Coming into the cooler months is the perfect time to make your health a priority. This should include regular physical activity and taking some time out to recharge your mental health. However, another great way to stay healthy is to eat a balanced diet. If there’s one thing we do know, there is plenty of fresh fruit and veg available on the shelves at the moment, even if you haven’t been able to find toilet paper for weeks. So, without keeping you waiting any longer, here are some of our top tips for staying healthy this winter.
Eat plenty of in-season veggies
Coming into the cooler months, it is the perfect time for our favourite winter vegetables. These are great for our guts and overall health. Eating in-season veggies is great for our wallet, since they tend to be cheaper. They also tend to be higher in flavour. Some of our favourites include beetroot, cruciferous vegetables, carrots and onions. Beetroot and carrots contain antioxidants which can help to keep our cells healthy and reduce disease risk. Turnips and other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, brussels sprouts and broccoli are high in a compound called glucosinolates. These have been shown to be anti-carcinogenic, reducing our cancer risk. Lastly, onions are high in prebiotics. These help to maintain your gut health throughout the cooler winter months and thus support your immune function.
Keep your immune system in-check
There are also some great immune-supporting nutrients to keep in mind throughout winter. These include vitamin C, iron, zinc and pre and probiotics. Vitamin C is high in fruit and vegetables such as capsicum, broccoli, spinach and tomatoes. To get the most vitamin C out of your foods, try eating them raw. This is because vitamin C is destroyed by heat. Iron plays an important role in maintaining our immune cells. Some foods that are high in iron include red meat, fish, eggs, legumes, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. Zinc is also great for our immune system and fighting off the common cold. Zinc can be found in meat, legumes, nuts, seeds and dairy foods.
Maintain a balanced diet
The best way to stay healthy and well throughout the cooler months is to consume a balanced diet. This should include fruit, veggies, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, lean meats, dairy and plenty of water. Each meal and snack should have a source of lean protein, plenty of colour, some wholegrains, and some healthy fats. The exact ratios will change depending on person to person but starting with 1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate wholegrains and 1/2 plate of colourful foods, with a source of healthy fats like nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil or avocado.
Fruit and veggies are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre to keep us healthy from the inside out. Fibre is great for keeping our gut health in check. Vitamins such as vitamin A and C are great for our immune function. We recommend consuming a wide variety of different plant foods for the best health benefits. The more variety of plant foods, the greater variety of nutrients you are getting in. Eating a variety of nutritious foods helps to ensure we are meeting all of our nutrient requirements. This can help to look after our bodies, keeping us in good health throughout the cooler months.
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National Institutes of Health, 2012. Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention. National Cancer Institute. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet