Who dreams of living in a hot climate where the sun shines daily and there is no need for scarves and gloves? To be fair, I used to, and there was talk only last year between my husband and I, about following that dream and moving abroad; due to my love of the sunshine Vitamin D, and his love of all things outdoors. Through all these discussions, a little voice inside my head kept drawing me back to all those things we would miss. Yes of course family and friends were most certainly at the top of the list, but not so far behind was the seasonal changes you don’t gain from moving away from our beloved country.
Just looking outside the window whilst I type this, I can see rich reds and greens from changing leaves and the feel of the crisp air of a dewy morning with a big dollop of beaming sunshine. Beyond beautiful and I couldn’t possibly part with witnessing this miracle every year.
In our need to get prepared for the Autumn/Winter months ahead, I like so many other busy mums, write the lists of requirements to ‘survive’, including winter coats, boots, hats and scarves and vests for the little ones. One area that is neglected, time and time again, is preparing our bodies to fight off the dreaded cold/flu bugs and chest infections that becomes not just debilitating, but downright rude, interrupting our busy day to day lives.
Your diet plays a part in strengthening your immune system. Sadly, too many of us don’t eat enough of the fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods we need, to keep ourselves healthy all year round. You can’t just eat an orange or grapefruit and expect one quick burst of vitamin C to prevent a cold. A truly healthy immune system, depends on a balanced mix of vitamins & minerals over time; plus normal sleep patterns and a hefty dose of exercise.
Here are my top 5 vitamins to help support you and your family this Autumn
Vitamin C - You probably know about vitamin C’s connection to the immune system, but did you know you could get it from much more than just citrus fruits? Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, strawberries and papaya are also excellent sources. In fact, vitamin C is in so many foods, that most people may not need to take supplements unless a doctor advises it.
Vitamin E - Like vitamin C, vitamin E can be a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection. Almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds are all high in vitamin E. So are spinach and broccoli; if you prefer to increase your intake through meals, rather than snacks.
Vitamin B6 - This important vitamin — part of nearly 200 biochemical reactions in your body — is critical in how your immune system functions. Foods high in vitamin B6 include bananas, lean chicken breast, cold-water fish such as tuna, baked potatoes and chickpeas. Bring on the hummus!
Vitamin A - For vitamin A go colourful. Foods that are high in colourfulcompounds called carotenoids — carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe and squash — are all great options. The body turns these carotenoids into vitamin A which has an antioxidant effect to help strengthen the immune system against infection.
Vitamin D - As mentioned above, it’s best to get most of your vitamins from food, but vitamin D may be the exception to that rule. You can increase your intake through foods such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines) and fortified foods such as milk, orange juice and cereals. However, many people have a hard time absorbing vitamin D from food; so if you have a vitamin D deficiency, talk to your doctor about supplements.
A WINTER WARMER SOUP IS A GREAT WAY TO SUPPORT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. COME AND VISIT MY FACEBOOK PAGE HERE WHERE I WILL SHARE WITH YOU ONE OF MY FAVOURITES!
As with most things, there are exceptions. I see a growing number of clients in practice who suffer with digestive complaints such as IBS, bloating, constipation and wind. Unfortunately a compromised digestive system, can mean a compromised immune system, as approx. 60 – 70 % of your immune system is housed in your gut. In this instance, I would recommend consulting a Nutritional Therapist, in order to support the immune system through underlying treatment of digestive complaints.
Here’s to a healthy and happy Autumn!