Monday, 21 October 2013

Fending Off Flu Symptoms

With the cold weather and winter days approaching, most of us will start to feel those inevitable cold and flu symptoms as our noses begin to run, and all we can handle is lying in bed watching our favourite TV drama with a hot pumpkin spice latte in hand. But, is there a way to prevent this scenario, and fend off the flu symptoms that nobody has the time or energy for?

There may not be a "magic cure" or preventative way to make our bodies resistant to any illness, but there are nutritional strategies that can be implemented to ensure we are at our best when this flu season comes around.

1. Pumpkin: I'm sure most of you haven't heard of pumpkin as a remedy to colds and flus, but in reality, this is just one of many orange vegetables that has an antioxidant effect as they are packed full of beta-carotene. Make sure you're including bright vegetables in your diet at least three times per week!

2. Kiwi: This is a quick and easy way to consume an entire day's worth of Vitamin C! Other options to ensure you're getting your recommended intake of Vitamin C are broccoli and red peppers.

3. Milk: Milk is a rich source of Vitamin D, and as the darker days of winter approach, we aren't getting as much Vitamin D from the sun. This vitamin-packed drink provides a great immunity boost, and just a few glasses a day can provide the vitamins we need. If you aren't a milk drinker, other sources of Vitamin D are fortified juices, fish (salmon), and eggs.

4. Oysters: This one may seem a little strange, and even unappetizing to most of you, but the real magic behind oysters is their zinc content. Studies involving zinc have seen an improvement in immunity, and not very much is needed for this effect- only about one serving, or 13 milligrams of zinc. Other zinc-rich foods are beef, spinach, cashews, and cocoa (now there's an appetizing zinc source!)

5. Water: This may be the single most important nutrient in both preventing colds, and also fighting them off once they appear. Our body is comprised primarily of water, so maintaining high levels of this essential nutrient can promote healthy blood and muscle, and well, pretty much healthy everything! Hydration becomes even more important once an illness is present, as fluids are lost readily through runny noses, sneezing, and fevers.

So stay hydrated and well-nourished, and good luck with the upcoming winter season!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Something that always seems to be a constant in the fall is pumpkin, and what better way to celebrate and welcome the change of colors with some Healthy Pumpkin Spice Muffins.

The ingredient list may be long but I kid you not, these things are amazing, and made butter and vegetable oil free.  This recipe is my favorite because it sneaks in some carrot, and who doesn’t love carrots.

            1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
            1/2 cup whole wheat flour
            2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
            1-1/2 tsp baking powder
            1 tsp baking soda
            1/2 tsp sea salt
            1 cup canned pure pumpkin (This is NOT pumpkin pie filling)
            1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
            1/2 cup raw honey, melted
            1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
            1 egg
            1 tsp pure vanilla extract
            1 cup finely grated carrots
            1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

First, preheat your oven to 375F. Next you’ll want to spray your muffin tin or you can just use muffin cups, whatever fits your taste.
In one separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, excluding the chocolate chips.
In another bowl, mix together all of the other ingredients, whisking them until they’re fluffy.
Finally, combine the two bowls and mix well. The dark chocolate chips are optional, but remember that they do have health benefits!
Bake them for about 20 minutes, but keep an eye on them. With a tooth pick, you will be able to see whether or not they’re done.

Happy baking!