5 Winter Food Prescriptions [Immune Boost]

Food is nature’s medicine. What’s your prescription?

What’s a food prescription? I’ve prescribed verbally before, Read: [That Time I Prescribed Something Powerful], but I get requests asking for the best foods to eat in each season and so today I’ve curated my top winter picks.

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Here’s more Winter prep for you.

[7 ways to Keep Balance in Winter] Winter is a powerful time, a time to conserve our energy and resources. Special care needs to be taken in the form of nutrition, warmth and rest. Here are 7 ways to do that.

[Eating Right in the Dead of (Canadian) Winter] While our #FoodMovement is steeped in local, organic foods, we can't quite head "back to the garden" when there's still remnants of snow and cloudy days predicted for weeks. We can't head to the lovely farmers' market & find fresh foods. But, there is some good news: Every meal doesn’t have to revolve around potatoes and onions until April. With a bit of planning & creativity, it IS possible to eat fresh with plenty of nutrients and flavor all winter long. Here’s how.

In the winter we are all concerned with our immune system. Halloween comes (sugar) and brings with it ‘flu season’ after. Next comes Christmas (more sugar) and brings with it ‘flu season’ again. Are you seeing the trend here? Slow down on the mini chocolates - Pro Insight: just because they’re small doesn’t mean you should eat more of them - and help keep your immune system strong.

Here are my top 5 Foods you need in your diet this winter.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a powerhouse food for our immune systems. They are reported to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular-protective properties. It is well-established that mushrooms are adept at immune modulation and affect our lymphocytes, macrophages, T cells (all worker cells for our immune system) along with extensive research in cancer support.

Here’s my favourite way to get mushrooms in [Feed Your Head Mushroom Eggs Recipe] and here’s an awesome article [Top 5 Magic Mushrooms & Their SuperPowers] on a VERY delicious way to get a great-tasting immune boost.

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Greens

Green vegetables, from swiss chard to broccoli, are the source of a chemical signal that is important to a fully functioning immune system. They do this by protecting immune cells in the gut and the skin known as intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) and help them function properly. Not to mention, greens are loaded with vitamins, minerals and enzymes that improve our overall health and stamina. The best way to introduce more greens is to steam them, and give them a more prominent percentage of your daily plate. Not sure where to start to get more greens in your diet? Try reading this: [How to Love Swiss Chard]

Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes so dearly! From October to March I typically have one per day :) Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotene fights off damaging molecules (called free radicals) that harm our immune system. Enjoy a baked sweet potato or create your own homemade sweet potato fries by slicing one into wedges and baking them in the oven. I like slicing & steaming or roasting mine whole with a big dab of peanut butter (crunchy, obviously!) on top. Make extra’s and use them in breakfast the next day - [Sweet Potato Oats Recipe]

Garlic

Garlic has been used for centuries to ward off infection and disease, plus it tastes so good! Recent studies show that garlic may have the power to defend against the common cold as it’s immune-boosting properties come from the chemical allicin and sulfur-containing compounds, which fight off damaging free radicals in the body. Chop (local, organic) fresh garlic cloves to get the best benefits and flavour. Garlic is the perfect addition to most meals and is easy to throw into soups, marinades or stir-fry for added flavor and nutrition. Add it to your fermented sauerkraut for a super immune boost.

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Kombucha

It’s easy to slip on our kombucha addiction when it’s no longer hot out and our body loves a cold drink. But the winter is the best time to be having a daily ferment, for the probiotics to aid our digestion and support our immune system. Due to the fermentation process involved in creating kombucha, it contains a large number of healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These bacteria line our digestive tracts and support the immune system, as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness. Since 80 percent of our immune system is located in the gut, and the digestive system is the second largest part of your neurological system, it’s no surprise that the gut is considered the “second brain.” Just a shot or two per day gives your gut great support!

Food is nature’s medicine, and there’s 5 amazing foods to add to your winter prescription this year. Other great picks that didn’t make my cut to my top 5 include Ambrosia apples, green tea, carrots, onions, homemade ginger tea, lemons and apple cider vinegar. Fuel up on real, whole foods, cut out your sugar intake and watch your energy (and immunity) soar!

Enjoy my curated my top winter picks, and feel free to share this article!

xo,

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