Spring Out Of Winter Hibernation

It’s time to spring out of Winter hibernation and re-energise your body for the start of the coming new season.

Fruit and vegetables can help you do it – and it can start from the moment you wake up.

lemonSlice open a fresh lemon, squeeze some juice into a glass and fill with lukewarm water. The lemon’s zesty zing is a tasty wake-up call and it has some great health benefits to kick start your morning. Fresh lemon is loaded with vitamin C which is great for boosting immunity. It is rich in antioxidants and very high in bioflavonoids to destroy harmful free radicals that damage blood vessels and cause inflammation.

Dr Amy Myers, speaking to Health.com, recommends starting with the juice of a quarter to half a lemon, and filling the rest of the glass with warm water. Doing this first thing in the morning helps the body absorb the nutrients more effectively. Additionally, Dr Myers recommends enjoy refreshing lemon water during the rest of the day as an alternative to soft drinks.

Making a healthy start to your breakfast has never been easier. Adding ripe, fresh strawberries and blueberries to a high fibre cereal or to a warm, comforting porridge is a very quick taste boost the whole family will love. If you’re experiencing sweet cravings during the day, reach for a satisfying strawberry or blueberry instead of chocolate or a biscuit which cause an energy spike then crash because of their processed sugar content.

Strawberries are rich in Vitamin C and one cup contains at least 3.5 grams of fibre and is considered one of nature’s richest sources. According to WebMD.com, a recent study showed people who added more fibre to their diet without changing anything else lost as much weight as those who followed the American Heart Foundation low fat eating plan. And that’s not all – strawberry consumption has been associated with reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, asthma and even cancer!

Blueberries make breakfast even more colourful.

Not only are these juicy morsels tasty and full of fibre, but they are also incredibly high in antioxidants and have been shown to help control blood pressure and help regulate ‘bad’ cholesterol.

August also brings slightly warmer temperatures and more daylight which is a great excuse to get out and about. One of the most simple ways to help boost your health is to go for a regular walk in daylight hours. You get the benefits of exercise and experience a healthy Vitamin D boost from the sun, which helps improve mood and immunity. What’s more, walking is a gentle exercise that helps shed extra weight you may have put on due to winter inactivity.

After many years of misunderstanding about the role fats play in our diets, avocados are back on the table – finally recognised a nutritional powerhouse. Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients including vitamin E, B vitamins (including folic acid) and twice as much potassium as bananas, as well as fibre. In addition, avocados assist in the absorption of nutrients from other fatty foods as well.

Nothing beats the convenience factor of bananas for an on-the-go food – especially if you’re looking to go back to more regular and intense exercise. They’re tasty, help provide sustained energy, aid weight loss, help combat muscle cramps during exercise and the list goes on!

Do enjoy fresh pears, sweet and full of fibre — these are a dieter’s best friend. A Brazilian study revealed women who ate pears lost weight and helped reduce the cravings that often have people reaching for less healthy snack food.

Let’s not forget the vegetables either.

Fresh green peas will be making an appearance shortly, so be sure to add them to your basket when you next buy your fruit and vegetables at Yuens. Fresh peas are tasty and an abundance source in K, C and the B group vitaminsPeas are also rich in protein which is a vital fuel for the body. Protein contains amino acids which help repair the body’s cells and maintain good health.

Be sure to add some broccoli, spinach and cauliflower to your plate as well. Broccoli is another vegetable that contains a generous amount of protein, offering 4.6g of protein per cup of cooked broccoli. Cauliflower is not too far behind with about 3g per cup.

Popeye was on a good thing when he added spinach to his diet – it’s also a good source of protein. Cooked spinach has 5.3g of protein per cup.

Bulk up on the beetroots too – especially if you’re an athlete in training. Beetroot juice is high in nitrates which are converted into nitrite. That generates nitric oxide, a short-lived gas that expands blood vessels for greater blood flow, improving oxygen and nutrient delivery to working muscles. According to Body Building magazine, beets also contain both folate and betaine, both of which help lower levels of inflammation in the body. Toss raw, shredded beets into a salad, or better yet, roast them to bring out their sweet flavour and tender texture.

If you’re not sure whether your family will eat beetroot, then don’t tell them! Just make up these delicious Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies – they will come back for more and they won’t know it’s good for them.