So make 2015 the year where your health and those of your loved ones takes a front seat. Being a healthier version of yourself equips you with not only the physical but mental power to tackle all this year throws your way ensuring 2015 is your best year yet.
A strong immune system is a good place to start, especially after the festive season where a lot of overindulging takes place. Staying free from colds and flu (and disease), and recovering quickly if you do succumb, requires a fighting fit immune system.
IMMUNE POWER-DIET TIPS
1. Load up on fruit and veg – aim for at least five portions a day and pick a rainbow selection of colours to get a good range of nutrients. Good sources include carrots, beetroot, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and beansprouts, plus watermelon and berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries – buy these frozen when they are not in season). Eat what you can raw, and lightly steam the rest. Avoid frying anything as this introduces harmful free radicals that increase your toxic load.
2. Have a clove or two of garlic a day – this is naturally anti-viral and anti-bacterial.
3. Eat sufficient protein – aim for lean (preferably) organic meat, fish, game, quinoa (a South American grain), eggs, pulses combined with grains, dairy foods or tofu.
4. Herbs and spices contain immune-supporting nutrients. Add turmeric to rice; grate ginger into stir fries or on to vegetables; make tea from the Cat’s Claw herb; add Aloe Vera to drinks.
5. Avoid sugar – it can suppress the immune system so avoid any sugar when you are fighting an infection. Rather go for whole grains (oats, rye bread, brown rice).
6. If you have an infection that increases mucus production (eg a cold), it is best to avoid meat, dairy produce and eggs – these foods tend to stimulate the production of more mucus.
IMMUNE BOOSTING SUPPLEMENTS
There are multitudes of independent studies which demonstrate the immune-supporting effects and benefits of taking supplements over and above eating a healthy, immune boosting diet to keep your immune system in peak condition. To further boost your immune system Patrick recommends the following supplements:
• A high-strength multi vitamin and mineral complex.
• An antioxidant formula containing vitamin C, zinc and immune-boosting phytonutrients such as black elderberry and ginger.
• Extra vitamin D –15mcg a day all year round.
“To strengthen my immune system I take 3 grams of Vitamin C immediately, followed by 1 gram an hour, together with other immune supporting nutrients such as zinc, ginger and black elderberry,” says Patrick.
A further way to give your body a kick start after the festive season is to give your liver and digestive tract a clean-up with a one-week detox and you’ll soon be feeling clear headed, energetic and ready to face 2015.
DETOX YOUR SYSTEM IN ONE WEEK
For an instant upgrade in how you feel and look, there are four habits to break and four habits to make. So, let’s start with the hard part. To give your system a break, you need to avoid:
1. Avoid wheat. All wheat contains gluten and this irritates the gut. So, give your insides a week’s break.
2. Avoid milk. It’s the most common food allergen and most people produce antibodies to it. In other words, it causes your immune system to react. It’s also mucus forming. Give your system a week off milk and all dairy products.
3. Stay of the caffeine. This might be the hardest part if you’re addicted. But that’s the point. Caffeine is an addictive toxin that makes your liver work hard to detoxify it. If you can bear it, cut out caffeine for one week. If not, then two cups of green tea a day is the thin edge of the wedge.
4. Eliminate the alcohol. Of course, this is your liver’s worst enemy.
Take a break for a week. The habits you need to make during the week are:
1. Drink 8 glasses of water a day. After all, your body is 66% water and this alone will help you detoxify.
2. Eat superfoods to spring-clean your system. The best foods include fresh apricots, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, kiwi, papayas, peaches, mangoes, melons, red grapes and all types of berries. Vegetables that are especially good for detoxification include artichokes, peppers, beets, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, watercress, and bean and seed sprouts.
3. Load up on anti-aging antioxidants. They are the key players in detoxifying your body. If you boost your intake, from both food and supplements, you’ll definitely notice the difference.
4. Take liver-detoxifying supplements. From MSM to milk thistle, there’s a combination of seven top detoxifiers to give your liver’s detox capacity an upgrade. Look for a supplement that contains: N-Acetyl Cysteine, Milk Thistle Extract, Cruciferous Vegetable Compounds, MSM, Ellagic Acid, Dandelion Extract and Alpha Lipoic Acid.