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Top Tips to Stay Healthy This Winter

19 March 2018


Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist and Chef, Aliya Holland shares her top tips for keeping colds and flu at bay during winter.

Staying healthy during winter can be challenging for most of us, but it does not have to be that way. Pack in essential nutrients and boost your diet with these simple tips.

Up Your Vitamin C Intake

It goes without saying that eating foods that are high in vitamin C will help keep your immune system strong. We are lucky enough in South Africa that citrus fruits are in season during winter which makes shopping for them a breeze. Try starting your day with the juice of 1 orange or 1/2 lemon. Serve your family citrus as a snack. If you are not a fruit fan, then vegetables like capsicum peppers and broccoli are just as rich in Vitamin C.

Baobab Powder as a Source of Vitamin C

Baobab powder is a natural food powder that is a rich source of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, thiamin, fibre and vitamin B6. It is more bioavailable than manufactured supplements and is easily absorbed by the body. It also tastes great, much like sherbet and can be consumed in a variety of easy ways like adding it to pressed juices, shakes or smoothies.

Curb Increased Appetite with Whole Grains and Fibre

It’s quite common for appetites to increase during winter, so it’s important to choose foods that offer bulk and fibre without adding too many calories. Foods that achieve this are whole grains and fibre as they are likely to keep you fuller for longer. They offer a multitude of nutrients and are rich in minerals. Legumes such as chickpeas and lentils are also quite beneficial and have a similar effect. Here some good grains and fibre you can add to your meal plan:

  • Quinoa
  • Whole buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Brown rice
  • Barley
  • Bulgur wheat

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise helps lower the risk of disease, so it’s vital that we somehow incorporate it into our lifestyle. Aim for a minimum of 20 minutes of some kind of exercise per day. Consistent aerobic exercise for five or more days a week for more than 20 minutes a day, rises above all other lifestyle factors in lowering sick days during the winter months.

Eat Foods That Are Rich in Probiotics

Your colon is where food you eat is processed and nutrients are reabsorbed into the bloodstream. The colon is also an ideal place for bacteria to grow. Most people consume very little fibre but consume too sugar, salt, and processed foods which makes it easy for “bad bacteria” to proliferate, resulting in an imbalanced colon. This causes your immune system to work overtime just to keep things in check, and of course this may cause it to crash. If your colon isn’t able to do its job well then chances of health complications are higher than average.

The best way to maintain good colon balance is to eat foods that are rich in probiotics such as yogurt or Keifer. Probiotic supplements are also great. There are numerous ways to improve your immune system and quick fixes or “wonder cures” are probably your worst bet. Taking a multi-disciplined approach will yield the best results as it allows you to test what works best for you.


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