Nourish - 5 Top Foods For Staying Healthy This Winter
Welcome to our blog post today where we’ll be discussing 5 Top Foods For Staying Healthy This Winter.
It’s been quite mild this autumn, but boy do I feel that chill in the air today!
The winter finally feels like it’s in the air and the holiday season is almost here!
It’s around now that we tend to feel the need for a little immunity boost to help see us through the winter sniffle free.
After all, with the change of season, we may be more susceptible to those colds and flus going around.
Let’s stop them in their tracks with these 5 Top Foods for Staying Healthy This Winter.
No. 1 – Eat Some Garlic
Garlic is one of our most versatile herbs, helping to provide respiratory, immune, digestive and cardiovascular support.
Garlic is fantastic at helping to fight infection and bacteria because it helps to stimulate immune function. It also has antimicrobial properties which act on viruses, bacteria, fungi and worms.
It even has mucus-thinning compounds that are excreted partially through the lungs. This makes it a useful herb when preventing and resolving respiratory infections.
You can easily add garlic to your everyday cooking, whether in raw or cooked from.
Try roasting whole cloves with root veggies like sweet potato, carrot, parsnip or butternut squash in a splash of olive or coconut oil. Or how about making a delicious pesto or hummus with a generous amount of crushed raw garlic?
Garlic is an all-time winter wellness favourite that should be in your kitchen and in your bellies this season!
No. 2 – Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native Manuka bush. Manuka honey has many uses, but it is most commonly consumed to help promote a healthy immune system.
It’s loaded with minerals, enzymes and antioxidants, and is used to keep colds and flus at bay. Plus, it’s excellent when used against:
- sore, dry or irritated throats
- for treatment of burns
- to help build up your immune system especially at this time of year.
This is due to its high anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. These properties help fight the bacteria and viruses trying to attack our immune system.
For more info about Manuka honey, check out our blog What’s the Scoop On: Manuka Honey.
This honey can be eaten like regular honey.
- Mix it into warm water with lemon (not boiling or this will kill off the active properties)
- Mix into a chai tea
- Add to smoothies
- Mixed through porridge
- Spread on toast
- Taken off the spoon
If Manuka honey is just too much on the pricey side, opt for RAW organic honey. Raw honey has not been heat-treated/pasteurised which removes the beneficial enzymes, vitamins and health properties – all the bits you want!
It’s a pretty delicious addition to your diet for staying healthy this winter.
No. 3 – Fermented Foods
Fun Fact: your gut is where roughly 80% of your immune system is.
With that in mind, it makes sense that making sure you’ve got plenty of good bacteria in there will ensure you’re better equipped to deal with any bad bacteria heading your way.
The digestive tract is simply teeming with some 100 trillion bacteria and other microorganisms. So much research is happening that is revealing the importance of the gut on the immune system.
In particular, research is finding that a diverse and healthy intestinal microbiome (the microorganisms in your gut) is essential for optimal immune health.
Why? Because it plays such an important role in helping to:
- break down food
- synthesise various nutrients
- keep harmful substances from entering the body
- strengthen and support your immune system.
- support your digestive health and intestinal health.
Because of this, that’s why it’s so important to make sure you’ve got plenty of good bacteria in your gut. This will ensure you’re better equipped to deal with any bad bacteria heading your way. I go into much more detail in my previous blog: Candida Overgrowth: The Importance of Fermented and Cultured Foods on the Anti Candida Diet (Part Three)
Fermented Foods to Include:
- lacto-fermented veggies
- kombucha tea
- water kefir
- cultured dairy such as kefir and natural yoghurt
You’ll find these in our fridge section in-store 🙂
Check out these blog posts for more advice about increasing your fermented foods:
- Beet Kvass
- The Benefits of Vegetable Fermentation in a Nutshell [Plus Emily’s Sauerkraut recipe!]
- Support Your Immune System Now with These 5 Things
- Help Your Body Recover from Antibiotics Naturally
No. 4 – Increase Fruit and Veggies
Plants provide an abundance of immune protecting phytochemicals and are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidant-rich foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, berries, cherries and green leafy veg are go-to foods.
These will help keep your immune system strong, plus they’re supportive of your health. Equally, they also help to kill off those nasty bugs should they wriggle past your immune defence.
Fruits and veggies are also loaded with vitamins and minerals. One of the most talked-about is vitamin c. The effectiveness of vitamin C in the prevention and relief of cold and flu symptoms is well known. It helps to not only stop a cold in its tracks but to speed up the recovery should you pick up the sniffles. The good news is, fruit and veggies are loaded with it.
Good fruit and veggies sources of Vitamin C include:
- citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits
- kiwi fruits
- berries including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
- red pepper
- green leafy veg
- brussels sprouts
- broccoli and cauliflower
Citrus fruits like Satsuma’s and tangerines are also coming into season now. These are excellent as a snack, a morning juice or squeezed into hot water with honey or squeezed over winter salads. The options are limitless!
Another well-known mineral to help against any winter bugs this year is zinc. Zinc helps to fight infection. If taken within the first 24 hours from the first sign of symptoms, zinc has been shown to significantly reduce both the symptoms and severity of the common cold.
Good zinc sources include:
- seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds
- whole grains
- red meat and poultry
To help stay healthy this winter, try to make as many meals as possible that include plenty of root veggies, squashes, winter greens, mushrooms, beans, legumes and whole grains. Plus miso and seaweed for whacking up those mineral levels.
No. 5 – Herbs and Spices
Last but not least is to get in those winter warming foods! Herbs and spices can really bring a whole new level of flavour and taste to a meal, not to mention the health benefits!
- many have great effects on circulation such as chilli, cinnamon and ginger.
- many are wonderful for digestion such as fennel and mint.
- most are excellent natural anti-inflammatories. Take turmeric for example.
- You also herbs such as rosemary and thyme. Thyme has fantastic antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, expectorant, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Thyme is great for respiratory infections and coughs.
- Sage has antibacterial, antiseptic, carminative and astringent properties.
Have a read over my blog post 5 Essential Pantry Ingredients to Support Your Health This Change of Season for more on these amazing herbs.
- warming soups such as this spiced tomato soup. This contains coriander, cumin, fennel, turmeric and cayenne for a warm and nourishing bowl.
- stews and curries and such this peanut butter curry.
- hot pots and casseroles
- apple crumbles such as Pat’s Apple and Berry Crumble.
- chai lattes
- herbal teas. Use sage, rosemary and/or thyme in a soothing brew. It’s an excellent choice for when any coughs, colds, sore throats or nasal congestion arrive uninvited.
- rich stocks and broths
Some fantastic herbs and spices to include are:
- smoked paprika
- curry powders
- chilli powder
Add these to your meals for a good dose or immune-supportive deliciousness!
- stir through a teaspoon of cinnamon and ginger into your porridge
- make bread filled with cardamom or caraway
- make a turmeric latte
- bake with cinnamon
- make a curry from scratch
- roast some cashew nuts in coconut oil with cumin, cinnamon, chilli powder and a splash of maple syrup. Then top off your winter salads with a handful of these roasted nuts.
- make a spicy Mexican dish
We also stock a wide range of immunity-boosting supplements to help keep colds and bugs at bay. For more information and advice on keeping your immune system strong and healthy this winter, bookmark our other Winter Wellness Series articles:
- Support Your Immune System Now with These 5 Things
- 5 Lifestyle Choices to Strengthen Your Immunity
- 6 Immune Boosting Supplements to Keep You Healthy This Winter
- 8 Natural Tips to Halt your Cold in its Tracks
- 7 Superfood Lattes You Need to Try
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication