When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. Other habits that will contribute to a weaker immune system are a poor diet and a lack of exercise. When our immune system is weakened we are more susceptible to infections.
However, Incorporating nutrient-rich foods into your regular diet and increasing your exercise, will do a lot to bolster your immune system and reduce the possible risks of infection.
At Coach London, we have put together a short guide to some nutrient-rich produce to look out for this season.
Fruits and vegetables begin to lose their nutrients within 24 hours of being picked, so the fresher the produce the more nutritious it is. Further to that, locally grown food is picked at its peak ripeness, when it’s most dense with nutrients. For these reasons eating local produce whenever possible is a great way to ensure your diet is high in nutrients. In addition by sourcing local produce, you are also supporting local farmers, and reducing your carbon footprint in a big way.
We have selected 6 locally sourced seasonal fruits and vegetables for you to incorporate into your diet, and have included a couple of easy recipes proving that eating healthy and local can be as simple, as it is rewarding.
Packed with essential nutrients, beetroot is a great source of fibre, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Beetroot has been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise performance.
Another nutritional powerhouse, Swiss Chard is an excellent source of vitamins K, A, 3 and C, as well as a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fibre. Swiss Chard has been know to benefit heart health, lower blood sugar, and may promote weight loss.
Artichokes rank among the most antioxidant-rich vegetables and are low in fat while rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Particularly high in folate and vitamins C and K, they also supply important minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. Artichokes have also been known to lower ‘Bad’ LDL cholesterol and increase ‘Good’ HDL cholesterol and may improve liver and digestive health.
This low-calorie food is full of nutrients that are good for your body in several ways. From boosting the immune system to helping your heart. Spinach is a vegetable that’s nearly all water. Add it to your meals and snacks throughout the day for extra H2O. Spinach has calcium, manganese, and vitamin K, which are important for healthy bones. It is also a great vegetarian source of iron, as well as being high in vitamins and minerals like vitamin E and magnesium.
One of the main nutritional benefits of sweetcorn is its high fibre content. Dietary fibre is important for our health as it aids digestion, it can decrease the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. On top of that, fibre helps you stay fuller for longer. Corn is high in carbs and packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. It’s also relatively low in protein and fat.
Tomatoes are loaded with a substance called lycopene. It gives them their bright red colour and helps protect them from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. In much the same way, it can help protect your cells from damage. Tomatoes also have potassium, vitamins B and E, and other nutrients.
The antioxidant lycopene, has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. It is also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.
Many berries are classified as “superfoods,” and for good reason. Berries of all kinds are rich in antioxidants, which can prevent cell damage and may reduce the risk of certain diseases. The antioxidants found in berries are responsible for many of their health-boosting properties.
Studies have shown that eating berries can help your body control blood sugar levels and avoid dangerous blood sugar spikes. One of the ways that berries help control blood sugar is by helping your body respond better to insulin.
Please find below some great examples of ways to incorporate these seasonal nutrient-rich foods into your diet.
Summer Artichoke Salad
300g quartered artichoke hearts
1 small bunch parsley finely chopped (around 1 cup)
128g cherry tomatoes diced
2 corn on the cob
50g butter, softened
¼ small red onion diced (around 2 tablespoons)
½ medium lemon juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Drain the artichokes, dice into small chunks, and place in a bowl.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Place 25g of butter on each cob and then wrap individually in foil. Place into the oven and bake for 30-35 mins or until tender.
Add the corn to the bowl with the artichokes. Then add the parsley, cherry tomatoes, and red onion. Mix together.
To make the vinaigrette, whisk lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Drizzle on top of the salad and mix together.
Add salt to taste.
Lentils with Roasted Beets, Wilted Chard and Goats Cheese
3–4 beets ( enough for 2 people)
250g cooked green lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ a red onion- diced
3 Garlic cloves- rough chopped
250g Swiss chard chopped
128g Beet greens
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, more to taste
40g goat cheese crumbled
2–3 tablespoons fresh basil
Preheat oven to 425 F. Scrub and trim beets and cut into ½ inch slices or wedges. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until tender, about 25- 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes, until golden and fragrant.
Lower heat to medium-low. Add chard and spinach and gently wilt, just slightly, about 2-3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add 2 cups of cooked lentils to the skillet, gently folding them in and warming. Season again with salt and pepper.
Add beets and splash with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Let vinegar cook down for just a couple of minutes so it’s not so acidic. Taste, add more vinegar if you like, cooking it down. Sprinkle with goat cheese and herbs. Salt to taste and serve immediately.
Protein Overnight Oats with Blueberries
240ml Oat Milk (unsweetened)
80g Rolled Oats
450g Plain Greek Yogurt
50g Vanilla Protein Powder
150g Fresh Blueberries
Add the milk, oats, yogurt, cinnamon, and protein powder to a large container.
Stir well to combine. Seal and place in the fridge overnight, or for at least eight hours.
Store in the fridge until ready to eat. Serve with blueberries and enjoy!