4 Ways To Maximum Health During The Colder Months

1 Eating more dairy Aside from getting a flu jab, one of the best ways to prevent illness and ensure the health of your immune system is to get more dairy into your diet. Cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are fantastic sources of protein, vitamins A , B2 and B12, and of course, calcium. To reduce the amount of fat in your diet, choose semi-skimmed milk, and low-fat plain yoghurt. Interestingly, by using skimmed you’ll be upping your calcium levels when compared to drinking whole milk.

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2 Enjoying healthy breakfasts The combination of dairy, oats and fruit is a recipe for immune system success, so consider tucking into comforting bowls of warm porridge topped with banana or berries for hearty breakfasts. Oats provide plenty of fibre, helping you through a snack-free morning. They have also been proven to reduce levels of cholesterol, contributing to better long-term health during the winter months and beyond.

3 Upping your allicin It’s the allicin in garlic that hails this bulb as a well-known warrior in the battle against disease, and your immune system (if not your friends) will certainly thank you for it. Garlic has the greatest benefits when chopped and left to stand for 10-15 minutes before being added to the pan. If garlic is cooked immediately after being cut, you won’t gain the benefits of hydrogen sulphide, an antioxidant that counters cell damage caused by free radicals in the body. If munching on garlic is a little too hardcore, you could increase your intake with a supplement.

4 Keeping your strength up If you develop a cold or flu over the winter months, it’s important to keep eating and drinking to strengthen your immune system, even if you don’t feel like it. A good way to prepare for potential illness is to cook meals that you can freeze, defrost and heat up when a virus strikes.

Feeling as though you want to hibernate? You’re not alone. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that three per cent of the UK population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, with low light levels and short days leaving them feeling tired, irritable and depressed. But shorter days and cooler weather aren’t necessarily barriers to feeling good and fighting fit this winter. Now’s the time to get winter-ready and stock up on the feel-good food that will help you restore and maintain your energy throughout the cooler months. The good news is that it’s easier than you think!

Also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D is produced in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, and helps to support the immune system. However, sunlight is in short supply in the UK during the winter months, so it’s best to eat foods with a high concentration of this vitamin. Make meals including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, and keep an eye out for produce fortified with vitamin D, such as eggs, milk and yoghurt.

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