5 Days til Winter
Updated: Jun 30, 2019
Tip: Brave the cold.
Grab your gloves, boots, scarf and hat. Wrap yourself up warm and spend time out doors in nature. Research, by Ming Kuo of the University of Illinois, found evidence that spending time in nature provides protection against a wide range of diseases including obesity, depression, diabetes, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, ADHD and many more.
Kuo explained that while we are in nature our parasympathetic nervous system takes charge, placing our body in a state of "rest and digest" as opposed to the "fight or flight" (sympathetic nervous system) state that dominates during our busy, every day lives.
In this more relaxed state, the body can devote more energy to growing and reproducing immune cells to strengthen the immune system.
In addition, spending more time outdoors reduces our exposure to the contagious winter viruses and bacteria, while sunlight gives us an immune boosting dose of vitamin D.
Our primary source of vitamin D is by absorption through the skin during exposure to the sun. In addition to it's role in bone health and autoimmune regulation, vitamin D strengthens your immune system, reducing your risk of infectious disease. Vitamin D plays a regulatory role in the immune system by triggering a strong, anti-microbial response, which helps to fight off invading pathogens before they become an infection.
Limited sun exposure during the winter puts us at risk of vitamin D deficiency and decreased immunity. Include a daily dose of vitamin D-rich foods on those days when the sunshine is elusive or it is just too cold be outdoors.
Vitamin D-rich foods include: cod liver oil, salmon (canned or fresh), sardines, mackerel, brewer's yeast, eggs.
Recipe of the day:Salmon and Vegetable Curry
This warming curry is a perfect comfort food for a cold, wet wintry day spent indoors or a nourishing feast to come home to after a bracing outdoor adventure on a cool, crisp day. In addition to vitamin D- rich salmon, the herbs and spices provide anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits for an extra immune boost.
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 small onion, peeled & diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon minced/grated ginger
2 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon turmeric powder (or grated fresh)
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 fresh chilli, finely sliced (to taste)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1½ cups coconut milk
500 grams (approx.) skinless salmon fillet, cut into 2cm cubes
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 Handful green beans, trimmed and halved
2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1 Handful coriander/parsley leaves, chopped to serve
1. In a pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onions, garlic, ginger and cook until starting to soften but not brown.
2. Add tomatoes, cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, chilli and sea salt and cook for about 1 to 2 mins until fragrant.
3. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer for 2-3 mins.
4. Add fish, capsicum and beans and cook for about 3 to 5 mins or until cooked through.
5. Serve with brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice. Garnish with coriander/parsley leaves.
(Recipe and photo adapted from Wellnourished.com.au)