Winter doesn’t have to be your “sick season.”
There’s so much to love about sweater-weather:
Strong immune systems…?
Ok, the last one isn’t a given. But, with some awareness and smart eating and lifestyle decisions, you can boost your immunity and fend off those pesky illnesses.
Winter ushers in greater instances of the flu, the common cold, “stomach bugs” like the norovirus and rotavirus, and exacerbates asthma and other breathing disorders. Winter can even have a negative impact on mental health.
Plenty of people crave the cold and snow, while others spend the season crunching numbers to see if it’s finally time to purchase that condo in Boca or Scottsdale. Love it or hate it, winter is inevitable. And, we can see it in one of two ways:
- Resign ourselves to an annual sick season, counting down the days until daffodils again show their happy faces, or
- Arm our bodies with the nutrients and habits to fight off seasonal germs so we can enjoy time with friends, curling up with a cup of hot tea, or hitting the slopes.
We can have option 2, and it doesn’t involve months of isolation. We all know the public health directives to wash our hands frequently and avoid shaking hands. Additionally, staying active (whether it’s walks outside or yoga from your living room) and keeping your body warm help to ward off illness. These lifestyle choices go a long way to keeping us healthy, but there is another huge factor.
What you eat has a direct impact on your immunity. Certain nutrients found in common foods boost your immune system, making it better able to fight off the germs that get past your diligent hand-washing routine. With the right diet and lifestyle, you can prevent winter illnesses, rather than just treating them (with varying degrees of success).
Here’s my list of the best of the best foods to capture the most effective nutrients for boosting your immunity.
Top ten winter cold-fighting foods
Loaded with vitamin E and glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, to encourage healthy lymph nodes and white blood cell function. Add this healthy fat to your salads and dips for an immediate upgrade.
2. Sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds
The vitamin E in these tasty seeds helps to keep your white blood cell count in a healthy range. Add some texture to any meal or snack or even toss them into your next baking project.
3. Garlic, ginger and turmeric roots
Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make these flavorful ingredients powerful tools to prevent and treat the common cold. These flavorful ingredients can transform your cooking and add some pizazz to your smoothies.
4. Pasture-raised eggs
A not-just-for-morning staple, eggs are packed with selenium that encourages the development and expression of white blood cells. Pasture-raised chickens are not just happier, but soak in the benefits of vitamin D absorption from the sun and pass it along to us through their eggs.
5. Intensely-colored vegetables and fruits (beets, citrus, berries, broccoli, carrots, etc.)
These beautiful foods contain a rich dose of carotenes that convert to Vitamin A. They’re also loaded with antioxidants. Plus, they bring wonderful color to a sometimes dreary season.
6. Grass-fed meats
They’re packed with selenium that encourages the development and expression of white blood cells. The more natural the animal’s food source (grass-fed), the more antioxidants, vitamins and beneficial fat for you!
7. Nuts (brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans and almonds)
The healthy dose of zinc available in many nuts works alongside vitamin A to promote proper white blood cell function. Traditionally a staple in holiday baking, nuts are also the perfect snack to take on-the-go.
8. Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, chard, etc.)
These quintessential healthy foods are loaded with vitamin C, containing antiviral and antibacterial properties. Try them in a gluten-free grain bowl or dip if you’re looking to branch out from salads.
9. Wild-caught fish
Get the healthy fats and selenium to encourage the development and expression of white blood cells. Like with grass-fed meats, the healthier your food’s food source, the more nutrients that come through to you!
The large dose of vitamin C and its antiviral and antibacterial properties encourage you to make the most of parsley. It’s much more than a garnish!
Whaddya – say: Is this the year you grab winter by the horns and take action to enjoy (or at least tolerate) the season?
Start adding these immunity-boosting foods to your shopping list today and take a proactive role in your health!
Here are some simple recipes to get you started:
Time to upgrade your diet?
Nutrition therapy is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure for any disease, mental or physical, and is not intended as a substitute for regular medical care. The contents of this website are for information purposes only. Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice or treatment, because of information contained in this website.