What to Eat to Stay Healthy This Autumn
Eating right is important all throughout the year if you want to maintain good health, but as we move from summer to autumn it’s never been more important to ensure your daily diet is full of immune-boosting foods. With the colder weather inevitably comes more that can challenge your immune system; viruses and bacteria take hold more easily in enclosed indoor spaces, while the cold air you breathe in during the cooler months means your body isn’t as effective at fighting viruses like colds, flu and COVID-19. Here’s what to stock up on this autumn.
Eat plenty of wholegrains
Wholegrains like beans, lentils, brown rice and oats are packed full of fibre which is essential for many things. As well as helping to improve the health of your gut microbiome, which keeps your immune system robust, research shows that fibre is also beneficial for lung health and so helps maintain a strong respiratory system. On the flip side, highly processed foods such as cured meats are best avoided as they are thought to cause inflammation which can aggravate airways, plus they have a negative impact on the balance of good bacteria in the gut. If you struggle to get enough fibre into your diet – adults should aim for 30g a day – then Workshop’s Gut Cleansing Formula can help. Packed with a blend of 12 soluble and insoluble fibres, it can be easily added to water or smoothies.
Enjoy more berries
Dark fruit and vegetables like blueberries, purple carrots and aubergines contain anthocyanins which help bolster your body’s defences against infections that are more easily transmitted in cold weather. They’re also full of antioxidants, which help counteract the damage that free radicals in the environment do to our immune cells. To ensure you’re getting enough, try a scoop of Workshop’s Essential Greens, which includes kale, nettle and spinach, in water or your morning smoothie.
Have a weekly curry
The joy of homemade curries is you can pack them with whatever you have in the fridge, whether that’s chicken or chickpeas. One ingredient that you should always include in your recipe is turmeric, which is rich in the compound curcumin. Famed for its anti-inflammatory properties that can help support a healthy immune system, curcumin is so powerful because it can cross the blood-brain barrier which allows it to enter the brain and directly impact the cells. As an antioxidant it also helps reduce oxidative stress and boosts the body’s own ability to ward off damage and heal itself. If ginger isn’t usually a feature in your curry pastes, then now is the time to introduce it. Perfect for giving curries a hit of zingy heat, ginger is a brilliant immunity booster thanks to its active ingredient gingerol. An anti- inflammatory that can suppress chronic inflammation which could otherwise harm your immune system, it also has strong anti-bacterial properties.
Eat your vitamin D
During the colder months, particularly in the UK, it’s essential that your diet contains plenty of vitamin D as the sun isn’t strong enough for the body to make it. As well as playing a vital role in bone and muscle health, vitamin D plays a key role in supporting normal function of the immune system by keeping some of the body’s first-line defences strong. In addition to helping in skin cell growth, repair and metabolism, adequate vitamin D levels provide a defence against respiratory pathogens and help reduce inflammation in and heal the gut. Oily fish like sardines and mackerel are good sources, as are egg yolks and fortified plant milks and cereals.