Support your Immune System with Better You

Support your immune system with Keeley Berry,  Nutritional Expert and Product Developer at BetterYou Ltd.

As Spring beckons, there is hope that our social calendar may soon be opening up, so it’s crucial to ensure our immune system is strong as we head out of lockdown to protect our health and wellbeing.

Our immune system is the body’s natural defence against harmful viruses and bacteria, it is made up of a network of cells, tissues, organs, and molecules which work together to protect the body from any harmful germs or substances by triggering an immune response. When your immune system is working well, it can prevent germs from entering your body and, if harmful cells do get in, it can limit the harm that they do.

The body needs many vitamins and minerals to function properly.

Vitamin C is one of these nutrients and it is essential to the normal function of our immune system.

Stimulating the production and activation of immune cells, Vitamin C supports cellular functions of the innate and adaptive immune systems and it contributes to three main mechanisms of immune protection, including:

  1. Helping to strengthen skin and tissues to prevent viral invasion.
  2. Increasing white blood cell and antibody production to target viruses.
  3. Helping to clear spent white blood cells to maintain tissue health.

Crucially, vitamin C has the ability to protect our white blood cells from invading pathogens and researchers believe that white blood cells draw in vitamin C to help protect from oxidants, increase oxidant regeneration and to ensure any pathogens are killed.

Who is most at-risk of Vitamin C deficiency?

The most common risk factors for vitamin C deficiency include poor diet, malabsorption disorders (such as Crohn’s, Colitis and Coeliac disease), food allergies and anorexia. The elderly and those taking certain medications such as aspirin, oral contraceptives, and some anti-inflammatories, can also be at higher risk of deficiency and frequent supplementation is advised.

Stress, smoking and alcoholism as well as a fever and viral infections can also negatively impact our levels of vitamin C, so if these lifestyle factors affect you, larger daily intakes be required.

How can I ensure I’m getting enough vitamin C?

Unlike animals, humans cannot naturally produce vitamin C and as it is a water-soluble vitamin, our body does not store it, so supplementation is advised to maintain levels as well as regularly eating foods, such as:

  • Mango
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
  • Green and red peppers
  • Sweet and white potatoes

It’s important to have a food-first approach, but if you struggle to get enough vitamin C a supplement can be a simple and convenient way to increase and maintain levels.

The phrase ‘little and often’ can be helpfully applied to vitamin C supplementation, with absorption believed to drastically reduce as our intake increases. Consuming high levels of vitamin C (500mg and above) results in a rapid decline in absorption efficiency, meaning that supplementing high doses is not beneficial, as it will simply pass through the body.

Healthy individuals are recommended to supplement 100mg of vitamin C per day, an amount that is associated with a decreased risk of mortality from heart disease and stroke.

Some of us, particularly children and the elderly, can find tablets and capsules difficult to swallow, so traditional supplementation methods do not always suit everyone.

Alternative routes, such as vitamin oral spray products, are readily available online as well as on the high-street and with studies showing that they are just as effective at elevating our vitamin levels as traditional capsules, this could be the pill-free supplementation solution we have all been looking for.

Try out the Better You Vitamin C Spray in our April Lifebox, get your hands on one here 

Discover more about the BetterYou range by visiting their website

Veggie Peanut Soup by Manilife

Veggie Peanut Soup by Manilife

You’ll find a full size Jar of Manilife Peanut Butter in our Feb Lifebox!

Haven’t got your box yet? Get it here!

SERVES: 2

Veggie Peanut Soup by Manilife

Mmm hearty & delicious, this nourishing soup is the perfect quick lunch when you need something to fuel you through your day!

Ingredients

1L of Vegetable stock
500ml water
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 tbsp diced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, cut in small pieces
1 tsp salt
1 bunch of kale, chopped into strips 100g of Manilife Peanut Butter
3.5 tablespoons of tomato paste
Hot sauce
Handful of chopped peanuts, for garnish Cooked brown rice, for serving (optional)

Method

Combine the broth and water in a pot and bring to boil.

When it starts simmering add in the onion, ginger, garlic, and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.

In another bowl (heat-safe) combine the peanut butter & tomato paste.

Add the 500ml of hot stock to the bowl – this will help smoothen the PB/tomato paste, so you need to mix it well.

Once smooth add it back to your pot and stir.

