After the last few week's glorious sunshine and high temperatues there's no doubt that Spring has arrived, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the days of colds and sniffles are over yet. A nutritious and balanced diet is always the best foundation to staying healthy throughout the seasons but sometimes we all might need a little extra help in the form of super foods or vitamins.
My no 1 super food is without a doubt the humble lemon. One lemon contains more than half of the daily vitamin C intake, which can help to boost the immune system but it's also great for ridding the body of toxins, it helps the body to absorb iron and it's also shown to have a positive effect on bone health. I have been known to every now and then peel a lemon and eat it as I would an orange, but I know that might not be for everyone so a much esier way to get a healthy daily dose of lemon is to start the day with some hot water with lemon squeezed into it for a real kick start your system or to drizzle salads and greens with some lemon juice.
Garlic is another wonderful source of vitamin C, and studies have shown that a high intake of garlic can reduce the amount of days suffering from a cold or the flu with as much as 60%. In addition garlic can help to reduce cholcesterol levels and blood pressure and it's rich in anti-oxidants, protecting the cells against cell damage and supporting detoxification of heavy metals e.g lead. I love garlic and fortunately so does my other half, and anyone who has ever been to ours for dinner knows that sometimes the food is so garlicky it glows in the dark. Again this might not be to everyone's taste, and you can always swap the fabulously tasting cloves for capsules with extract instead.
While lemon and garlic may not be the easiest food in the world to love, surely blueberries are. They're sweet, juicy, delicious and can easily be added to a smoothie or a salad, strewn over your morning yoghurt or eaten raw on the go - what's not to love?! Blueberries are packed with anti-oxidants, rich in firbes to keep you feeling full for longer and low in fat, so no need to feel guilty for indulging in these little gems. In fact since blueberries contain a lot of manganese, the more you eat, the stronger your bones will be. Similarly to cranberries, blueberries can help to ward of urinary infections and it's also been known to lessen the symptoms if you have contracted it. So go on - treat yourself to some blueberries every day!
Supplements are exactly that and and you really should try and get what your body needs through your diet, however if your diet is restricted for some reason, they may be useful. While I get a lot of vitamin C naturally through my daily diet I am every now and then a bit short on e.g. vitamin B and amino acids since I don't eat meat or poultry so to support my diet I'll take multivitamins and/or Berocca for that extra boost, but if you take any form of medication, always check with your doctor before starting on a supplement. If despite your best efforts a pesky cold comes calling, add a few drops of Echinaforce to hot or cold water to help manage the symptoms, so you can still get on with the day, making cold days a thing of the past.