19. Mar 2020

Heidrun Valencak-Hösel

How to have a spring full of energy

Finally, it’s spring again! After the cold, dark winter months, everyone looks forward to the warmth, sun and awakening of flora and fauna. Nature starts anew, full of energy and vigour. For many people, spring symbolises the time for a fresh start. To get the best start, you have to get rid of unnecessary burdens and give the body enough support and momentum.

Keeping the intestines, and especially the microbiome, healthy is vital for a strong immune system.

Bad news first: If you want to change your life in the right direction, there is no way around leaving your personal comfort zone. This can be very challenging in the short run, especially when your inner couch potato reminds you of all the comforts of your old habits. Nevertheless, we are very capable of learning new things and habits: A study at the University College London revealed that it takes 66 days, on average, until you’ve automated a new habit.

Spring cleaning for your house and body

The perfect start to implementing good habits is the Lenting season (fasting period): Many take this opportunity to remove certain foods from their diets such as chocolate, meat or alcohol for 40 days. This conscious sacrifice has several positive effects: Sticking to a new habit and achieving a self-appointed goal makes us proud and happy. Not only the soul, but also the body profits from sugar reduction and rids us of “burdens”. A traditional household spring clean isn’t the only “right” way to starting the new year. More frequently, people support their body with a “springtime makeover”: Just like the cleaning in your own four walls, the body is freed from acids and debris.

An over-acidic organism, as a result of the sweet, alcoholic and meaty temptations over Christmas, new years and the carnival season lead to chronic fatigue, impure and spotty skin, cellulite, headaches and digestive complaints such as bloating. The latter is the result of old, fermented food rests that accumulate in the intestines after the holidays: Sugar, white flour and co. promote the growth of putrid bacteria. At the same time, helpful intestinal bacteria are replaced or die because of the shortage of fibres or the intake of drugs (i.e. antibiotics). Stabilising the acid-base-balance with alkaline foods or plant-based products, as well as the targeted cleansing and care of the intestines, can give you more energy for a great start to the new year.

Food for a good “gut feeling”

Many people struggle to stick to a healthy diet. We often don’t find the time in our day to day lives for the apparently elaborate preparation of fresh and colourful meals. Our “inner couch potato” uses this as an excuse when we steal a cookie from the jar when our stomach growls. Nevertheless, a healthy and intestinal friendly diet is easily done with a bit of planning and preparation, and can quickly become a good habit: “Meal-Prepping” is a current trend and is nothing more than cooking or preparing food in advance for the upcoming days. This is easily done by following a few simple tips – and the health of your whole family will flourish from these self-made meals and their high-quality ingredients:

  • Don’t overwhelm yourself – start by preparing meals only for two or three days of the week. Or try a prepared breakfast if your mornings are usually hectic.
  • Plan your meal preparation – what do you want to cook?, for how many days?, what ingredients do you need? Write down a shopping list and find the time to cook, i.e. on a Sunday. If the preparation is very voluminous and you have food for more than three days, freeze the meals to make them last longer.
  • Use versatile foods that you can use in several dishes such as legumes, high-quality grains or your favourite veggies.

So that your intestinal health profits the most, make sure to use high-quality ingredients with complex carbohydrates (i.e. whole-grain flour instead of white flour), high fibre content and healthy fats during your meal preparation.

Enjoying the spring air out in the open

Many people use the warmer temperatures and longer days to do exercise out in the open, and therefore do something good for their health: However, it doesn’t always have to be a sweaty exercise session. A walk through the woods or travelling by bike in your daily life is a valuable balance to jobs that mainly involve sitting and being enclosed indoors.

Especially in this transitional period between winter and spring, tissues are more important than ever, and for a good reason: The powerful sun rays quickly make us break out in a sweat, and our body rapidly cools down. On top of it all, everyone now wears thinner clothes, and these temperature fluctuations eventually lead to a cold. Another reason for a runny nose, are the early blooming bushes such as hazels and alders. Their pollen is whisked into the air in the early days of February and kickstart the allergy season.
In both cases, a battered immune system plays a big role – which is also closely connected to the intestines that are home to over two-thirds of the immune cells in our bodies. Keeping the intestines, and especially the microbiome, healthy is vital for a strong immune system: The intestinal flora is responsible for the defence against pathogens and the removal of foreign substances. It even acts as a lifelong training partner for the cells of our immune system. Studies have also shown that a diverse intestinal flora (increased microbial diversity) is associated with a lower risk for allergies. In summary: Give yourself and your intestinal flora a kickstart with the right diet and high-quality probiotics. Get the best advice from your local pharmacy.

 

Stay informed!

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