bought fruit juice unless you water it down in order to keep sugar levels balanced and under control.
Alternatively, its a good time for a freshly made fruit and veggie juice - something delicious like carrot, apple and ginger is an ideal immune booster.
Vegetable Soups make the perfect lunch - add some chick peas or lentils to help boost protein levels and season with thermogenic spices like chilli, cayenne or paprika to help with fat burning.
Mid-afternoon is the perfect time for a lovely cup of herbal tea with a handful fruit and nuts: walnuts, almonds and natural raisins are a good combo.
Peppermint or spearmint tea with a little-added honey will both calm and stimulate the digestion making the diet more efficient.
Fried Tofu or Tempeh is a good choice for dinner - just some add some lightly steamed steam green veggies for the perfect dinner option.
A Stir Fry is also another great choice. 150g of lean protein - seafood, fish or tofu and combine with four cups of a vegetable medley of your choice. Serve with brown rice to increase fibre intake.Make sure you add spices to taste as these stimulate digestion and speed up metabolism.
Roast Mediterranean veggies is another quick and easy option. Any combination of vegetables such as red onion, courgette and peppers, in a tin of chopped tomatoes, with garlic, herbs and some seasoning is perfect.You can also add some lentils, or chick peas. All you need is a small lasagne dish with a little drizzled olive oil.
For something really quick and easy, go for grilled kebabs.
Just thread small chunks of tuna, salmon and/or tofu and alternating with some veggies such as courgettes, peppers and mushrooms onto a skewer and cook as preferred and serve on a bed of lettuce.
If you should happen to come down with a cold or flu then you need look no further than Watson and Son Manuka Honey to help reduce both severity and length - this is antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral. I recommend one teaspoon a day as a preventative and two, three or four teaspoons if you re feeling under the weather. You could also have it in warm water with a little ginger if desired.
Rick is a Nutritional Physiologist : Anti Ageing Food and Fitness Nutritionist and has many years clinical experience in Nutrition, Naturopathy, Botanical Medicine and Iridology.