With staying healthy – and staying at home – so imperative right now, we are all aware that protecting ourselves, and others, via social distancing and thorough hand washing is vital. Naturally, as a result there’s a lot of interest surrounding maintaining a healthy immune system too. We know that in order to perform well, the immune system needs harmony and balance. It’s widely acknowledged that our bodies function at optimum levels – and we enjoy general good health - when we practise self-care.
This holistic approach to wellbeing has always been at the heart of the Slow Ageing philosophy and begins with a healthy, balanced diet. Although at the moment our choice of fresh foods (and food in general!) may not be quite as extensive as we have become used to, aim to eat a diet high in anti-oxidant fruits and vegetables if you can. Maybe use this time as an opportunity to try some that you’ve never had before, or even start cultivating some of your own (tomatoes and peas can be grown in pots on a windowsill if you’re short of outside space). Drinking plenty of fresh water, taking regular, gentle exercise and getting 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night are all so helpful in keeping our bodies working the best they can. Reducing stress levels as much as possible (we are fans of meditation for this – see ‘Margot’s Guided Meditation’ blog), only drinking alcohol in moderation and avoiding smoking are further positive steps you can take to enjoy a healthier lifestyle, during the good times... as well as the not so good.
Food for thought
There’s a lot of talk about what constitutes a ‘healthy’ diet. Essentially, we need to eat a wide range of phytochemicals, chemical compounds found in plants, as well as protein and starchy high fibre foods, dairy (or non-dairy alternatives) plus lots of fluids, especially water. Foods rich in zinc, iron, beta-carotene, Vitamins B6, B12, C, D and E are particularly important. Good fresh sources of these key vitamins and minerals include: garlic; onions; ginger; cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale plus apples, red peppers and citrus fruits.
There are also many long-lasting foods that are extremely beneficial, which can be kept in store cupboards until you need them such as canned beans and lentils, dried fruits and vegetables (pinto beans and split lentils are ideal) plus dried herbs and spices along with bottled flavourings like soy sauce and miso soybean paste. We think the more variety and flavour you can get into your diet the more likely you are to enjoy it – and the more good it will do your body! Use all the storage resources you have available to you at the moment; freezers for example can be used to store soft fruits like berries and are also a great way to keep a stock of vegetables to help you maintain your 5-a-day (or ideally 10!).
Did you know? You can freeze fresh root ginger; when you want to use it simply grate straight into stir-fries, smoothies and our favourite ‘ginger-giser’ recipe below!
Thinking about the natural boost some of these foods can give us, stimulating drinks such as ‘flu bombs’ and ‘ginger shots’ are also really popular, with many quick and easy recipes available online. The anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and digestion-improving benefits of ginger have been written about for years. Slow Ageing Founders, Margot and David, have long been advocates of their homemade ‘ginger-giser’ (we can testify that these potent shots really do deliver a deliciously zingy wake-up call to taste buds!). To enjoy one, mix equal parts ginger juice (if whizzing this up yourself using the fresh rhizome, you’ll need to strain it after juicing as it’s very fibrous) with water and lemon juice. Melt some manuka honey into warm water to taste then add a dash of fresh black pepper. Make the mixture up to 1 litre; it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks in a glass bottle. You could start every morning by either filling a shot glass ¾ full and knocking it straight back to really rouse yourself first thing or mix it into more water to make a long, refreshing drink.
Although we should be able to gain all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals we need to remain healthy and strong from our diets, many people – including some of the team here – choose to take a supplement* too. In fact we’re pretty sure that many of you are already used to hearing about the purported benefits of supplements like Vitamin C, zinc and echinacea to help ward off coughs and colds. As a team we have also championed the importance of Vitamin D (see our ‘How To Own Amazing Autumn Skin’ blog) and now that we all have to spend more time indoors, this may be something worth considering.
Our Slow Journal blogs are all about sharing inspirational stories and passing on interesting nuggets of information so we thought we would let you know about what is fast becoming the supplement ‘of the moment’. At Slow Ageing we have always been in favour of clean, clever and green formulations – in fact it’s one of our founding Slow Beauty Manifesto principles. That’s why we particularly rate Viridian vitamins and supplements. Named Best Buy in Ethical Consumer magazine and The Good Shopping Guide, the company guarantees non-GM, non-irradiated, 100% active ingredients with no added sugars, colourings or artificial flavourings. One of their supplements is Organic Elderberry Extract + Vitamin C. Used as far back as the Egyptians and Native Americans, Elderberry is a medicinal plant now commonly used as a supplement to help treat flu and cold symptoms. Viridian’s comes in liquid form and is formulated for use by both children and adults. It can be diluted into water, juice or even mixed into smoothies. Containing organic elderberry extract from Austria, which contains active compounds of oligo-proanthocyanidins (OPCs) - a type of plant polyphenol reported to have anti-oxidant benefits – the company claims that this supplement ‘can help prevent upper respiratory tract infections’ and ‘provide immune support for the whole family’. Of course no supplement should be relied upon as a replacement for a balanced diet but if you are interested to know more, check out their website www.viridian-nutrition.com.
You can also continue to keep an eye out on our Slow Society pages plus the Slow Ageing social channels for further tips on how to boost your overall wellbeing.
* Slow Ageing Essentials is not suggesting that supplements can prevent you from catching Covid-19; we are merely highlighting interesting wellbeing news snippets that we find thought-provoking and think you may too.