I can definitely tell that winter has well and truly arrived as I sit at home rugged up in my warm woolen poncho that my wonderful boyfriend so kindly brought me from his trip to Turkey. The sky is grey, the air is crisp and I can see the trees rustling in the wind through my window. I get caught up in the beauty of the season until a trumpet like sound coming from the other room brings me back to reality. Yes for the 100th time today my brother is blowing his nose (so hard I’m surprised it hasn’t fallen off!).
Although there is sometimes nothing nicer than being all rugged up at home with a cup of hot chocolate while the winter weather goes on outside or than watching the leaves turn the magical red, orange and yellow that they do during autumn getting ready to be shed for the winter months, this autumn/winter time is also the time when people are most prone to getting sick.
As much as we might like to stay indoors and avoid the cold, rain and howling wind it is definitely not a possibility in these busy times and we must brave the weather and continue on with our daily lives. Not only do we not have time to stay indoors but we most certainly do not have time to get sick!
That is why I thought it was important to share my favorite immune boosting tips to stay strong during the winter months (and all year round too).
This is the tea recipe I use when I feel like I am getting sick. The great thing about tea is that it will help you stay hydrated counteracting the drying effect of the heating and will also help flush out any toxins.
To hot water or tea of your choice (preferably caffeine free as caffeine is dehydrating) I add 2 slices of fresh ginger, a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon on Manuka honey.
The ginger promotes circulation and is anti-inflammatory, the lemon juice is high in vitamin C to boost your immune system and helps digestion and the honey is antimicrobial so will help fight any nasties in your system as well as soothing a sore throat.
It that simple! And because its all fresh foods you can have as many cups as you like with no side effects. I find having 4 cups of this a day on the first day I start to feel sick knocks it on the head so I’m all better by the next day.
Garlic is known to kill anything it comes in contact with so it’s great for killing of any bugs, fungus, parasites, viruses or bacteria. However, eating too much of it will also kill off your social life!
Studies have shown that eating a clove of garlic a day has the potential to strengthen your immune system and prevent you from getting sick in the winter months.
Garlic’s properties are strongest when eaten raw so ways to incorporate it into you diet include throwing it into your cooking at the end so all its volatile oils don’t get cooked out, chopping it up and adding it to salads or salad dressings or adding it to dips such as hummus.
A tip for not getting those horrible garlic smelling hands is to wash your hands using cold water and soap instead of warm water. The warm water actually opens the pores in your hands allowing the garlic smell to permeate inside so it is harder to wash away.
Eating lots of fruit and veggies high in Vitamin C can also help boost your immune system so it can fight off infections.
Now how do you know which fruits and veg are high in vitamin C? It’s easy its the red, orange and yellow ones just like the colours of the autumn leaves. So make sure to be eating plenty of these colours such as capsicum, pumpkin, beetroot, sweet potato, red onions, chillies, oranges and berries. Although not in these colours kiwi fruit and feijoa are also exceptionally high in vitamin C.
Warm nourishing foods
During these cold months your body craves warmth. The best way to stay warm is from the inside out! When you eat cold foods your body is required to use energy to warm it up as it enters your digestive tract. To conserve energy so that your body can stay strong eat mainly warm foods. Winter is the best time to for delicious stews, soups, casseroles and curries. You can make these in bulk and freeze in individual portions so you don’t have to worry about cooking at the end of a busy day.
Adding spices to your dishes have many medicinal benefits (see Herbs and Spices for your tastebuds and tummys). I will be adding some great winter recipes to this blog soon!
Chicken soup is known as the Jewish penicillin as it has been used for centuries to help fight infections. It contains many vitamins and minerals and is fantastic for when you are feeling unwell. Simply boiling a whole chicken in water with plenty of vegies can create a delicious and nutritious soup perfect for these cold winter days!
Herbs and supplements
There are of course many herbs and supplements you can take to help boost your immune system but I prefer opting for food as medicine as a first port of call.