Design your diet and enjoy the fruits of your labour

Mulled wine, fluffy snowflakes, hot chocolates & Christmas movies (plus rising utility bills as we try and stay warm). Yes, the next few months have plenty  going  for  them  but  as  the  colder  temperatures  descend  on  us  and  the longer nights become the norm, looking after our immunity should be at the top of our wish list this year (no… I don’t think Santa can grant that wish).

The onset of the Covid-19 global pandemic has brought health and immunity to the  forefront  of  the  nation’s  mind  and  coupled  with  colder months, we tend to spend more time indoors, which also provides the ideal breeding  ground  for  other  viruses  like  the  flu  to  spread.  Don’t  forget,  the lack of sunlight also has it’s role to play in making us more  susceptible  to illnesses. How did this  turn  from  oh  so  joyous  to  doom  and  gloom?  Well lucky for you, there’s plenty you can do  to  stay healthy whilst also enjoying the odd cup of eggnog by the fire.

Stay with me to learn about certain fruits that are bursting with vitamins and nutrients to help give you that oomph to you get through this winter.

POMEGRANATE: Did you know this means apple with many seeds?
Native to the middle east, & packed with antioxidants – already a winner. Who doesn’t love these? Especially since they will protect you from free radicals (the bad guys) with the added bonus of giving your skin that extra youthful glow. Also high in potassium and fiber, these fruits have recently caught the social media limelight but have been around for years.  Its edible seeds (known as arils) can be added to salads for that extra crunch or eaten solo and are the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Alternatively, they can be added to your diet via juice, though if store bought, watch out for those added sugars.

GRAPEFRUIT: Child of a sweet orange and pomelo accidentally bred together
Initially called the forbidden fruit and one of the ‘seven wonders of Barbados’,   it’s packed with Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for keeping   your immune system in tip top shape, helping with healthy eyes, skin and  mucus membranes, while Vitamin C helps build collagen and also helps with  iron absorption, buh-bye low immunity. Personally not one of my favourites,    but mixed in with some Greek yogurt and a drizzle of manuka honey and its rather more tasty.

KIWI: It got its name from the uncanny resemblance to New Zealand’s national bird ‘fuzzy brown kiwi.’
I can’t speak highly enough of this one, but I’ll try my best to do it justice – bursting with rich nutrients. Starting from its vibrant look, I conjure images of sitting on a tropical beach with a fruit salad topped with kiwi – pure perfection. For all those ”fitness freaks” (myself included), kiwi contains enzymes that assist in protein absorption. So if your increase your protein intake post workout, this is a great treat to help deliver nutrients to those exhausted muscles. If you are after a bit of self care in the beauty department, kiwi is known as a key ingredient in DIY face masks with anti ageing and exfoliating properties. Heck, if you don’t want to eat it, you can just apply it! Did you know, kiwis have similar amounts of potassium as bananas and a greater amount of Vit C than oranges.

Like that’s not impressive enough, it has almost twice the amount of vitamin E of avocados and nowhere near the same calories! Selling it much, am I?

These are a great addition to smoothies adding vibrant colour (to get that perfect social media pic) whilst giving you that much needed winter immunity boost. For all those mums to be, kiwi contains folate which is uber important for the healthy development of your baby, so make sure you add at least a couple of them to your trolley on your next food shop.

BERRIES: The Avengers amongst fruits
Raspberries are famous for their high fiber count which will keep your bowel movements regular, whilst emerging a clear Vitamin C winner in the race with oranges. Small & mighty, they enhance feelings of satiety and are one of the fruits that come to mind when you think of weight management. Ranking in the top ten of antioxidant fruits with the added bonus of being anti inflammatory, clearly it has one hell of a CV. Tasty enough to be enjoyed on their own with no assistance required from other food groups, they’ll be sure to keep you healthy and radiant all year round.

Let’s take a minute to appreciate the strawberry… and 59,60! Part of the rose family, they taste as sweet as they smell. Nitrate rich, means nitrate oxide rich, responsible for improving blood flow, increasing exercise performance and associated with lowering blood pressure. Also containing B6 (helps with the production of red blood cells) Vitamin K, (known as the clotting vitamin), fiber, folic acid & potassium. Impressive nutritional profile right? Literally a treasure trove of nutritional goodness, so it goes without saying it’s time to stock up on those strawberries to replenish. Plus red is a fetching winter colour, if I may say so myself. Win win I’d say. And in case you didn’t know, be sure to eat them whole, as slicing them up means exposing them to light and oxygen which can break down their Vitamin C content(always learning something new right?). Here’s a new cooking tip for you to try; roast your strawberries to enhance their sweet vibe without adding sugar for the perfect topping for oatmeal bars.

Ah and finally, blueberries. My son’s favorite. These have powerful nutritious tricks up their sleeves. The highest antioxidant (flavonoids) prowess which reduce cell damage. Yes please! Also boosts heart health and immunity. Apparently known to put you in a better mood, and with no side effects – sign me up! Pretty good by the handful but even better in the occasional baked treat. Or if you fancy it, mix them in to your salad for some crunch and flavour.

That’s all folks. Think you have enough there to get you started. This winterized fruit list will definitely help keep your immune system thriving. Incorporating these fruits in your diet by no means guarantees a one way ticket to health (aaaw shucks, now I break it to you!) but it puts you on the right track.

Remember staying active, H20-ing regularly, and being mindful of the foods (not just fruits) you eat all play a part. And by the way, If you want to have a further chat or work up a bespoke healthy diet plan, don’t hesitate to get in touch (yourhealth@mydesignerdiet.com).

Although my primary job is working within the investment banking industry for the last 10 years, I have always had a passion for health and nutrition. Having recently become a first time mum, I decided to study nutrition to ensure I could effectively incorporate the best meals and snacks for my child and family with the hope of being able to help people within the wider community with tips, advice and even consultations. As I’ve always believed and said, ‘it’s never too late to take care of your body, after all it’s the only place you have to live.

www.mydesignerdiet.co.uk

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