By choosing to fill our plates with vibrant, health giving and nutrient dense foods, we are giving ourselves the best chance to fight off any lurking winter bugs.
Our skin and hair may also feel the harsh effects of the cooler temperature. You can help counteract these effects AND boost your overall immunity by eating a range of the following foods:
Brightly coloured organic and seasonal fruits and vegetables
Fruits and veggies are rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc and antioxidants which help heal and nourish the body and boost overall health. Choose organic to avoid unwanted pesticides and chemicals.
Our top five include:
Dark Leafy Greens (silverbeet, kale, Asian greens, rocket, spinach) – full of vitamins, minerals and chlorphyll to nourish your body and keep your liver working optimally
Blueberries (especially wild) – rich in polyphenols to ward off viruses and prevent free radical damage
Sweet potatoes – a powerful source of beta carotene to keep skin and hair in top condition
Broccoli – rich in immune boosting phytochemicals
Garlic and ginger – potent antiviral and antibacterial qualities
Turmeric (both fresh and powdered)
Curcumin is the active ingredient in ancient yellow rooted turmeric and is useful at reducing inflammation in the body. It is an excellent immune booster thanks to its antiviral and antibacterial qualities. Use the fresh root or powdered spice in everything from curries, soups and stews to desserts, tea and smoothies. I love to add it to my scrambled eggs for an extra hit of goodness (and colour).
Food based probiotics such as kefir and yoghurt
Both kefir and yoghurt are brimming with healthy and diverse strains of probiotics that can help support digestive function, repopulate gut flora after antibiotic use and boost immune function. Kefir actually contains a specific strain, Lactobacillus kefiri, which helps to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and prevent infection.
Substitutions based on coconut milk, coconut water or plain water are great options for those who cannot tolerate dairy.
Mushrooms (fresh and medicinal powders)
Medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, cordyceps, chaga and maitake are wonderful at supporting immune health. Being adaptogenic means they can help the body cope during stressful times (physical and emotional). They’re also rich in antioxidants and can boost our energy levels, particularly useful during winter when we tend to feel sluggish and slower paced. Medicinal mushrooms are usually found in a powdered form so can be added to any liquid food or drink that you normally have during winter.
Fresh mushrooms also include an array of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D. From your morning scrambled eggs to lunchtime salad to casserole for dinner, fresh mushrooms can be eaten all day every day!!
Making soups, stews and casseroles with bone broth is excellent for boosting immunity, especially over the winter months. It contains an amino acid called arginine to support liver health, glutamine to support healthy metabolism and glycine which aids sleep by increasing glutathione production. Learn more about the benefits of bone broth here.
Also highly recommended are:
Nuts and seeds
Rich in omegas and healthy fats, nuts and seeds can help improve the condition of your skin and hair during the drying winter months. They are also a rich source of zinc, an essential mineral known for keeping immunity strong.
by Emma Hansen for go natural foods