Welcome back. Are you ready to return to work, school or the gym? September can be such hard going that it makes all the benefits of Ramadan, holidays and quieter roads fast become a distant memory.
This sudden return to our hectic everyday lives can have a big impact on our immune systems. If you’re just getting back into exercise, the new season can lower your immunity levels even before you factor in long-haul flights, jet lag and having the air con on at full blast. So to protect yourself, you need to eat clever, clean and fresh.
Selenium, zinc (often taken with vitamin C) and vitamin E are great for giving you a nutritional hit and are easy to incorporate into your diet. Sprinkling selenium-rich sunflower seeds, cashews or Brazil nuts over salads adds texture, gives you an instant immunity boost and can also help thyroid health and fertility levels (especially for men). It’s also found in light proteins such as chicken, turkey, haddock and crab (check out the mixed brown and white crab meat in the fish section – yum!), as well as lentils – a fantastic low-GI carb that’s great for reducing body fat.
And don’t forget vitamin E, the big winner in the battle for good-looking health. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin (similar to A and D) that you don’t need huge amounts of; it can be found in peanut and rapeseed oil, as well as pine nuts and wheatgerm. For the ultimate post-workout boost, scatter wheatgerm or pine nuts over rocket and baby spinach lightly dressed with a nut oil and topped with shredded chicken.
words by Catherine Williams, qualified fitness professional and nutrition consultant. She is also the co-founder of Pure Fitness.