Winter is by far my least favorite season. The cold, dry weather combined with less sunshine makes me count down the days to Spring. One thing that really helps me enjoy this time of year more, is having a consistent routine with my meals and exercise. Ensuring that my body is getting the nutrients it needs to feel my best, while also making it a point to move my body each day; both for my physical and mental health. One way I do this is by incorporating key nutrients, like the ones found in Florida Orange Juice, into my daily intake.
My diet is primarily plant-based, and while I love consuming a wide variety of whole foods, one thing I find myself making every single day is a smoothie. During the winter months especially, I opt for my Winter Wellness Florida OJ smoothie, which contains a variety of nutrients important for immune health. Here’s the recipe:
10 oz. 100% orange juice
1 cup frozen mango
1 cup chopped carrots (or ~2 whole carrots)
½ tsp ground turmeric
optional: 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
Directions: Combine all of the ingredients together in a high speed blender, blending until well combined. If you’d like to add protein to this smoothie, I’d recommend 1 scoop of unflavored or vanilla protein powder, or ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt.
The immune system is complex and needs a continuous supply of essential nutrients to support proper function. I use 100% orange juice for my liquid in this smoothie, because it is an excellent source of vitamin C, and provides nutrients such as folate, thiamin, and potassium. If fortified, 100% orange juice also contains calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which supports the immune system by protecting cells and promoting the production and function of immune cells. Vitamin D may help support the immune system by fighting off bacteria.
The cold and gloomy weather may make you want to wrap up in a blanket on the couch all day, but staying active throughout the winter months is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Compared to a sedentary lifestyle, regular moderate exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of infection. Moderate exercise is important for cardiovascular health, bone health, immune health, and even mental health. When we exercise, our body releases an abundance of neurotransmitters that help us reap the benefits of our workout. Endorphins are just one type of neurotransmitter that send “feel-good” chemical messages to our bodies when we exercise. They can also help relieve pain, stress, and can positively impact the serotonin levels in our brains. When we exercise we also produce adrenaline, dopamine, and norepinephrine which play a crucial role in the development of our emotions and mood.
One of my favorite forms of exercise and biggest stress reliever is running. Many runners and endurance athletes don’t realize the importance of proper hydration during the winter months. In my own personal experience working with endurance athletes, many feel that since they’re not sweating as much, they don’t need to drink as much fluid. Thirst sensation can also decrease, making it harder for you to be motivated to drink. However, when exercising in cold environments, respiratory water loss increases due to the low humidity and increased ventilation rate. It is also possible for sweat rates to exceed 1 L/hr due to the warm environment created underneath your multiple layers of clothing.
On top of just water, I also like to make my own homemade Florida OJ sports drink to enjoy after long runs, which helps to replenish carbohydrates, fluid, and electrolytes. To make it, I combine 8 oz. 100% orange juice with 4 oz. coconut water and a pinch or two of salt. I shake this all together in a bottle and store in the fridge so it’s ready for me to drink immediately after.
100% orange juice helps support hydration because it’s 90% water and naturally contains several electrolytes, including potassium and calcium (in fortified juices), and magnesium in small amounts, to aid in fluid balance. Simple sugars account of the majority of the carbohydrates found in citrus fruit and juice, which allows for quick replenishment of glycogen stores post-workout, and stimulates fluid absorption from the intestines. I pair it with coconut water to increase the potassium even more, and add the salt for sodium. It’s delicious and refreshing, during the cold winter months and throughout the year.
These two drinks make it much easier to stick to a routine that supports both my overall health and training. To learn more about the health benefits of Florida Orange Juice, visit their website and follow them on social media here.
DISCLAIMER: This post was developed in sponsored partnership with Florida Department of Citrus, however, as always, all opinions are genuine.