The seasonal drop in temperature usually also brings a spike in sickness, but you can outsmart the cold this season by eating our top 10 foods to keep you warm, healthy and happy this winter. Help to prevent bugs by stocking your fridge and pantry with these immunity-boosting items over the upcoming chilly months.
1. Bone Broth – Bone broth contains an abundance of minerals and electrolytes in an easily absorbable form with immune stimulating properties, making it the most nutritious and delicious healing and protective tonic. Chicken broth is a valuable cure for colds and flus and mineral and gelatin rich broth consumed daily will protect the body against infection and disease. You can buy both hot cups of fresh organic bone broth as well as take home containers of chicken, beef and fish bone broth from The Health Emporium.
2. Slow Cooked Stews, Casseroles and Braises – Hearty casseroles and stews make us feel warm from the inside-out during the cold weather. The key to making this comfort food is to use organic grass-fed meat, and to add bone broth, lots of organic vegetables, herbs and spices, and most importantly to use a long slow cooking method, resulting in the most gorgeously flavoursome meals that are also superbly nutrient-dense, as cooking at low temperatures both extracts the minerals and preserves the enzymes in food.
3. Soups – Soups are a great option nutritionally as they contain lots of key nutrients including vitamins and minerals. Chicken soup can actually help soothe a cold, as the chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, which thins mucus in the lungs, the hot broth helps to keep nasal passages moist, prevent dehydration, fights inflammation in the throat, plus chicken soup may also help the body kick a cold by stopping congestion and inflammation in their tracks.
4. Warming Spices – Many common spices are not only antibacterial but also antiviral. Garlic, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon can be added to drinks and to cooking during winter to both treat colds and flus and to add extra flavour.
5. Warming teas – Drinking a steaming hot tea while you’re under the weather can help the body fight off infections, thanks to natural bacteria fighting compounds in tea. Warm liquids can soothe a sore throat and alleviate congestion and drinks like freshly-brewed green tea or hot water with lemon and ginger are ideal for staying hydrated while helping out that stuffy nose.
6. Porridge – During winter your go to breakfast should be both warming and nutritious. Porridge is quick, easy and satisfying, packed full of goodness and has a wide range of health benefits. Oats help to reduce bad cholesterol and they’re packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. You can also make lovely porridges with chia seeds, rice or quinoa instead of oats. Mix up your mornings by adding berries, fresh fruit, seeds, nuts and lovely warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla to your daily dose of porridge to start your mornings with a warm, full belly and lots of energy that will slowly release throughout the day.
7. Cooked vegetables – Opt for steamed or roasted vegetables in winter instead of cold salads. Roasting vegetables such as beetroot, pumpkin, sweet potato, brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and fennel brings out the natural sweetness while still retaining nutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
8. Dark Leafy Greens – Winter green veggies, including kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and silverbeet, all have amazing anti-cancer and other disease-fighting properties and are an excellent source of fibre and vitamins A and C.
9. Natural yogurt – Natural plain, unsweetened, whole-milk yogurt contains probiotics, the friendly bacteria that are essential for good gut health and help to boost immunity by protecting against viruses. Other foods which are also rich in probiotics include sauerkrauts, fermented miso, tempeh, kombucha and kefir.
10. Citrus – Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes, are at their most delicious during the winter months, providing refreshing flavours as well as flavonoids, which can help boost the immune system and are great for a speedy recovery from a cold.
Winter is a time for ‘going within’ and resting; as the days become shorter and the nights longer we should allow ourselves to rest and catch up on sleep. It’s cold outside and warm in your bed – don’t feel guilty if you have a sleep in on your day off, or take a little longer to enjoy your cup of tea by the fire in the mornings. Listen to your body and provide it with the nurturing foods and drinks that we are so lucky to have easily available to us to keep warm, healthy and happy this winter.
Written by Prue Rustean