Immunity is the season’s magic word. When temperatures drop and windows and doors stay shut, viruses can thrive indoors; if your immune system isn’t up to the task, you’re likely to catch the latest bug to hit town. This means less energy, the possibility of health complications, and just plain old feeling awful. That’s why it’s essential to ward off the very real threat of colds, flu, and other scary winter germs lurking on every doorknob, in every public bathroom, and on every grab-rail of your morning train to work.
For optimum health it is vital to eat a well balanced diet that is high in fibre and includes all the major food groups.
1) For optimum health it is vital to include both soluble and insoluble fibre daily. Soluble fibre is found in foods such as psyllium husk, apples, oat bran and legumes (chickpeas, lentils). Sources of insoluble fibre include whole grains, broccoli, nuts, seeds and vegetable skins.
2) Including fibre in your diet will offer benefits beyond your bowel. Fibre plays an important role in helping to prevent serious health conditions. Fibre can also help manage the digestive complaints associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
3)The easiest way to boost your fibre intake is to eat foods in their most natural state i.e. fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains (steel cut oats, rolled rye, brown rice, whole-wheat), legumes, nuts and seeds. If you are struggling to reach the recommended 25-30g of fibre per day, you may wish to boost your intake with a fibre supplement made from psyllium husk.
4)Make it a priority to drink 500ml of water before breakfast. Staying well hydrated will give you more energy, mental clarity and enhanced digestive function.
5) The first step to good nutrition is to remove all highly processed foods from your kitchen. This will allow room for nutrient dense, fresh foods.
6) Preparation is key, plan your meals at the start of the week, pre cook and freeze meals ahead of busy days and always carry healthy snacks in your bag for when you are on the run.
7) Make an effort to include raw foods such as fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds and fresh herbs. Raw foods provide enzymes, vitamins and disease protective antioxidants.
8) When it comes to fruits and vegetables variety is a must. Take the time to learn what is in season and try something new. Selecting seasonal produce ensures variety, optimal taste and quality.
9)When preparing meals you should simply think rainbow. If your plate is full of brightly coloured fresh produce you know you are on the right track.
10) Drinking herbal tea is a tasty way to improve hydration. Herbal teas include ginger, mint, jasmine, lemon grass, and chamomile.
A healthy diet is a balanced diet complete with all major food groups. Meals should contain a mixture of fibre rich carbohydrates, good quality protein and essential fatty acids.
11)It is estimated between 30- 50% of Australia adults are deficient in vitamin D. The easiest way to increase vitamin D levels is by going for a walk outdoors and enjoying sensible sun exposure.
12) Serving sizes have doubled over the years making it easy to overeat. Limit your portion size by eating from a smaller plate or bowl.
Limit added sugars to no more than 10% of your daily calorie intake or 6- 10 teaspoons per day. To calculate how many teaspoons of sugar is in a food product divide the grams of sugar by 4. For example 16 grams of sugar is equivalent to 4 teaspoons of sugar.
Probiotics are the beneficial ‘good’ bacteria essential for health and digestive function. Aim to consume probiotic rich foods like natural yogurt, fermented vegetables and fermented milk drinks on a regular basis.
13)Health is a state of complete physical and mental well-being. Do not neglect your emotional health, take time out to stop, relax and breathe.
14) Spice things up at meal times by using a variety of herbs and spices. Including fresh herbs will enhance flavour, texture and boost the nutrient value of any meal.
15) Good quality sleep is vital for good health. Poor sleep can impact on everyday life affecting concentration, mood, stress levels and weight gain. Aim to get into bed early and enjoy around 8 hours of deep sleep.
16) Fibre can benefit energy levels. Soluble fibre slows the rate of carbohydrate digestion and absorption therefore preventing blood sugar surges and crashes. Foods that are high in fibre are ideal choices for sustained, balanced energy throughout the day.
17)Studies have indicated that consuming around 7g of soluble fibre per day can help lower blood cholesterol levels. Once consumed soluble fibre binds to cholesterol aiding its passage through the body and eventual elimination. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, soluble fibre works best when partnered with water.