When looking to foods to stay healthy through any season, a good place to start is at your local farmer’s market. Foods that have thrived despite cold winds and rain help to strengthen your body to handle these same elements. As germs spread easily through our respiratory and digestive systems, keeping these systems clear should be a priority in warding off sickness, and in helping it pass quickly if it hits. Temperature is also important. It is cold outside, and your organs like to be warm to work efficiently. Warm up with cooked food and warming spices, leave the ice cream for another time.
Winter season super foods:
Apples and pears – strengthening for both the lungs and large intestine, they are wonderfully warming when cooked.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, bok choy) – strengthening to the immune system. Bake them, steam them, sauté them, put them into soup!
Garlic – a natural antibiotic, add to sautés, to beans, and dips.
Ginger – a great antiseptic, good for nausea and for clearing mucus in the lungs. Slice thin and boil to make tea or chop it fine and add with garlic to a veggie sauté. If you don’t want to eat or drink it, put your head over a boiling pot of ginger with a towel over your head and inhale the vapor.
Honey – helps to gather up mucus to get rid of inside the body. It is an effective antibacterial treatment for cuts and burns and does wonders for chapped lips and skin.
Mushrooms – boost immune function and are great cooked up with garlic and greens.
Peppermint – a wonderful digestive aide. Serve as tea with a spoonful of honey after meals.
Onion – great antioxidant and antiviral, they have a warming effect on the body as well.
Whole grains – especially brown rice is great at scrubbing the intestinal walls and besides being full of vitamins and minerals, is great at keeping elimination regular.
What to keep on hand in your medicine pantry:
Probiotics to maintain healthy intestinal flora and fauna (especially if you take antibiotics).
Vitamin D is important for a strong immune system (as well as for strong bones!). Foods that contain vitamin D include salmon, egg yolks, beef, cheese, and fortified sources such as milk, yogurt, and cereals.
Essential fatty acids (omega 3’s and 6’s) offer important anti-inflammatory support and are essential for proper nerve function. Try flax oil or an EFA blend. Cod liver oil has preformed important fats like DHA. Try Nordic Naturals or Garden of Life chewables for children with fruity flavors.
Garlic mullein drops for your ears – great for warding off infection.
A few cold season home remedies:
Red onion cough syrup – Slice a red onion thinly. Drizzle with honey or with sugar and leave on a plate in the refrigerator overnight. The syrup that collects on the plate is great for coughs!
Ginger lemon and honey tea lung tonic – Take an inch of ginger root, slice it thinly and add to a full pot of water. Bring to a boil and continue to let boil for 5-10 minutes. Serve in a mug with a tablespoon of homey and juice of 1/2 lemon. You can re-boil the ginger slices for 2-3 more batches of tea.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic – in its raw state. Chop finely and put on a spoonful of honey on an empty stomach. Chew well, chase with water, tea, and breakfast.