Winter can cause a lot of problems for those of us wanting to stay on top of our health and fitness. The cold and dark days can lead to a number of health related problems such as achy joints, flu and seasonal depression. Making you feel as though you may want to skip your morning run or workout all together. One thing you can do to maintain your health and keep off the extra pounds at christmas, is stay on top of your diet. By incorporating the following foods you can ward off any health problems that may result from the colder weather and make sure you are fit to tackle any obstacle the holiday month may throw at you.
- Manuka honey – this should have been included in our list of superfoods but there simply wasn’t enough space. Manuka has been used by people for medicinal purposes dating back thousands of years. Manuka honey has an amazing nutritional profile (it’s nutritional content is 4 times more than normal flower honey) and is abundant in amino acids, vitamins and minerals. If you have a sore throat this winter taking a spoonful of Manuka will stop the sore-throat causing strep bacteria and boost your immune system.
- Kale – we love kale at Mindful Chef. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse full of iron, vitamin K and antioxidants. All of which are essential for good health and optimal digestion. Kale also acts as an anti-inflammatory helping to fight against asthma, arthritis and auto-immune diseases. If you want to stay on top of your health this christmas and keep your body functioning optimally ensure you include kale in your weekly meals. For more information on the benefits of greens in your diet click here.
- Coconut water – if you have over indulged slightly this month and have a hangover, drinking coconut water will revive you and give you that much needed boost to tackle anything the day throws at you. Alcohol acts as a diuretic and serves to diminish electrolytes in the body’s system. Coconut water is great at rehydrating you and can replace those electrolytes you may have lost. Coconut water reduces blood pressure. There is a healthy amount of both Arginine and Potassium in coconut water and they help improve blood circulation, which helps reduce blood pressure.
- Salmon – both achy joints and dry skin can be a massive problem for people during the colder months. Salmon is abundant in Omega-3s which help reduce joint inflammation and can ease muscle soreness from exercise. Packed full of essential fats and anti oxidants salmon helps reduce dry skin by helping the skin stay hydrated. If you goal is weight loss, good fats are very important. Fat helps you absorb vitamins and are vital for your nervous system. Good fats can help regulate cholesterol levels, boost your immune system and brain function.
- SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder affects a lot of people during winter. A decrease in sunlight causes a dip in serotonin levels – the brains natural feel good chemical. We can boost these levels of serotonin if we eat the right foods. These foods need to be high in an amino acid called tryptophan. When combined with a small amount of carbohydrates tryptophan can increase your levels of serotonin and fight the onset of SAD. Make sure to rotate the following foods into your diet and you won’t have to worry about feeling SAD this christmas – *salmon, nuts and seeds, eggs, pineapple and turkey. *
If you need more inspiration for your weekly recipes and want meals that include a lot of the foods mentioned above follow this link.