Winter Diet 101: The Best Foods and Antioxidants To Consume This Winter
Want to avoid the flu and weight gain this winter? Take note of the best food and antioxidants to include in your diet for better health...
As the days get shorter, and the nights get colder, it seems like someone has turned up the dial on your appetite which just wants to sky rocket toward any carbohydrate in sight. Indeed the urge to give into comfort food, will be strong, but not exactly the ideal choice to keep your health and body in tip-top shape.
Diet actually plays a big part in making sure you are fighting fit to endure flu season. When it comes to cracking the winter diet code, here are 5 of the best foods and antioxidants:
1. Hemp seeds
While you may have seen them labelled for ‘body scrub’ purposes, as of November, hemp seeds will be officially legal for human consumption in Australia, and contain no or very low levels of THC. Consumed for years by those in the know, these super seeds of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa are not only a source of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc, but a rich source of protein with roughly one tablespoon providing around 11g of protein.
Winter Diet How-To: Treat hemp seeds like you would other seeds and nuts. With a mild, nutty flavour, they can be eaten raw, cooked or roasted and added to muesli, porridge, muffins and rice-based dishes.
An oldie but a goodie, the ratio of omega 3, 6 and 9 in the body is an essential part of health as they’re used by all internal systems to function normally, including the skin, respiratory system and circulatory system. In particular, it’s omega-3 that has commanded the spotlight thanks to its affects in decreasing inflammation, decreasing blood clotting, decrease triglycerides (blood fat) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol).
Winter Diet How-To: While many foods are now fortified with omegas, oil-rich seeds and nuts such as flaxseed in addition to oily fish including sardines and salmon, deliver high doses per serve.
When the sluggish, winter blues kick in there’s a cheer squad waiting for you of not one but four Ginsengs. Korean Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, American Ginseng and Withania, also known as Indian Ginseng are classified as adaptogens meaning they have the ability to help the body and mind adapt to physical, mental and emotional stressors. Importantly, they may also increase energy and vitality, enhance cognitive (mental) function, promote recovery and recuperation during rest, and may help to relieve insomnia and mild anxiety. Alternatively you can choose a good quality Ginseng supplement to get your daily dose.
Winter Diet How-To: Fusion Health Naturopath, Erika Morvay, recommends using Ginseng root to boost your immune system by stewing in water to make a tea or soup.
4. Ubiquinol (CoQ10)
Unfortunately winter no longer means hibernation and when we continually push ourselves season to season we may end up functioning in overdrive, resulting in a lack of key antioxidants in our body. Antioxidants are vital for not only powering our cells, but mopping up ‘free radicals’, which wreak havoc on our bodies by causing a trail of inflammation.
Ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10, is a powerful antioxidant found naturally in the body. Aiding overall energy levels as well as supporting the health of major organs, it plays a vital role in boosting the immune system put to the test over the colder months.
Winter Diet How-To: Foods high in CoQ10 include meat, broccoli and citrus fruits however Naturopath Stephen Eddey recommends supplementing with Ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10, as you would have to consume 20 steaks, 50 cups of spinach or 60 avocados daily to meet the required needs!
5. Olive Leaf Extract
Traditionally used in Western Herbal medicine to support the immune system and relieve symptoms of coughs, colds & flu, sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections, olive leaf extract is a winter pantry must-have. Its active ingredient, Oleuropein, is a powerful antioxidant that provides immune support. Take as a daily supplement or add the liquid form to your morning smoothie or afternoon herbal tea.
Winter Diet How-To: Look for an olive leaf extract that is Australian made and ‘fresh-picked’ to ensure it is as close to nature as possible by retaining all of the plant’s phenolics that occur naturally in the olive leaf.
Speak to your healthcare practitioner to find out which supplement is right for you. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare practitioner.