Have those dark mornings got you hitting the snooze button? Or is the office cold doing the rounds? We caught up with THR1VE Nutritionist Shannon Young to get her easy wellness hacks for winter.
Staying healthy during the chilly months can be a challenge. Especially when there’s comfort foods and Netflix marathons calling your name. But there’s a few simple ways to keep your nutrition on track and help protect yourself against those pesky winter colds.
Seek out lower-carb alternatives
Understandably, those morning gym sessions or even just a morning stroll are far less appealing when it’s dark and freezing! If you’re naturally more sedentary in the winter months, you’ll want to adjust your nutrition accordingly. “This doesn’t mean you have to completely swap out the winter comfort foods you love, but rather opt for lower-carb alternatives on less active days,” says THR1VE Nutritionist Shannon Young. “It’s often as simple as swapping out white rice or pasta for fibre-rich veggies instead.” For example, pair your curries with roasted cauliflower or seasonal greens, team slow-cooked meats with shredded cabbage or swap out half your regular pasta with zucchini or carrot noodles. “When you’re more sedentary, these are all nutritious alternatives to higher carb sides,” says Young. “Plus, these swaps do double duty: they help prevent weight gain and supply an abundance of vitamins and minerals, too.” Win win!
Choose immune-boosting foods
Pasta, red wine and a cheese plate might be on the menu more often over winter, but make sure you’re still getting enough nutrient-rich foods. This is the time you really want to support your immune system and flood your body with vitamins and minerals.
There’s a few go-to ingredients that can help boost immunity so you don’t catch that annoying office cold. “Bone broth is perfect on its own or as a base in slow-cooked meals and soups. It helps support gut health, which is critical because our gut is where about 80% of our immune cells reside,” Young explains. “As always, you’ll want to get in plenty of veggies. Carrots are delicious when roasted and contain beta carotene, a powerful phytonutrient that boosts the immune system.”
Turmeric and ginger are great to add to meals, too. “Turmeric contains the active ingredient curcumin which is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and high in antioxidants,” Young says. “Ginger boasts antimicrobial properties and boosts the immune system by combating cellular damage. Like turmeric, it is a potent antioxidant and it’s anti-inflammatory and can help stimulate digestion.”
Young also recommends citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, helping maintain the body’s defence against infection. A squeeze of lemon each morning in some warm water is the perfect way to start the day during the colder months.
Be smart with hydrationLastly, even though we’ve said goodbye to the warm summer days, staying hydrated is still really critical. “Hydration is key for everything from cognitive function to digestion, so you want to make sure you’re still drinking plenty of water,” says Young. It’s really easy to forget over winter!
As it gets cooler, it’s also a great time to invest in some health-promoting herbal teas. Young suggests swapping out a cup of coffee for a turmeric latte made with turmeric, almond milk, ginger, cinnamon and honey. It’s a delicious immune-boosting winter warmer!