4 New Year Tips for Winter Immunity
A really powerful way to support our immune system and ensure that it stays robust and strong during the winter months is through our food, drink and lifestyle choices. Kate Garden, a Bath Based expert in nutrition gives us her 4 New Year top tips for immune health so that we help our immune systems and start 2021 in a healthy and positive way.
I’m not a fan of New Year diets, resolutions or restrictions. I believe that good health is achieved through how we regularly nourish our bodies and minds. How we sleep, move, relax and talk to ourselves on is just as important as the drinks and the foods that we eat. Making small, simple, positive changes, regularly, is key to raising our level of health.
‘Spice things up’
Spices do so much more than simply bringing flavour to your meal. Even in small amounts, the beneficial nutrients in these powerful plant foods have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-oxidant benefits.
Nutrition tip - try warming a cup of your choice of milk and after bringing to the boil, whisk in 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of ground ginger. You can use the blend root versions of the spices if you wish and if you need more sweetness to this spicy latte, add some vanilla essence.
‘An apple a day’
Apples contain polyphenols; substances that protect our cells from damage and help support the beneficial bacteria in the lower gut. Once eaten only 5-10% of polyphenols are directly absorbed in the small intestine, the rest travel down to the colon to be broken down by our gut bacteria where they exert their therapeutic and anti-inflammatory effects. Our gut health strongly influences our immune health; so by feeding our microbes in our gut regularly with prebiotic fibre from foods such as stewed apples, we support our immune system.
Nutrition tip - chop 4 large cooking apples, with their nutrient rich skins on into small cubes and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes adding 2 teaspoons of cinnamon for sweetness. Eat as a snack, warm or cold with yoghurt, or add to porridge.
‘Sleep like a baby’
Sleep has a major influence on immune function due to its restorative and regulatory capacity. If you sleep poorly it’s definitely worth looking at factors that may be influencing your sleep. I often provide my clients with a personalised sleep hygiene plan, where we identify reasons why quality and quantity of their sleep may be impaired, and then address these factors systematically.
Lifestyle tip - instead of setting an alarm to wake up, set an alarm to go to bed!
Did you know that research has shown that fermented foods such kefir, kimchi, miso and sauerkraut contain microorganisms, that help the immune response may actually reduce the incidence and duration of respiratory infections? Lactic acid, a by-product of fermentation, is the substance that increases immune cell function and reduces the pathogen growth in the oral cavity.
Nutrition tip – you can start fermenting your own vegetables relatively easily at home and make practically anything from ginger beer, salads and sauces to breads, brownies and quinoa bowls. I like the book ‘Fermented Food for Vitality & Health by Dunja Gulin for inspiration.
KATE RUNS A NUTRITION & FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CLINIC IN WIDCOMBE, BATH. PLEASE VISIT HER WEBSITE FOR MORE DETAILS.