WINTER REMEDIES: Gwyneth Harrison (Guest Blogger) – Boost your Immune System
Winter is finally here and whilst that brings with it all the fun of Christmas, snow and presents it also brings along a less welcome friend- the winter cold. It seems at this time of year that everywhere you look people are coughing, sneezing, spluttering and generally feeling under the weather. So what can you do to protect yourself, boost your immune and make sure you’re not a red-nosed, snivelling zombie during all the upcoming festivities?
Luckily, making some simple changes to your diet can help to ensure your immune system is fired up and ready to destroy all those nasty bugs!
One of the best things you can do is to cut out sugar (I know, I’m sorry!). Sugar is incredibly damaging to the immune system and all forms have been shown to significantly reduce the ability of our white blood cells to destroy bacteria. I know this is one of the toughest times of year to cut out sugar so I’ve posted the recipe for my delicious cashew cinnamon protein balls as a healthy alternative, and what’s more the cinnamon will help to regulate your blood sugar and so will help control those sugar cravings.
It’s also important to make sure you’re eating plenty of immune boosting foods at this time of year and some of the best immune boosters are those foods that contain carotene. The carotenes help to protect your thymus gland, which is the primary gland of your immune system and they also enhance the bacteria killing function of your white blood cells. Carotenes are found in green leafy vegetables, sweet potato, squash, carrots, red peppers and tomatoes. A great immune boosting dish is to drizzle some sweet potato, squash, carrot, tomatoes and peppers drizzled with coconut oil and a sprinkling of cinnamon before roasting in an oven for 45 minutes before serving on a bed of steamed kale and spinach. Simply top with some chicken or salmon for a delicious, easy meal cold fighting meal!
Lastly, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking 5-6 8oz glasses of water a day, get at least 6 -8 hours sleep a night and try to move on average 30 minutes a day and eat a diet made up predominantly of wholefoods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, wholegrains and avoiding refined sugars and heavily processed meals.
Cashew Cinnamon Energy balls
Makes about 10-12 small balls.
1 cup of ground almonds/almond meal. The pulp from making almond milk is ideal for this as it really helps to make the mix stick together.
1 scoop of vanilla/plain vegan protein powder. (I use Sunwarrior Vanilla)
½ cup of ground flaxseeds
1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
1 cup of cashew butter
Mix the almond meal, protein powder and flaxseeds together in a bowl.
Stir in the cashew butter a tablespoon at a time, making sure that it mixes in well.
When all the cashew butter is mixed in, roll the mix into small balls.
Place the ground cinnamon on a piece of baking paper and place on a flat surface.
Roll each ball in the cinnamon until it is completely covered.
Place the balls in the fridge and wait at least 2 hours before eating.