With cooler autumn weather approaching, many people can succumb to colds and flus at this time of the year. Life can be busy and stressful, so staying healthy and well is important. Taking the time each day to eat as well as you can and fill your body with nutrients can make all the difference to your health, wellness and energy levels.
So below are some of my top tips on foods to include in your diet as much as possible to help keep your entire system healthy and those pesky sniffles at bay!
Traditional festive spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, carry some impressive health benefits. Cinnamon is a good source of chromium, an essential trace mineral, which has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin activity in the body. This can help to decrease fat storage, prevent metabolised sugar from turning to fat and and may help with weight loss.
Nutmeg, a favourite Christmas flavour, has been used for centuries to boost brain function, to relieve pain, to ease indigestion and as a treatment for bad breath. It can also be sprinkled on warm unsweetened almond milk as a sleep aid before bed.
Delicious roasted with sesame seeds or even blended with frozen berries into a smoothie, beetroot’s beautiful red colour comes from the pigment betacyanin. This boosts liver function and is also absorbed into red blood cells, helping to oxygenate blood and can increase the blood’s ability to carry oxygen by up to 400%.
A good source of iron, beetroot builds the blood, helping it to remain cleansed and pure to transport nutrients to tissues and cells more efficiently. Also an excellent intestinal cleanser, beetroot help to remove mucus, toxins and congestion from the gut and is a good source of antioxidants to help fight the ageing process. They are highly alkaline and also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium and fibre to keep you feeling full for longer.
Garlic tends to be a divisive food, as some people love it while others refuse to touch it. I’m a big fan of garlic, both for the distinctive taste and its wonderful detoxifying properties.
Garlic is powerful in purifying the blood, helps as a digestion enhancer and it works on the lymphatic system to help eliminate waste.
In the intestines, it promotes peristalsis to move waste out of the body, and it boosts the secretion of digestive juices. A strong antiseptic, garlic helps to kill bacteria and infectious diseases and inflammation in the intestinal tract.
Allicin is the active ingredient in garlic. It is a sulphur compound which helps to inhibit the growth of bacteria and internal yeast infections. Chop raw garlic and leave it out in the air for a couple of minutes to allow the allicin to convert into its active form. I swear by eating at least three cloves of raw garlic a day to kill a cold!
Nicknamed ‘The jewel of Autumn’, pomegranates have been cherished for centuries for their incredible health benefits. A superfood, they’re low in calories but high in nutrients and a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and fibre. Three types of antioxidants – tannins, anthocyanins and ellagic acid – are present in pomegranates and these help to mop up and neutralise the damaging free radicals which cause cellular damage and accelerated ageing. I love pomegranate seeds sprinkled over salads, such as my quinoa and rocket salad with pomegranate, avocado and toasted pecans!