Five Winter Immune-Boosting Foods

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Every year when the temperature drops and winter rolls around, it's important to boost our immunity to protect against colds and flu. 

Rather than simply hope to avoid these discomforts and viruses, there are steps we can take to actively ward them off by supporting our immune systems with certain whole foods. 

There's a reason why these foods naturally come forth and are at their prime during the winter months - they are nature's protector-inhibitor foods. 

Keep reading to find out the top five winter immune-boosting foods and why you should be eating them as much as possible each winter for your healthiest season yet. 

1. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are incredibly refreshing, but they’re also packed with nutrients and vitamins that help boost your immune system. Oranges are packed with carotenoids, fiber, folate and potassium but they do much more than ward off nutritional deficiency. They strengthen the heart and help protect from cancers. Oranges are also loaded with Vitamin C, which means that colds won’t stick around for too long.

Whole food vitamin C kick starts your body’s anti-inflammatory response into action so you can say goodbye to your cold, flu, sore throat and infection.

Over loading on citrus fruits - oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes will reduce the length of time you are sick and how seriously it develops. Staying active and eating citrus is a winning combination as they both support your immunity.

During winter months, try drinking a warm glass of water with lemon when you first wake up. Not only will this jump start your digestive system for the day, but also give you a potent boost of nutrients first thing each morning.             

Learn more in Why Vitamin C Boosts Immunity and Protects Against Viruses.

2. Garlic

Garlic contains a potent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal compound called, allicin.

Not only is garlic a key component of many delicious meals, it’s also one of the best winter immune-boosting foods. While you’re getting bold, robust flavour, it’s working behind the scenes to protect you from getting sick and can even help cure infections.    

In winter, kick up your garlic intake by cooking with it regularly in soups, stews, sauces and stir fries.

If you feel like you're coming get a cold, flu, or sinus, hold a clove of garlic in the mouth for a minute or so, then consume it raw.  Raw garlic is known to contain the maximum amount of allicin, so eating a clove a day this way is considered to be extra potent for stopping colds and flu in their tracks.                                   

 3. Leafy Greens

Consuming plenty of vitamin C is key to fighting off colds and sickness, and leafy greens are actually one of the best sources of them. These dark green leaf vegetables include spinach, kale, sliver beet, collard greens, cabbage, romaine lettuce and watercress. 

Regardless of immunity, these are some of the healthiest foods to include in your diet thanks to the abundance of nutrients and vitamins they offer and the fiber that helps clear your digestive tract. 

With leafy greens being in season, take advantage of these fantastic winter immune-boosting greens and try to consume some every day, or even every meal.

They’re easy to work into your diet.  Prepare a leafy green salad drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil and throw them in stews and soups, on sandwiches, and blend into smoothies. 

Learn more in 6 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immunity. 

4. Ginger

Most people associate ginger with soothing an upset stomach, for good reason. Ginger is an incredible medicinal food, especially calming and beneficial to your immune system. With ginger being in season in winter, you can use it to your full benefit and help fight off illnesses. 

Ginger has long been used to treat colds, chest congestion, headaches, nausea, stomachaches, diarrhea, vomiting, and more. Take a preventative approach to your health this winter by making ginger a staple in your diet, to help ward off illness this year.

Ginger can be a great addition to most asian dishes - stir fries and curries, and a daily ginger tea could be the difference between a small cold that lasts a few days to a two-week illness. 

5. Root Vegetables

All vegetables are good for you, but root vegetables that grow below the ground - known as tubers - are some of the best winter immune-boosting foods.

These include celery, sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips, turnips, beetroot, carrots, radishes and onions.

These are known as the "strengthen and establish" foods at winter time and they're naturally what we crave during cooler months, when more hydrating fruits and vegetables have moved out of season.

The best part is, these all work wonderfully in foods that you can easily make ahead and freeze, like soups, stew, and chilli, so that you can always have a delicious, comforting and immune-boosting meal at the ready. 

Learn more in 5 Simple Daily Practices to Fortify Your Immune System. 

More winter immune-boosting foods:

  • Berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries)
  • Raw Honey
  • Good Nature-Made Salt (Celtic Salt, Himalayan Salt)
  • Apples
  • Kiwi 
  • Broccoli
  • Parsley

Learn more in Immune System: Top Immunity Boosting Foods. 

Foods to avoid for your immune system: 

  • Refined sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Refined carbs
  • Soda
  • Highly processed foods

Try this drink regularly to prevent the flu and boost your immune system:

Rooster Booster “Flu the Coop”

- Carrots

- Apple

- Stalks of Celery 

- Handful of Parsley Garlic

- Beet with greens

Juice the garlic first, and then juice the celery and parsley together. To juice the parsley, tuck the stems into the groove of the celery sticks. Finish juicing with the carrots and apples. Drink this health beverage regularly to fortify your system and get an influx of vitamins and nutrients. 

More ways to boost your immune system naturally:

  1. Get some exercise every day. The sweat is good to help your body release toxins. 
  2. Get plenty of sunshine. The vitamin D helps boost your immune system. 
  3. Use the Nature’s Silver Bullet Immunity Booster. It uses the natural but powerful Colloidal Silver and Fulvic Acid to fight viral, bacterial and fungal threats. 
  4. Fresh air is necessary, too much recycled or processed air can hurt your immune system.
  5. Use quality essential oils. Tea tree, eucalyptus, lemon, cardamom, and peppermint oil are all beneficial to immunity. Learn more at Top Essential Oils for Colds, Flu, Immunity & Seasonal Allergies. 
  6. Salt Baths can help with Epsom Salts or Detox Salt Blends
  7. Make time for sleep. Your body needs 7-8 hours a night to rest and recover, so that it can be refortified to fight off illness. 

Eating more winter immune-boosting foods can help ensure your immune system is ready to tackle whatever bacteria or virus that comes your way.

And if you do get sick, by embracing these foods and tips, you can bounce back quickly and get back to your normal. 

Tolman Self Care.

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