With winter now well and truly upon us, it is definitely the season that truly puts our immune system to the test. When we consider that from a general health a vast majority of people have a tendency to be deficient in a number of different nutrients when compared to our recommended amounts, it becomes important to find a way in which to increase nutrient uptake.
This is especially true at this time of year when our diets are often lacking in nutrient dense foods that help support immune function, promote health and support performance, however we can help you fight off those winter bugs with these three simple ways to help you have a healthy and productive new year and beyond.
1. Include a variety of foods in the diet.
Not only does a variety of food in the diet keep food interesting and make dietary adherence more effective, but a variety of different foods is likely to cover all your bases from both a micronutrient and essential nutrient perspective. Obviously here we are not talking about using a variety of your favourite fast food outlets, but by including a variety of fruit, veg and even different protein, fat and carbohydrate sources each day you will more than likely have your micro, macro (essential amino and fatty acids) and fibre requirements covered.
2. Use supplements if required.
If, like me, you sometimes have to eat for convenience or don’t have time to prepare a variety of fresh nutrient dense foods that you would like, then a quality multivitamin and mineral can come to the rescue. The same can be said for meeting our essential amino and fatty acid intake when perhaps our diets aren’t as complete as they should be. Here is a complete guide on vitamins and minerals you may find interesting
Obviously food should always come first, but some supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids can be important for people who don’t eat enough oily fish, complete sources of amino acids such as protein powders can be useful for those who maybe do not eat enough quality protein or for those who have restricted diets, such as vegetarians and vegans. See CSN's wide range of top branded protein powders here.
Even if our diets are ‘on point’ then we may need to get extra help at certain times. In winter the use of vitamin D often comes highly recommended due to an absence of sunlight which we need to produce it, which is an important vitamin for many aspects of health including bone formation, hormone production and immune function.
As it’s that time of year, even the healthiest people with the best diets, are likely to fall foul of the occasional cold and although vitamin C cannot prevent colds as such, some interesting research has shown that a few days of high vitamin C intake (1-2g per day) can potentially help shorten the duration of colds and this can also be used before any large sudden increases in training volume to help support the immune system which will be placed under increased stress.
3. Prepare nutrient packed foods.
Although a varied diet over the course of the day is a great way to get a steady flow of essential nutrients into the body, sometimes it’s just convenient, quicker and often cheaper to prepare foods that pack a nutrient punch.
Smoothies can be a quick and easy way to get an all-in-one hit of nutrients, especially when combining healthy sources of fats, protein powders and blended with greens, fruits and vegetables to create a nutritious and delicious drink that can be kept in the fridge for a few days to encourage consuming our essential macro and micronutrients in a way that doesn’t have to be boring or bland.
On the warmer end of the liquid food spectrum, soups are another way to ensure that we can get in nutrients quickly and easily with a little bit of effort going a long way. Soups, stews and casseroles are great comfort foods perfect for these cold, dark months and even shop bought tinned versions tend to packed with vitamins and minerals, are relatively cheap and are great for even the laziest of ‘chefs’. By simply adding a protein source and topping up with some extra carbs and fats and required you can prepare a tasty, nutrient dense meal in a matter of minutes. To make meal preps even easier, why not buy yourself a meal bag.
So there you have it, some relatively easy ways to help you make sure that you give your body all the essential nutrients it need to have a happy, healthy and strong start to the New Year and beyond. Eating a healthy, balanced and nutritiously complete diet doesn’t have to be time consuming, expensive or require any ‘special’ foods with a little planning and consideration to your needs and for those who really do struggle to eat their fruit and veg regularly, then one of our range of quality, complete multivitamin and mineral supplements are there to help you do the job.
As always Team CSN are here to help, call or email us today and we can give you professional, unbiased advice on all your nutrition and supplement needs.