Add in the kale and if you want it hot, add in some chilli flakes or hot sauce!

Once everything has been added, let everything simmer for another 10-15mins (depends it you want your kale crunchy or not!).

Taste it and add more seasoning if needed.

This recipe is tastiest when served over cooked brown rice!

Finally, if you have some peanuts, chop them and sprinkle on top. Yum!

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Bircher Muesli by Rude Health

Bircher Muesli by Rude Health

You’ll find a full size box of gluten-free coconut muesli in our January Lifebox!

Haven’t got your box yet? Get it here!

Once there was a Doctor, who all night long dreamt of breakfast. That’s because he’d made it the night before, and it was chilling so that the ingredients became deliciously soft and digestible. His name was Dr Bircher. Although you can buy instant Bircher Muesli nowadays, this recipe pays respect to Dr Bircher’s Swiss levels of organisation.

SERVES: 2

TIME: Overnight + 5 mins prep

INGREDIENTS

150ml Rude Health Oat or Almond Milk

1 apple or pear, grated

90g gluten-free coconut muesli

60ml apple juice

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp rose petals (optional)

150g blueberries

METHOD 

  1. Grate the apple and mix with the milk, muesli, apple juice and cinnamon.
  2. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
  3. Chop the walnuts and mix with the pumpkin seeds.
  4. Serve the overnight Bircher Muesli with the sesame seeds, rose petals and blueberries.
  5. Enjoy!
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Rhubarb, Ginger and Thyme Crumble by Sweetpea Pantry

Vegan Ginger, Thyme and Rhubarb Crumble by 

@thewrightfoodie

Sweetpea Pantry is back! After receiving such incredible feedback from their feature last year, it only felt right to invite them back with their deliciously wholesome flapjack mix.

Haven’t got your box yet? Get it here!

This delicious Vegan Ginger, Thyme and Rhubarb Crumble is the perfect way to end a festive meal, or even as a slightly indulgent breakfast! We’re hooked!

Ingredients:

For the topping:

  • 1 x pack of Sweetpea Pantry Super Oat Flapjack
  • 30g Coconut Sugar
  • 40g Pumpkin Seeds
  • 40g Sunflower Seeds
  • 115g Coconut Oil (softened not melted)
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger

For the middle: 

  • 350g Chopped Rhubarb
  • 4 tsp Coconut Sugar
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • A few sprigs of fresh Thyme (using this herb just takes the recipe to the next level)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 18oc
  2. Mix together all of the topping ingredients either by hand, or very gently in a blender.
  3. Chop the Rhubarb into 1 cm pieces and toss with the coconut sugar, ground ginger and thyme sprigs.
  4. Either place the rhubarb in one large pie dish or in separate smaller ramekins (I tend to make individual portions and freeze them, so I have a great dessert on tap).
  5. With your fingers, crumble the topping mixture evenly over the rhubarb.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until top is lightly browned and bubbling.
  7. Serve with topping as desired – we love ours with coconut yoghurt
  8. 8. Tip: If freezing some, bake those for 20 minutes only and allow to cool before placing in a ziplock bag and put in the freezer. Defrost fully before putting back in the oven for another 20 mins.
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Baked Banana Porridge by Nucao

Baked Banana Porridge by Nucao

Nucao is back! After receiving such incredible feedback from their feature earlier in the year, it only felt right to invite them back with one of their amazing new flavours. Haven’t got your box yet? Get it here!

This delicious Baked Banana Porridge makes for a wonderfully indulgent breakfast or dessert!

Ingredients:

2 bananas (1 mashed, 1 sliced)
270g oats (gluten- free)
300 ml of plant milk
1 handful of walnuts 3 (chopped)
1 Nucao almond sea-salt bar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
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Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180*C.

2. Puree a banana and mix it with the other ingredients except the sliced banana. Add the coarsely chopped Nucao and transfer to an ovenproof bowl.

3. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the top is firmer. Then take it out of the oven for a moment, place the sliced banana on top and put it back in the oven.

4. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, then remove. And enjoy 🙂

HEALTH FACT

Did you know that there are a total of 21 amino acids that our body needs to build all of the vital proteins?

8 of these 21 acids (tryptophan, isoleucine, valine, methionine, leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine) are among the essential amino acids that our body cannot produce itself and that we have to supply to our bodies through diet. The good news is: nucao contains all 8 essential amino acids.