This winter has done a doozy on us all, it seems. We’ve made intention over the years to learn strategies that support wellness from some pretty smart people in the fitness, nutritional, and medical world and what we keep hearing leads us to these 6 powerhouse recommendations. We utilize them in our house and, with consistent use, they’ve made such a difference in the way we’re able to support our health. Mind you, this doesn’t mean we never get sick (in fact, the 12 hour flu fairy visited some of us this past weekend) but when we do, we seem to ride it out more smoothly and get back to our strong selves again quickly.
1. Sleep: We put this first for a reason…sleep trumps all! Aim for 7-8 hours a night of zzzs. Good things happen when you are able to get deep rest…memory improves, muscles repair and grow, your metabolism is happy, the immune system is supported, and your brain and body just function better.
2. Gentle Movement: Exercise is good for making us look good, but did you know there are thousands of benefits for the inside of your body you can’t necessarily see or feel? We usually tote more intense exercise as best for fat loss (since it is) but don’t forget to pair this with gentler, less-intense movement. A toned-down lifting session, going for a leisurely walk, playing outside, simply moving more helps hormones to stay balanced and de-stresses the body, making the immune system less taxed.
3. Fruits and Vegetables: Flood your body with as much variety and volume as possible. Recommendations are 7-13 servings every day and if you’re feeling under the weather, bumping that up to 10-15 servings a day is suggested. Why? Fruits and veggies contain thousands of plant nutrients (including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavenoids, pre- and probiotics and other phytos) all working together in synergy to make your cells work the way they should. Real food is best, which is why we eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible and also take Juice Plus+. Since it’s actual food – just ground up whole fruits & vegs (water and sugar removed) put into capsules or chewables – we feel good sharing this product with you. With 4 studies proving it balances the immune system among other benefits, we don’t go a day without it! Learn more here, schedule a time with Jess, or talk to another rep you know to see if adding 30 raw fruits and veggies to your bloodstream everyday might impact your family like is has ours. It costs about the same as a couple bottles of water a day and can make a difference whether you already eat loads of plants or haven’t tried a bite of parsley or papaya ever in your whole life.
4. Vitamin D3 and Omega-3: Did you know Vitamin D3 is actually a hormone produced by the sun? Since we don’t get much sunlight year-round in Michigan (insert frowny face here), it’s probably true that we are all walking around with pretty severe Vitamin D3 deficiencies. Vitamin D3 is huge for more than just strong bones and teeth. Adequate levels are vital for good moods, the health of the immune, brain, and nervous system, and even influence the expression of genes involved in cancer development (remember, the things we do can turn genes on or off!). Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods like fish and seeds (flax, chia, etc) and are the “good fats” essential for your nervous system and overall brain and immune health. Load your plate with Omega-3s everyday and to support your health even more, add a fish or seed-oil supplement. We likethis brand that combines these two agents if you’re not getting enough from the sun or from food.
5. Probiotics: Your gut is referred to as “the body’s 2nd brain” and is the leader of your immune system. Keep all systems happy by ensuring you’ve got lots of good bacteria fighting off the bad guys. Expand your palate by welcoming foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented goodness. Drinks like kefir and kombucha also are gut-healing and therefore, immune-balancing. Taking a supplement (look for soil-based options) can also be helpful and this is one we’ve been liking.
6. Elderberries: If you haven’t munched on elderberries in a while :), consider adding Juice Plus+ Vineyard blend to get them in your body everyday, and/or make this delicious syrup recipe from our friend Melissa from the Real Food Eater. Elderberries, especially when taken in the winter months, can inhibit an enzyme responsible for spreading infection to cells.
There you go! Our powerhouse nutritional “helpers” we use regularly (and most – daily!). There are a lot of fires going on in our bodies…these 6 suggestions are simple ways to pour water on those flames and keep you strong and feeling good. Which ones will you try? Let us know here!
Jess (and the rest of the gang at Valeo)