The off-season is a valuable time for recovery and preparation for future races. You can prioritise good health and combat winter illnesses and the mood blues that can accompany shorter, darker days simply by paying attention to nutrition. A focus on micronutrition in your diet can help you stay strong, healthy, and on track with your fitness goals. Let's explore some nutritional tips to support immune function and optimise your winter training.
Vitamin D is not only essential for bone strength but also plays a vital role in supporting the immune system. Adequate levels of Vitamin D reduce the risk of infectious illnesses by enhancing the activation of killer T cells that combat potential invaders. Soak up the sunshine whenever possible, but also consider incorporating a breakfast rich in Vitamin D, such as eggs, smoked salmon, mushrooms, or fortified dairy foods.
Omega 3 fatty acids offer several benefits, including enhancing the function of white blood cells responsible for fighting infections. These fats lower inflammation, aiding in recovery and repair— necessary for athletes after a demanding race season. Fatty fish like salmon, trout, and tuna are excellent sources of Omega 3, but for vegan alternatives, consider algal sources, linseeds/flaxseeds, chia seeds, or walnuts.
PILLAR’s ULTRA OMEGA tablets have been developed with highly concentrated omega-3 triglycerides to provide intense support for joint mobility, mild joint inflammation and aches and pains relief.
Polyphenols are natural substances found in plants and are crucial for nutrition and immune support. They initiate immune responses and assist gastrointestinal mucosal cells, activate anti-tumor activity, and regulate allergic responses. Incorporate polyphenol-rich foods like frozen berries, pomegranate kernels, spices such as turmeric, and enjoy the warmth of oatmeal, curries, or turmeric tea.
As an antioxidant, Vitamin C protects the body against reactive oxygen species generated during intense workouts as well as from immune responses. This vitamin stimulates and supports white blood cell function and works in tandem with other antioxidants. Citrus fruits, leafy winter greens like spinach and kale, and various fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of Vitamin C. Incorporate them into soups, stews, and your daily meals.
PILLAR’s supplemental products will help you ensure you’re keeping the best care of yourself during winter when stress loads are particularly high or you are at high risk of infectious illness. ULTRA IMMUNE C powder delivers a high-strength dose of vitamin C (1000 mg), with vitamin D3 (1000 IU) and zinc. It provides direct and immediate support to the immune system to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms associated with the common cold.
During the off-season, prioritise your health and well-being by incorporating these micronutritional strategies into your winter routine. Boosting your immune system and supporting your body's functions with Vitamin D, Omega 3, polyphenols, Vitamin C, probiotics, and prebiotics can contribute to a stronger, healthier you. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist for personalised guidance, and enjoy the winter season while nourishing your body and mind.
- Pip Taylor, Performance Dietitian