Nikki from our Gym team is here with tips and advice to boost your immunity through the colder months.
Hello! I am a clinical nutritionist, personal trainer and mum to one lovely young man. I have worked in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years, with the last 11 of these as a practicing nutritionist, so I understand the challenges around fitting fitness into an already busy lifestyle.
To get the best results in anything, you need a goal, and a plan to reach your goal in the form of good food choices, the right training programme and accountability to someone or something to keep you focused. I love helping people turbocharge their results and goals by combining great nutritional plans with specific exercise programmes whilst fitting it into their normal lifestyles.
I have helped many clients meet their personal fitness objectives and encouraged everyone to never give in or give up as often only a little guidance is needed to get set up for success.
Try these five key winter ingredient boosters for your immune system over winter:
Get enough sleep
We underestimate the importance of sleep and less than seven hours a night on a regular basis can have negative effects on our immune system. Less than five hours sleep a night on a regular basis is associated with higher mortality. When we sleep better, we also tend to eat better! If you are having trouble unwinding, try a Sleep Tea e.g. Puraty Potent Organic Herbal Tea Sleep Well.
A strong body is a healthy body! Exercising promotes good circulation, enhances the immune system and improves your metabolism. Do something each day – this can include ‘active rest’ such as a brisk wintery walk or a yoga class at our Gym.
Zinc is essential for keeping the immune system strong, as it ensures the normal development and function of cells that control the immune response. Zinc deficiency results in an increased susceptibility to viruses and infections. New Zealand soils are zinc deficient so there’s more reason for us to take a supplement, especially through the winter months. Adults need 8 to 12 milligrams of zinc a day, half of which is found in a palm-sized piece of lean red meat, and almost all in a single oyster. Non-animal sources are pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ and garlic. Supplementation options are always available.
This strong antioxidant, coming from external food or supplement sources, is considered a must-have in our winter first aid kit. Vitamin C supports white blood cell activity, which in turn helps to fight off infection and improve your immune resilience. It is useful to take a loading dose of Vitamin C at the first sign of infection. My supplementation recommendation is Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C, each sachet contains 1000mg of Vitamin C and is rapidly absorbed.
The best food sources of Vitamin C are guavas, bell peppers, parsley, kale and kiwifruit.
These veges are packed full of vitamins A, C and E as well as antioxidants and fibre. Think of cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, kale, cabbage and brussel sprouts. These vegetables are healthiest when consumed raw or after being lightly cooked. The combination of vitamins and antioxidants from cruciferous vegetables helps boost your immune system. Cauliflower, in particular, is a beneficial food to eat when you’re sick because it’s also rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off infection.
Remember that variety is the key! Remember to get your recommended five portions of vegetables and fruit a day, but I believe the more veggies the better!
Try this lovely warming winter tea
3cm stem of ginger
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
2Tbps of apple cider vinegar
1 cup hot water
Grate the ginger and squeeze the juice from the lemon, add them to the apple cider vinegar. Then add the water and the cinnamon.
Fun fact: Twenty minutes of laughter a day may not keep the doctor away, but it may help keep your immune system working properly!
For more advice on staying healthy this winter book a time in with Nikki Martin!
Click here for more about Nikki.