Winter is coming. And with it, comes a variety of challenges to a healthy lifestyle: shorter days, longer nights, less exercise, and more couch time. Not to mention the start of cold and flu season.
But fear not, fighting back the winter blahs might be as close as your kitchen.
Food as Medicine
The concept of “Let food be your medicine” dates back thousands of years, and that wisdom is as relevant today as it was then.
Preserving and improving your nutritional status is vital for a strong immune system. Food can help support us through these months when common winter illnesses such as colds, sniffles, coughs, chapped skin, and depression affect many.
Vitamin C, D and Zinc
Mother Nature has a clever way of providing us with what we need most at each time of the year. Vitamin C, D, and zinc are essential for strong immune function and are abundant in winter produce.
Vitamin C is used by the body to signal the production of white blood cells to protect us when foreign bacteria or viruses enter the body. It is also crucial for collagen production in the skin. Boost your intake of fresh fruits, citrus juices, leafy greens, broccoli, and other winter produce high in vitamin C.
Vitamin D is an important nutrient for bone health, immunity, cancer prevention and mood regulation. With less winter sunshine, it’s important to increase our food sources of vitamin D. These include foods such as oily fish, shellfish, fortified milk, Swiss cheese, portabella mushrooms, and egg yolks.
Zinc is a superstar nutrient when it comes to immunity. This mineral is critical for a large number of processes in the body including wound healing, fighting infection, appetite control, and digestion. Oysters, beef and lamb are high in zinc. Legumes, peanuts, cashews, seeds, and eggs are also good sources of this important mineral.
The Old Reliable
Last, but not least, your grandmother was right. A good bowl of chicken soup (or any bone broth soup or stew) is a wonderful winter option. Full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and amino acids, a delicious bowl helps support adrenal health, the nervous system, bones, and your immune system. Good for the body and the soul!
Yes, winter is coming. So too is a wonderful selection of food to provide much needed nutrition and a healthy dose of comfort. Enjoy the season and stay well.