At this time of year it’s really important to support your body through the dark and cold months ahead, to help the fight against flu and other nasty bugs. Especially for those of us (myself included!) who may have somewhat over indulged during the past couple of weeksSo here are my top tips:
Reduce or preferably remove for a month the toxic load within the body, specifically these would include alcohol, caffeine and smoking. By removing these anti-nutrients (take more from the body than they give), it allows the body to play nutritional catch up post the holiday onslaught.
Increase our water intake hence allowing our detoxification systems to work more effectively by increasing the flushing out of toxins and keeping us hydrated. We are half way through the winter and the increased water levels will ensure that our skin and hair can look as best it can. Herbal teas are also a great inclusion as is green tea which also provides some essential anti-oxidants which help us fight those bugs.
Include some wonderful healing foods and herbs, the ones we have increased at my home are; ginger, garlic, turmeric, full fat live natural yogurt, blueberries, oranges, baby spinach, and broccoli. The herbs are all warming and are supportive to our immunity; garlic especially is anti viral and anti bacterial so it’s a total bug buster. Eat garlic as raw as you can take it and as soon as possible after crushing! Full fat live natural yogurt is low in sugar however full of probiotics which has been shown to support our gut bacteria – 70% of our immunity comes from the gut. The fruit and vegetables eaten should be rich in a variety of colours hence providing essential nutrients – remember minimum 5 portions a day and ideally 10.
Being aware that sunlight is at a minimum try to grab as much as you can to ensure we support our vitamin D levels. We are all going to be running low on our reserves of this essential nutrient which has been shown to support our physical and mental health, so when the sun is out be like a sunflower and face up to it.
By Andrea Murray of Total Nutrition, BSc (Hons) Nutrition Therapy