Each year when winter rolls around, it's important to boost your immunity with certain foods to help protect yourself against colds, flu and viruses.
Rather than simply "hoping" to avoid these discomforts or relying on synthetic medications, there are simple dietary steps you can take to actively ward them off by supporting your immune system with certain types of whole foods.
There's a reason why the foods we'll talk about here naturally come forth in greater abundance in the winter season and are at their prime during the colder months.
It's because they are mother nature's protector-inhibitor foods.
Here, we reveal our top five winter immune-boosting foods and why you should definitely include more of them in your diet during the winter months to help build your body's defences.
1. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are incredibly juicy and refreshing, but they’re also packed with nutrients and vitamins that support and boost your body's immune system, which is vital for warding off seasonal threats and viruses.
The most common citrus fruits include:
- Lemons and limes.
They're packed with vitamin C, fibre, pectins and minerals, that not only have incredible immune-boosting properties, but which also are very effective for alleviating infection, congestion and inflammation that can help speed up recovery from colds and flu.
Citrus fruits contain fibres and pigments such as carotenoids, folate and potassium, that also assist in preventing nutritional deficiency as well as targeting the health of certain parts of the body, such as the breasts which have the exact same visual structure as citrus fruits.
During the winter months, shop for citrus fruits at your local farmer's markets on the weekend and stock up on a variety of different kinds to get you through the week. Snack on them raw, add them to fresh juices and raw salads and use them to prepare fresh salad dressings as well.
Garlic contains a potent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal compound called, allicin, which gives it its powerful immune-boosting properties. In addition, garlic is known to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and even help prevent certain types of cancers.
Not only is garlic a key cooking addition to many delicious meals, providing bold robust flavour, it also works behind the scenes to protect you from getting sick and can even help to cure infections and inflammation.
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 down with a cold or flu, you can also hold a clove of garlic in the mouth for a minute or so, then chew and eat 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 a cold or flu in its tracks.
3. Leafy Greens
As we know, vitamin C is a key to fighting off colds and flu, and leafy greens are actually one of the best sources of this potent vitamin. In addition, they are packed with Vitamin E, iron, folate and beneficial plant compounds, called polyphenols which boost circulation and protect the body against oxidative stress.
Dark leafy greens are at their best and naturally come forth in the winter time. These include:
- Silver Beet
- Cos lettuce (Romaine)
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 fibres that help clear your digestive tract.
With leafy greens being in season, take advantage of them several times each week by adding them to salads, stews, soups and smoothies.
Ginger is a powerful antioxidant and incredible medicinal food, especially calming and beneficial to your immune system.
With ginger being abundantly in season in winter, use it to your full benefit to boost your body's natural defences to help fight off illnesses and infection.
Ginger has been used for centuries to treat stomach aches, indigestion, headaches, nausea and more. But probably its most powerful benefit is in cold and flu prevention, as well as soothing coughs and sore throats because it is a natural decongestant.
Take a preventative approach to your health this winter by making ginger a staple addition to your diet.
Grate it onto raw asian salads, add it to stir fries and curries, and include it in your fresh raw juice recipes at home. You can also add a few slices of fresh ginger and a squeeze of lemon juice to a mug of hot water to prepare a refreshing and calming winter tea morning and night.
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.
- Sweet potatoes
- Radishes and;
Ancient cultures recognised these foods for their abilities in helping the body to "strengthen and establish" during the colder months. And the truth is, these types of heartier vegetables are what we naturally crave at winter time, rather than the higher water content, lighter varieties that come forth seasonally during the summer time.
Other additional vegetables that are wonderful during the winter season that you should eat regularly include, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and asparagus.
Add root vegetables such as onions, celery, carrot, parsnips and potatoes to your bakes, casseroles and stews. Add beetroot, celery, radishes and onions to your salads. And be sure to include plenty of celery, carrots and beetroot to your raw juice recipes.
Some other recommended winter immune-boosting foods are these:
- Fresh Berries (locally sourced and grown)
- Raw Organic Honey
- Nature-Made Salt
- Apples and
- Kiwi Fruits
Self Care Tips For Supporting Your Immunity During Winter
As always, it's important to avoid highly processed and refined foods during the winter season as they will compromise your immunity at a time when you need it most. This primarily means, limit your intake of packaged and processed foods and refined sugars and grains.
Other handy tips include:
- Get some exercise every day. Try to break a light sweat to help your body release toxins.
- Get plenty of sunshine. The vitamin D helps boost your immune system.
- 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.
- Get fresh, moving outdoor air every day to help clear your lungs and respiratory system.
- Use quality essential oils with known antibacterial properties such as, Tea tree, Eucalyptus, lemon, cardamom, and peppermint oil are all beneficial to immunity.
- Enjoy weekly hot salt baths using Epsom Salts or our Detox Salt Blends
- Make time for sleep. Your body needs 7-8 hours a night to rest and recover, so that it can be in the best shape to ward off seasonal threats.
The Main Takeaway
Eating more winter immune-boosting foods can help ensure your immune system is robust and strong and able to get through the cold and flu season.
Winter is a time to be very conscious of the foods you eat and also to let go of foods that you know can place additional stress on your immunity.
Embrace a variety of the foods we've shared with you hear and you'll go a long way to ensuring that your immune system is strong during the winter season.
Tolman Self Care.