In winter it’s easy to find excuses not to exercise, and to stay indoors with the heater on! You’re even less likely to change your slippers for your Nikes if you’re feeling run down, have aches and pains, or the sniffles!
So to keep you motivated and ready to move this winter, you’ll need a combination of warming winter foods, rich in low GI carbohydrates for energy and high in micronutrients for boosting immunity and reducing aches and pains. These pre-workout meal suggestions tick all the boxes, and are sure to get you up of the couch!
Blueberries are appearing on almost every ‘superfood’ list, and for good reason. We know that these nutrient-dense berries are a great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants, but that’s just the beginning. In 2013, the journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research published a study showing a relationship between pterostilbene (a phytonutrient found in blueberries), vitamin D, and an increased number of infection-fighting T-cells. Stir through fresh or frozen blueberries through your low-GI pancake batter recipe using wholemeal or buckwheat flour to keep you fighting fit - rain hail or shine!
Did you know one of the most important organs involved in our immune system is our gut? That’s right – about 70% of our immune system activity is organised by the innermost layers of our gastrointestinal tract. Yoghurt is one of the richest sources of probiotics, which help to look after the health of your gut. Top your next bowl of wholegrain oats with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt for a gut-friendly, energising breakfast that will keep the flu away despite the cold weather.
The humble sardine is making a comeback! These little fish are one of the most potent sources of Omega -3 fatty acids, which protect your immune system and joint health, as well as your heart. Did you know that sardines are also one of the very few dietary sources of vitamin D? Vitamin D deficiency is more than just a problem for your bones, it has also been linked with altered immunity and many chronic diseases. So if you are planning to do your exercise class indoors, sardines are a great option! Enjoy them on a slice of multigrain toast to really fuel your workouts!
Turmeric has been used for centuries in South East Asia as a natural healer. Many of its disease-fighting benefits, which range from fighting the common cold to protecting joint health and anti-tumor activity, are linked with curcumin - the compound responsible for turmeric’s bright yellow colour. Golden milk is an excellent pre-workout for those who prefer a light option. The recipe involves creating a paste with turmeric root, black pepper and ginger, which is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Mix the paste with milk and honey for slow release carbohydrates, and you’re ready to pound the pavement!
Written by Samantha Cowan - a Melbourne based Accredited Practising Dietitian and Sports Dietitian who believes that healthy eating should be flavoursome, fast and fuss-free.