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Pressing Refresh: Your Guide to a Pre-summer Prep with Expert Nutritionist

As we migrate out of winter and into spring/summer our food choices and wantschange. Summer brings with it a different array of seasonal fruits and vegetables like berries and salad...

As we migrate out of winter and into spring/summer our food choices and wants
change. Summer brings with it a different array of seasonal fruits and vegetables like berries and salad vegetables and intuitively these are often the foods we tend to eat more of at this time of year.


While pressing refresh after what might have felt like a long hibernation can seem
daunting- don’t fear! There are lots of things you can do now to get your body
prepped and fuelled appropriately for the summer months ahead. So what are my
top tips as a nutritionist?


Focus on foods to help the body detoxify


Giving our gut and liver all the nutrients they need to detoxify the body appropriately is key at any time of year! Our environments, diets and lifestyles nowadays sadly provide lots of toxins that our gut and liver need to try to process and ultimately excrete

1 . These include chemicals in household products, alcohol, food additives,
processed oils, added sugars and toxic by-products produced from certain types of
cooking like grilling and found in processed meats.

We can support the body on a daily basis by showering it in the nutrients like fibre,
vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables that it needs to offset some of
the more toxic aspects of our lifestyles and diet. Ultimately choosing less processed foods and more colourful fruits and vegetables as the base of our diet will provide the nutrients the liver needs for the 3 stages of detoxification. Particular liver-supporting foods include cruciferous vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, as well as beetroot, berries, lemon, green tea, protein-rich foods, olive oil. Green juices rich in vegetables are nutrient-rich and can be a nice way to get many of these nutrients into the body to support the liver.


Quality protein


Another aspect to think about when pressing refresh before summer is getting good
quality protein into your diet- both from plants and animal sources. Good plant-
protein sources include quinoa, buckwheat, hemp seeds, amaranth, tofu, tempeh,
edamame, chia, lentils and other beans like peas, nuts and seeds, tahini, hemp and
flaxseeds, and leafy greens.


Adequate protein intake is important for a number of reasons-
1. It keeps us fuller for longer by affecting our hunger hormone and slowing gut
emptying

2. It’s important for increasing muscle mass which ultimately helps to increase
our metabolic rate (the amount of calories we burn at rest) and helps us to
feel lean and trim, it has been shown to boost metabolism, increasing the number of calories we burn due to it’s thermic effect which is much higher than fat or carbs. This means that it takes the body more energy to process protein versus cabs or
fats- 20-30% compared to carbs 5-10% and fat 0-3%

Take some breaks 

While you may have seen intermittent fasting everywhere recently it might not be the best option for everyone. While research has found many benefits to fasting there are many different ways too fast! Ultimately fasting is another form of stress on the body and can, when coupled with a high stress job, high-intensity exercise, out a lot of pressure on the body.


You can still get many of the benefits by following an overnight fast of anywhere
between 12-14hours 4 . As well as this ensuring 3-4hour breaks between eating can allow time for your gut to complete digestion and ultimately reset. These gaps allow you to keep your blood sugar levels consistent, metabolism engaged and time for the gut’s "migrating motor complex" to contract and push undigested food through the digestive system allowing for some much needed cleaning and housekeeping.

Never underestimate stress


Stress can rear its ugly head in so many forms- physical, psychological, emotional,
environmental. Never underestimate stress and the many places it can come from-
over exercising or too much high-intensity exercise, fasting, poor diet, excess sugar, psychological stress, work stress, environmental noise and pollution. While the stress hormone cortisol isn’t all bad and has important bodily functions like regulating our sleep-wake cycle and blood sugar when it is chronically elevated it can lead to weight gain and can impact muscle function leading to weakness and breakdown.


When our body is under stress it requires more nutrients. Ensuring lots of vitamin c
found in kiwi, berries, citrus fruits like lemons and oranges, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, can reduce some of the effects of high cortisol while magnesium and healthy fats like chia seeds, flaxseeds and olive oil are important too! Magnesium can be thought of as the ‘calming’ nutrient and rich foods include spinach, quinoa, almonds, cashews, dark chocolate, beans, avocado and edamame. Also simple daily techniques like meditation, diaphragmatic breathing, yoga, getting out into nature and sunlight, taking time to eat lunch away form the work desk can go a long way in reducing cortisol and supporting the body as we press refresh!

As always there are many things we can do to prepare our bodies for the summer
months but ultimately a plant-focused, clean, whole-food diet and focusing on a
lifestyle that is low in toxins and stress can go a long way!

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