In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s winter (in Australia). The kettle seems to never go off at my place – I’m always sipping on a variety of herbal teas and finding recipes for healthy and warming soups to cook in bulk for the family.
But winter is also a harsh time for health, as the body strives to get used to the change in temperature, diet and daily routine. You can get the immune system pumping and keep the winter germs at bay by regular exercise, however, there are certain foods you can introduce to your diet that would also assist in keeping you germ-free for the next three months.
Get started now and boost your immune system sans flu shot:
- Boil the kettle. Hydration is just as important in the cooler months, so if you don’t feel like cold water, try warm water with a slice of fresh lemon or your favourite herbal tea. It’s vital to maintain a good level of hydration to assist your immune system to fight off any infections.
- Add garlic. Garlic is nature’s immune booster. Sauté in coconut oil or olive oil prior to making a stir-fry, throw some in your Sunday roast or add to a freshly squeezed juice. Easy and delicious!
- Eat your greens. Find it hard to eat a salad in winter? Let stir-frys, curries and vegetable soups become your winter staples to ensure your meals are packed full of natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Add your favourite greens (collards, kale, spinach) to any stew or soup recipe to a boost of nutrients.
- Include citrus. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, tangerines, clementines… Make a wise fruit choice and get a good dose of vitamin C at the same time. Or try a grapefruit, orange, red onion and flat leaf parsley salad with your choice of protein for dinner. I love having a big cup of warm water with a wedge of lemon or grapefruit, first thing in the morning.
- Make broth. Eighty per cent of your immune system exists in your gut, making gut health a high priority all year round, but particularly in winter. Simply save your grass-fed meat bones or chicken carcass and cover in water, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt, in a large pot. Bring to the boil on the stove before simmering for 24-48 hours in a slow cooker. Allow to cool before straining. Retain only the liquid yield and drink with a meal, use as stock or turn into soup with extra vegetables.
What are your winter tricks that help keep the germs at bay during the cooler season?