Prepare your body for cold water activities through food
The joys of being an ocean enthusiast in England during winter may seem a bit sparse, but for those who are prepared the bounty is fruitful. From big and clean groundswells that roll into Cornwall to beautiful crisp mornings with the bluest of skies as your backdrop as you kayak across the Bude Canal, we truly love it down here in North Cornwall during this part of the year, and we’re sure you will too!
In this part of the country we’re very fortunate to have the Gulf Stream running up through our shores, this keeps the sea temperature from dropping below 10c. When on our family adventure holidays UK you’ll be wrapped up snuggly in a 5mm wetsuit with boots, gloves and a hood, so there’s no chance of you getting cold, especially when the adrenaline is pumping from one of the water-based activities such as surfing, bodyboarding, kayaking or coasteering, to name just a few.
To keep the cold out, prevention is always better than a cure, so that’s why we deck you out in neoprene, but you can start further back than that, with the food that you put into your body. You will always feel the cold much more if you are not feeling 100% and that can happen a lot during the colder months.
One of the most important aspects of feeling good is having a strong immune system. A recent study suggested that 70% of your immune system is situated in your gut where it thrives on healthy bacteria, but how do you keep this in the best shape possible?
Prebiotics are the food for gut bacteria, helping to create and regulate the best environment possible for them to flourish as well as increasing the presence of ‘good bacteria’; lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
Prebiotic rich foods that you should incorporate into your diet include:
- Raw Jerusalem artichokes
- Raw dandelion greens
- Raw asparagus
- Raw or cooked onions, raw garlic and leeks
- Raw chicory root
- Gum Arabic
- Under ripe bananas
Probiotics usually come in capsules, powders or tiny little bottles in liquid yoghurt form such as Yakult, and contain many different strains of bacteria that you would find naturally in your gut. They aid in your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight off infections and potential illnesses that seem to creep up on you during winter.
Scientists have proven that there are 10 times the lacto bacillusmore probiotics in your gut than cells in your body… impressive, right? They even help keep your skin nice and beautiful, which is handy for the battering your face takes when a strong NE wind is blowing down on the North Cornwall coast during the February surfs.
These good bacterias not only do what we have already mentioned, but they also help produce vitamin B12, butyrate and vitamin K2, aid in the secretion of IgA and regulatory T-cells as well as getting rid of unwanted yeast, fungi and bad bacteria.
You can find these probiotics in sachet form in many health stores, but as with most things, getting it straight from the source is the preferred method. You can find probiotics in such things as:
- Kefir, a fermented milk yoghurt drink.
- Homemade sauerkraut
- Kimchi, spicy pickled veg
- Tempeh, fermented soya
- Pickled fruit and veg, (in brine not vinegar and it must be unpasteurised)
- Raw cheese
For an optimal immune system, you need to regulate your sugar intake, which should come as no surprise. Sugar is considered an ‘anti-nutrient’, which means it negatively affects the availability of vitamins and minerals that you’ve consumed.
Once again, this should come as no surprise, you should always aim to eat as many vegetables as possible and this rings especially true during the winter months. Dark leafy green vegetables are a fantastic source of fibre which is always essential for good gut health because they are also full to the brim of vitamins and minerals and promote general good health. This is the basic building block of any healthy diet.
When it comes to vegetables, an easy way to remember what to get in is by aiming to eat the colours of the rainbow each day. Whilst some colours may be hard to come by at this time of the year, just try to incorporate as much natural colour into your diet. This can include fruit, but be wary, fruit contains high amounts of natural sugars and should be limited to 2-3 pieces a day and never late at night.