A departure from fashion from me today, but hopefully it's one that you'll find useful and enjoy reading as there's never been a more important time to be healthy. With winter approaching and Covid-19 hanging around like the world's most unwanted guest, all of us need to be looking after ourselves and our loved ones. With this in mind, I turned to the lovely Jo Saunders, nutritionist and co-founder of Eight Food to ask her advice on staying healthy during cough and cold season. Jo has also arranged an exclusive discount for Eight Food, who make deliciously nutritious frozen meals, which are a godsend when you're busy.....
Scroll on for an exclusive Eight Food discount!
At Eight Food, Jo and her partners Georgie and Hattie believe full-heartedly in the art of using food to nourish the body. "Whole foods, including herbs and spices, offer us a wealth of nutrients to support the body to help keep us in good health," explains Jo. "Our range of naturally boosted family friendly freezer meals and recipes focus on optimising key nutrients to target specific health conditions. We spend time designing our recipes to be as nutritious, and delicious, as possible and the most nutrient dense goodies to complement our recipes. Our meals are flash frozen after cooking (we batch cook as you would at home) so we don't need to use any artificial preservatives and can keep the salt content to a minimum."
Jo and the team at Eight Food recognise that at certain times of the year, or at times of increased pressure, our bodies may benefit from a boost from some additional nutrients. As the nights draw in, temperatures drop and we head into the colder months, Jo picks 5 supplements for the whole family that really pack a nutritional punch.
An estimated 80% of our immune system is based in our gut, therefore ensuring a healthy tummy is essential to supporting a strong immune system. Our balance of gut bacteria is affected by many factors, such as antibiotics, stress, medication, excessive modern hygiene and of course the food we eat. You may be familiar with the good bacteria available in small yogurt drinks, and of course in live natural yogurt itself. In order to really give the immune system a boost, taking a course of probiotics (beneficial bacteria) may provide additional support over the winter months. We love OptiBac for babies and children, a combination of well researched pre and probiotics (prebiotics act as a food source for the friendly bacteria) which has been shown in studies to effectively reduce respiratory infections in children. They don't need to be kept in the fridge, and the sachets can easily be opened and stirred into cooled drinks, porridge, stewed/pureed fruit or yogurt, ideally with breakfast. Just try to ensure the food isn't too hot as that may affect the bacteria. Proven Probiotics Fit For School is a great tasting chewable probiotic for older school aged children.
2. Vitamin C
Most of us are aware of the benefits of Vitamin C for immune support. It is important for general health and the immune system, and can also help with absorption of iron. Studies show that it can be beneficial in reducing the length and severity of colds and viruses. Vitamin C can be found blackcurrants, kale, yellow peppers, broccoli, kiwis and of courses oranges. Some children are voracious eaters, yet others do struggle to meet their daily vitamin requirements. If this is the case, we would recommend a Vitamin C supplement. We like Nature's Aid Vitamin C Mini Drops which are super easy to administer. Pukka Vitamin C is also lovely for adults, made from Acerola, Amla & Rosehips.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is required by the body to help absorb calcium and phosphate and is also key for immune health. It is made by our bodies from sunlight which becomes more difficult over the winter months, and can be relatively tricky to find from food in decent quantities. Some foods containing vitamin D include eggs, mushrooms and oily fish. Vitamin D deficiency is much more common than most people realise, and is found in around 50% of adults. The UK Department of Heath states that all children up aged between 6 months and 5 years should be taking a daily vitamin D supplement between October and April, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to support their child's health. We really like Better You DLux Infant Spray and find that children really enjoy the experience of squirting the spray into their mouth! It is also available in a Junior version for those aged over 5, as well as an adult option.
Elderberries are a nutritious super hero, packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants to offer potential powerful immune and antiviral support. There may still some elderberries to be found on the hedgerows if you fancy making your own - we have our own Elderberry Syrup recipe which you can find here. Otherwise we love Pukka Elderberry Syrup, which combines some key herbs such as thyme & black pepper with manuka honey for a lovely supportive combination. It is great to take preventatively over the winter, and increase the dose if needed. We also love Lizzie Loves Natural Remedies Be Well, which can be mixed with water or juice, blended in smoothies or sprinkled on yogurt. It tastes great!
Children can unfortunately be notoriously picky eaters, and studies indicate that many children do not receive adequate nutrients from their a diet. As an insurance policy for mothers that offers peace of mind, it can therefore be helpful to give them a to give children a high quality daily multivitamin. We love Wild Nutrition's Food State Daily Multinutrient (Children's), which provides all the nutrients they need in an easily digestible form. 2 capsules a day are recommended for children aged between 3 and 12, and for younger children these can easily be opened and sprinkled over food such as porridge or yogurt. We also rate My Baba's Multivitamin and Multibiotic, a berry flavoured combination of vitamins, minerals and good bacteria specifically formulated for children aged 12 months to 4 years. The recommended dose is once a day, mixed with water, milk or juice or sprinkled onto yogurt or cereal.
In addition to these supplement suggestions, you can find Eight Food's range of delicious naturally boosted freezer meals plus plenty of immune supporting recipes to nourish your family.