Well it’s that time of year where seemingly every other person has got a cough, cold or something more sinister for the unfortunate. For some people one illness a season is not enough and they can continually bounce from one illness to another. As Horse Owners this is basically very inconvenient! Who’s going to muck out the horse whilst your laid up in bed?
To be fair most of us are pretty robust but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give our selves a little extra TLC – think of it as your insurance policy!
We already have the advantage that we get outside in the fresh air every day which is great for our immune system. But what else can we do?
Our diet has a huge factor in our immune system, as it is fairly obvious that eating a healthy diet filled with lots of vitamin filled fruit and vegetables will make us healthier than if we ate lots of processed, high fat, high sugar foods. So that’s your first step try to eat as many different coloured fruit and vegetables as you can. It’s also great to try and eat seasonally to stop you getting into a rut, so currently carrots(you can share with your horse!), parsnips, squashes, sprouts and cabbages are on the menu alongside the classic festive satsuma and pomegranates.
Ensuring your Gut Bacteria is up to scratch will give your immune system a huge boost. . Your digestive tract contains around 60 percent of your immune systems cells. This makes it extra important to maintain a healthy gut. This can be done with either a tablet probiotic or with a live culture such as Kefir. I bought a course of Kefir from www.chucklinggoat.co.uk and whizzed it up in a smoothie with coconut milk and some fruit every day-convenient breakfast option!
Good news for the Carb lovers is Oats are on the menu as they are rich in selenium and beta glucans which are nutrients that support your immune system. Oats also help to control healthy bacteria in the intestine which again supports your immune system. And I don’t think there is a better way to start a cold, wintery day than with a bowl of hot porridge and some berries-yum! And I will let you in to a secret……..Ready Brek is totally fine-ssshhh! You could also buy the pre made pots and just add water to warm you up at the yard.
We also need to ensure we are eating plenty of protein alongside those carbs. Protein is used to make cells in our body so making sure we eat enough ensures we are able to build extra cells to fend off the bugs-there is a more scientific way of explaining that but you get the idea. So eat plenty of eggs, lean meat and fish or beans and pulses if your veggie to keep your body’s builders working.
Then there are herbs and spices such as Garlic and Turmeric that have anti-bacterial properties so add them to your dishes to add flavour and extra health benefits. Your probably borrowing that from the tack room too aren’t you…….
A Bone Broth either drank on its own or as a stock for soup and casseroles is a great way to pack in loads more vitamins but also a boost to your gut bacteria. It’s basically nature’s medicine! You can buy it prepared but if you want it in the purest form it’s better to make it yourself.
Last but not least get plenty of sleep. Ensuring you get a good 6-8 hours a night will give your body its best chance to fend off any illness.
So raid the feed room and stay healthy Folks!