It’s post Christmas and it can only mean one thing… Sales and Special offers!
Traditionally it’s the time of year when retailers brace themselves for our new year resolutions to kick start a healthy new year and Centre Court Wimbledon is no exception!
I hauled myself out of my Christmas Day “food coma” and headed over to Centre Court Wimbledon on Boxing Day, determined to bag myself a few essentials to ensure my new year gets off to a great start health-wise. With a whole host of winter health essentials available at Centre Court Wimbledon, I was not disappointed.
Here’s my 5 key New Year health tips to get you started:
1. Boost your Immune Health
Unfortunately we’ve reached that dreaded time of year again – the season of colds and sniffles, and general strain on our immune system. We are 80% more likely to catch a common cold in winter. The lack of humidity in the air during the winter months combined with lower temperatures means the cold viruses survive better and are easily passed between people during the prolonged periods spent indoors.
Surrounded by pills and potions that promise to help boost our immune system, leaving us fighting fit and able to avert the onset of a cold, it can be difficult to identify which ones are actually worth taking. With so many conflicting claims, fancy packaging and varying prices; let’s untangle the myths from the facts when it comes to immune-boosting ingredients:
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a key nutrient our body needs, protecting the integrity of the cells, as well as supporting the production and function of white blood cells. It is also an antioxidant so it fights free radicals in the body and helps to protect from cell damage. Although vitamin C is found in many fruit and vegetables, it cannot be stored by the body so we need to eat foods rich in vitamin-C daily. This isn’t always possible, so a supplement is worth considering.
When looking for a supplement, a daily 1000mcg is ideal; anything less will not provide a sufficient therapeutic effect.
- Vitamin D
Now that winter has truly set in, our need for Vitamin D becomes even greater.
Unlike other vitamins, the body produces Vitamin D by exposing the skin to ultra-violet light – the Sun! 10-15 minutes of sunshine 3 times a week is recommended; without sunscreen. (Apply after for protection). Most people meet some of their needs in this way. However, From November to March, it is very difficult to maintain good vitamin D levels from sunlight alone.
With so many cloudy days and an indoor lifestyle, it is essential to increase your vitamin D intake either through the diet or as a supplement.
Vitamin D is found in the following foods:
- Dairy Products; Cheese, Milk, Butter, Eggs
- Oily Fish; Sardines, Tuna, Salmon, Mackerel
- Fortified Breakfast Cereals
As well as maintaining strong bones and teeth, vitamin D plays an important role for your immune system and also supports muscle function. More and more studies are emerging identifying the many roles vitamin D plays within the body and the recommended daily allowance is frequently increased.
Vitamin D3 is the most readily absorbable form; up to 10 times more effective than vitamin D2. Research suggests we should be taking 2000iu of vitamin D daily, but those who are deficient or need an extra boost can take up to 5000iu safely.
Although probiotics are not the first thing that spring to mind when you think about supporting your immune system, up to 70% of the immune system cells are located in the gut and so when you think about it, having a well functioning gut is essential to provide an optimal environment for the immune system cells to thrive in.
Numerous species of bacteria grow together synergistically in the gut to support optimal healthy bacterial balance in the large intestine. The use of plant enzymes is also beneficial to the breakdown of complex carbohydrates and starches, which promotes bacterial growth within the gut. We should be looking for a probiotic that contains clinically backed species such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium Lactis.
Head over to Superdrug, Boots or Holland and Barrett for some great choices and great prices.
2. Stay Hydrated
After the excesses of the festive period, staying hydrated can help to detoxify and restore your energy levels. Even mild dehydration can impair focus and alertness as well as causing symptoms such as anxiety, tiredness and fatigue. Drink plenty of water and try to limit coffee, which can leave you feeling tired and sleepy after the initial boost. Green tea contains less caffeine as well as L-Theanine, which is calming. Try Green Jasmine Tea from Crabtree & Evelyn or if you want to avoid caffeine all together, opt for their Wellness Collection which includes the following delicious range of herbal infusions; a Cleanse Tea, Super fruits, The Rocks Detox and Sleepy Tea. The top quality brand Heath & Heather as well as Pukka at Holland & Barrett, also offer a healthy warm beverage alternative. How about the White Tea, Fennel & Peppermint, Green Tea & Lemongrass or a Matcha Green Tea and the good news is that these are available as part of their “Penny Sale” offers.
If you’re looking for something more refreshing, how about a Coconut water, which is low in sugar and can also provide some key minerals to help restore balance. These ranges at Holland & Barrett are a good choice.
3. Stay away from sugar loaded snacks
On many occasions as snack or energy that is labelled as healthy is in fact sugar laden and far from healthy as the marketing implies. If you’re looking for a healthy snack to keep you going in between meals, unsalted nuts are an ideal choice; like omega-3 rich walnuts or almonds, which are a good source of Vitamin E. Alternatively, try a thin spread of a good quality nut butter such as the Pip & Nut range on some sliced apple or an oatcake. The Real Handful range at Holland & Barrett is also a good packaged option to keep to hand if you’re on-the-go.
If weight loss is your goal, ideally you can do without a snack and ensure that each meal is satisfying and nutrient rich. Boost your Breakfast with protein and fibre rich Chia seeds; add the to your porridge oats or a smoothies.
4. Introduce a regular sleep routine
Sleep is the time when our bodies rest and repair and without good quality sleep, this process cannot take place efficiently. Studies have shown that those with poor sleep quality have insufficient magnesium levels.
As the body’s natural tranquiliser, Magnesium can help to induce a good night’s sleep and one of the best ways to boost your Magnesium levels is by using an oil directly onto your skin or adding it to your bath at the end of the night, when it can be absorbed directly into your system. Soak for at least 20 mins in a warm bath for maximum absorption.
Try the range from Better You or this relaxing bath soak at Holland & Barrett
5. Get outdoors
With our routines disrupted over the festive period, it’s likely that you haven’t been as active as usual. It’s time to slowly pick up your activity levels with a gentle routine and walking is ideal. A brisk walk outdoors will leave your refreshed and energised for the day and help you to resume your daily routines with vigour and enthusiasm. If you’re worried about the weather, why not grab yourself a bargain at Trespass and kit yourself out with the some fabulous outdoor clothing and footwear, that’ll last for this winter and beyond.