What’s in Season – Winter

Season produce

“A fruit bowl” by Laura Bentley (8 years), 2013

The cold weather is finally here. After weeks of autumn splendour, the skies turn grey, days are short and the air is brisk. Winter food should warm our tummies and comfort our souls. With an array of gorgeous winter produce we should never be short of ideas. Over the next few months, the following will be in season, perfect for autumn fare: Fruit

Apples Lemons Passionfruit
Custard apples Limes Pears
Dates Mandarins Rhubarb
Grapefruit Nashi Strawberries
Kiwi fruit Oranges

Vegetables

Avocados Cauliflower Potatoes
Beetroot Celery Pumpkin
Broccoli Fennel Silverbeet
Brussels sprouts Leeks Spinach
Cabbage Onions Sweet potato (kumara)
Carrots Parsnips

Most of us look for hot meals during winter, rather than salad-based meals, which is why winter veggies are perfect. Roast them, bake them, stir-fry them or make them into a yummy, warming soup. Don’t forget to add them to your slow-cooker meals.

seasonal produce

“A vegetable garden” by Laura Bentley (8 years), 2013

For a winter dessert designed to put a smile on your face, try baked apples, poached pears and stewed rhubarb. Or maybe an old-fashioned apple pie is more your thing. And to help you ward off coughs and colds, get you dose of vitamin C with a serve of citrus fruit at breakfast. Who said winter food had to be boring?


		
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Green tea, red wine and cocoa to fight winter ills

green tea cupNew research has shown that consuming foods such as green tea, apples, blueberries, cocoa, red wine and onions, can significantly reduce the risk of catching a cold.

The research shows that adults who consume flavonoids (found in the foods above) or take flavonoid supplements, are 33 per cent more protected from the common cold (upper respiratory tract infections – URTI), compared with those who don’t.

Researcher Andrea Braakhuis from the University of Auckland said people who eat flavonoids also have fewer sick days.

“These findings show that if you’re generally healthy, eating flavonoids — found in lots of fruits and vegetables — can help stave off the bugs over winter,’ said Dr Braakhuis.

She said most adults have two to three colds a year, and children can have up to five, with symptoms including a sore throat, cough, runny nose and headache.

Colds are caused by viruses, not bacteria, so antibiotics do not help you recover. Rest and plenty of fluids is the standard treatment for the common cold. However, upping your intake of flavonoids may be worth pursuing.

Dr Braakhuis said nutrition scientists are learning more about the special components in foods, like flavonoids, which are thought to have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, so can help reduce the incidence of coughs and colds and boost immune function.

red wineAt this stage, she said it’s too soon to recommend whether foods or supplements are a better source of flavonoids, and what the ideal dose is.

However, the advice is to eat five serves of veggies and two serves of fruit each day in a variety of colours. That way, you should get enough flavonoids. Adding green tea, the occasional red wine and a cheeky bit of dark chocolate will also help.

So this winter, tweak your diet and see if you can avoid the ills of winter.

The research will be presented at the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) National Conference in Perth (13-16 May, 2015)

Further information

Dietitians Association of Australia

Based on a press release from the Dietitians Association of Australia 14/5/15

Exercise your way to a healthy heart

Exercise for a healthy heartAccording to statistics, every 26 minutes, an Australian loses their life to heart disease. That’s 55 Australians every day or around 20,046 people a year.

Heart disease — also known as Ischaemic heart disease (IHD), coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease (CAD) refers to an inadequate supply of blood flowing to the heart.

This is a serious condition which can lead to angina (chest pain) or a heart attack.

Arteries which take blood to the heart can become blocked with a build-up of deposits such as cholesterol, fibrous tissue and calcification. These deposits harden and cause the arteries to narrow. This process is called atherosclerosis.

The good news is that YOU can do a lot to protect the health of your heart. One of the most important is getting regular exercise.

How exercise helps your heart

According to the Heart Foundation, regular exercise is important for:

  • preventing heart disease
  • reducing your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke
  • rehabilitation after a heart attack
  • reducing stress, depression and anxiety, which are risk factors for heart disease
  • weight control (overweight and obesity are risks for heart disease).

How much exercise?

The Heart Foundation recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. This can be in 30-minute blocks or even three 10-minute blocks. The aim should be to build up to a total of 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity activity every week.

Exercise for a healthy heartWhat type of exercise?

All physical activity is great, but for heart health, moderate activity is recommended. Moderate intensity will cause you to feel warmer (maybe even sweat), breathe harder and raise your heart rate. However, you should still be able to talk.

Some great ideas for activity include walking, tennis, dancing, gardening, cycling, swimming, team sports and even housework and work around the yard.

However, if you have a health problem or have not exercised for a while, it’s wise to get the all-clear from your GP before embarking on a program.

So get up off the couch and get your heart pumping for good health.

Further information

Heart Foundation