AIYANA Nutrition is rooted in supporting you in your times of need–and let’s face it, longer and colder days are upon us. With this weather comes the looming threat of cold and flu season. And we cannot stress the importance of nutrient dense foods to supercharge your immune system enough. It’s time you assemble your defence using food so you can stay on top of your busy holiday schedule.
Let’s dig into some of our immune-boosting superpower vitamins and minerals that we can’t get enough of during this season. The best part about these vitamins and minerals is that they were hand selected to be in AIYANA meals because we know how essential immune health is for the mind and the body.
The king of the castle is, naturally, vitamin C. Vitamin C has so many uses and benefits. It’s known for its antioxidant properties and flu-fighting powers. Vitamin C works to protect our cells from external damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals can be anything from toxin exposure, radiation, pollution etc. Vitamin C is also essential for the growth and repair of tissues making it an excellent vitamin for any type of health concern–cardiovascular, immunity, pre/post natal, anti-aging and so many more. Vitamin C can be found in more than just citrus fruits, it actually may be more abundant in green vegetables although both fruits and veggies provide bioavailable sources. You can find King C in all of our bowls, smoothies, soups and stews!
Zinc is an essential mineral that is needed for a healthy immune system. Its uses go beyond immune health by helping with hundreds of enzymatic processes in the body that target metabolism, absorption of nutrients, and repair and growth of tissues. An essential mineral or vitamin means that the body doesn’t store or make it - meaning, you need to be eating it everyday. Zinc is highest in meats, fish, seafood and legumes which means our Beef + Broccoli Bowl, Flank Steak, Bolognese Sauce, and Hummus are the best way to ensure you are getting necessary zinc from your diet.
Vitamin A, or Beta-Carotene is anti-inflammatory for the entire body. When the body is inflamed, it cannot fight off exposure to toxins. Vitamin A is especially known for its mucous membrane strengthening properties, which can act as a physical barrier in fighting off the common cold. Ensuring vitamin A in your diet is a powerful way to help your body fight off unwanted viruses both internally and externally. An important caveat about vitamin A is that it is fat soluble, meaning that it must be eaten with dietary fat to ensure absorption. Our favourite food sources of vitamin A are kale, sweet potato, carrots, eggs and red peppers!
Vitamin E is another fat soluble vitamin that you want to pay attention to this season. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and works in conjunction with Vitamin C to act as an immunomodulator. This means it helps support the immune system by controlling the body’s response to invading pathogens. Food sources of Vitamin E include almonds, hazelnuts, and pine nuts–all of which can be found in AIYANA breakfasts, sweets and bowls!
Vitamin B6 is not only an important pre and postnatal vitamin, but it’s also crucial for immune health thanks to its ability to create red blood cells and support the lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system is like the body’s sewage system, mopping up all bi-products and toxins that have been excreted by the tissues, organs, and cells. A sluggish lymphatic system makes it difficult for the body to effectively eliminate these toxins and can cause reabsorption, which leads to inflammation and re-circulation of harmful pathogens. Our Turkey Zucchini Burger Bites, Oven Roasted Chicken Breast, Hummus, Fuel Good Smoothie, and Breakfast Cookie all contain vitamin B6 and are great options to add into your diet this holiday season!
Last but not least, never forget about the negative effect that stress and refined sugar have on the immune system. Prolonged periods of stress can quite literally shut off your immune system defence and cause your adrenals to go into overdrive. When you are stressed, cortisol and adrenaline are pumped throughout your body causing natural cravings for refined foods that will provide a readily-absorbed glucose source. But when adrenals are in overdrive, they deplete essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C–ironic right?! Some of our favourite ways to unwind from the hectic day are getting to bed early, eating nutrient-dense meals, or taking a relaxing bath to help the body recover and keep our immune systems in tip top shape. If you can’t do any of these, it’s always helpful to breathe and give yourself a hug because tomorrow is another day to supercharge your immune system.