Do you know what one of the most frustrating things about winter is? Colds. We've had something yucky brewing at our house for the last couple of days. The baby came home from our weekend getaway with a drippy yucky nose, and now I'm waiting for it to roll through the rest of the family.
Everyone blames the cold weather (hence the name, right?), but is the cold really to blame? Well, yes and no. The temperature actually has no effect on your immune system at all. The reason we see a spike in cold and flu symptoms in the winter is actually because we stay inside. Indoor air quality is always poor in comparison with the fresh air of the outdoors. But when the weather is bad we stay inside, in close quarters with our family, friends, co-workers, and schoolmates. As we share our indoor air, viruses are released into the air through coughs, and sneezes, and we all breath that shared air. Not to mention all the surface germs we share. So yes, cold weather causes colds, but only because it forces us to stay inside, with each other.
While I encourage youto get outside as much as possible, we need to take other precautions to try to prevent illness, or shorten the duration of colds when they hit. So here are a few tips:
Most of these tips are easy, and to the point. Just do it. But eating a balanced diet is much easier said than done. You'll quickly learn that the number one recommendation I have for my clients is eating a balanced diet. I have no better recommendation for anyone looking to improve their overall health than to eat a balanced diet. Did I mention that I'm a fan of a balanced diet? Consider yourselves warned, I'm going to sound like a broken record on this one. Now let me help you figure out how to do that.
If you monitor what you eat, you might be surprised to find the areas in your diet that are lacking. So many people stress about getting enough protein, because protein is so important (another post for another day), however, many people are surprised to learn that they are falling short in grains, fruits or vegetables. Everyone is different, so watch what you are eating, and lets find out where you fall short.
For me it was fruits and vegetables. I love them, but I was simply not getting enough in my diet. The recommended daily intake of vegetables is 4 servings (for active adult women and most men), and 3 servings of fruit. I was closer to 3 vegetable servings and 1-2 fruit servings. I had an imbalance. My diet was too heavy on grains and dairy. So I needed to make a change. I found that I struggled in the fruits and vegetables for two reasons. I was bored with them, or they were too time consuming. It's so much easier to drink a glass of milk, or eat a granola bar, and as a mom of four, I'm all about efficient eating. But I also love good food, and variety. So today I'm sharing with you a fruit salad that I LOVE. I stumbled across it just after Thanksgiving when I made poor food choices ABUNDANTLY, and needed something to get me back on track. It is also an excellent fit for that last tip on my list for staying healthy this winter because it's about as packed with vitamin C as any recipe could ever be. It's Once Upon a Chef's Citrus and Pomegranate Fruit Salad.
I LOVE this recipe. It only has 3 ingredients. Pomegranate, Oranges, and Grapefruit. Click here for her step by step directions in preparing it. It's not hard, but she has mastered how to efficiently prepare it. I usually make a big batch and munch on it throughout the week. I'll wrap this up with a brief explanation of the benefits of this salads ingredients. Read about them, combine them in a salad, and I'm pretty sure you can't go wrong. Especially since it tastes good. You really can't go wrong when it tastes good.
Grapefruit: Rich in vitamin C, which plays a role in replenishing vitamin E in the body. It is also low in cholesterol. Grapefruit plays a role in preventing kidney stones as it contains d-limonene that prevents their formation and aids in their dissolve. It also helps reduce inflammation associated with asthma and arthritis, aids in weight loss, and is known to help prevent cancers.
Pomegranate: Rich in fiber, protein (surprise), vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. It also has rich antioxidants in that make it 3 times more powerful than red wine and green tea. Pomegranates also have an anti inflammatory effects which make them a powerful tool in preventing major diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes (type 2), Alzheimer's, and obesity. Sign me up!
Oranges: Rich in fiber, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin B6. Like Pomegranate, oranges are rich in antioxidants, which promote healthy skin. Oranges also are low in cholesterol, and can help lower your cholesterol. Oranges can aid in preventing a number of diseases including lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, kidney stones, stomach ulcers, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia, rheumatism and diabetes.