Autumn is Here !
Feel quiet smug whilst writing this blog as each year I am caught out by how quickly the feeling of Summer disappears and the cold dark nights seem to creep up and hit me with a spade. This year, I decided to buy winter coats and boots for all the family in September so feeling as though I’m winning in life and prepared for the autumnal weather without the flurry of activity to try and get everyone prepared – go me!
Autumn is a lovely season and brings with it changes to our usual habits. Nutrition has a huge part to play in how we survive cold days and dark nights to ensure that cold and flu bugs are kept at bay. If you suffer from the usual onslaught of feeling under the weather around this time of year and dreading picking up the usual sniffles and sore throats then this blog is for you.
Preparing your body nutritionally now will help support your immune system to get you through the winter months feeling your best, energised and reduce the occurrences of viral bugs that this time of year brings.
Immune boosting nutrients
Your immune strength is totally dependant on an optimal intake of vitamins and minerals. Deficiency of vitamins A,B1,B2,B6,B12, folic acid, C and E suppresses immunity, as does deficiency of iron, magnesium and selenium.
Vitamin A also helps to maintain the integrity of the digestive tract, lungs, and all cell membranes, preventing foreign agents from entering the body and viruses from entering cells. Vitamin E improves B and T cell function. Zinc is critical for immune cell production and proper functioning of B and T cells. It is worth noting that zinc and iron should not be supplemented during a bacterial infection - only viral infections.
Vitamin C is unquestionably the master immune boosting nutrient. To date, more than a dozen roles in this capacity have been identified for it. It helps immune cells to mature and is itself anti-viral and anti-bacterial, as well as being able to destroy toxins produced by bacteria.
Here are my top dietary tips for getting you ready for Autumn:
Increase your Vitamin C intake.
High Vitamin C foods include bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwifruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes and peas. Aim to eat at least 4 portions per day to support your immune system.
Reduce processed foods and sugary foods.
Sugar weakens the immune system and creates an inflammatory environment in the body. Processed foods provide little nutritional value and usually carry high salt and sugar content with hidden nasties. Were possible, cook from scratch to reduce processed and chemically enhanced foods.
Add Garlic and Turmeric to cooking.
Garlic has the ability to boost your immune system by increasing the rate at which your natural killer cells are made whereas using turmeric regularly can help your immune system stay strong, increasing the chance of maintaining good health and decreasing the chance of illness such as flu or more serious diseases. Add both to stews, soups, stir fry’s and homemade curries.
Take a good Multivitamin throughout the winter months
Nothing comes close to having a diet which is packed full of B vitamins, magnesium, Vitamin C to name a few but to get your immune system supported from the go get, I would recommend a good all round multivitamin to get you started. A good multivitamin will provide the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of all the important vitamins and minerals needed to support your immune system.
Utilise plant based foods in every day diet
Sounds like an easy one right? Plant based foods such as vegetables, fruit, quinoa, wholemeal rice, beans and lentil and sweet potatoes all pack a hefty punch when it comes to the vitamins required to support immune function. By ensuring that you have adequate amounts daily, you will be increasing your B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and zinc naturally. Not only will your immune system thank you for it but you will be feeling pretty energetic also. What’s not to love about that?
To support you on your quest to a tiptop immune system, the below recipe for High Energy Lentil Soup. Packed with Vitamin A (carrots and tomatoes) this soup really hits the spot when you are feeling tired, stressed and vulnerable to inflections. Super quick and can be kept up to 3 days.
High Energy Lentil Soup
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 medium leek, sliced
1 medium carrot
, 200g tin chopped tomatoes,1tsp. dried mixed herbs or 1 handful fresh finely chopped parsley 200g (dry weight) brown or green lentils
,1 litre (1.75pints) vegetable stock,
freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat the oil and a splash of water in a large, lidded pan and steam fry the onion, celery, leek and garlic over a medium heat, turning frequently, until soft and transparent - about 8 minutes
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine
- Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down and put the lid on
- Cook for 30-40 minutes until the lentils and all the vegetables are tender.
- Leave to cool slightly, then transfer half of the soup to an electric blender and blend until smooth
- Return the blended soup to the pan, stir well to combine and reheat and serve
If you do suffer with a depleted immune system and looking for support, then please contact me on 07894 111 433 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a consultation.
Other support options:
1:1 Coaching is available all year round with both 8 Week and 10 Week programme’s the most popular choices to focus on long-term success. Perfect solution for those who want to learn about nutrition and embark on a truly life changing journey.
For more information: www.debbiegallimore.com or call 07894 111 433.