Winter – my old nemesis!
As a kid, winter was always the time where the demazin syrup use was at an all mighty high, cold & flu tabs were at arms reach… & spluttering, sniffing & achey bones were just a given! As I moved into adulthood… winter became a total write off!
A lot of fun, right?
But here’s where it gets good!
Since switching over to an organic diet of mineral rich wholefoods – I think Anth & I have each been sick maybe once or twice in the last 4 years. (Thank you, thank you, thank you beautiful wholefoods!)
And although our diet is made up of only nourishing wholefoods – In the winter time – when our immune systems can be at their most vulnerable – we make sure to amp up on a few specific foods… as well as ease up on a few others.
Processed foods of any kind, sugar, gluten, & dairy.
Although we don’t eat any refined foods, gluten or dairy – for us this time of year – we like to keep our natural sugars very, very low… meaning only the occasional piece of raw chocolate or jelly slice.
Why? Because at the end of the day – sugar is still sugar – & sugar not only reduces your vitamin C intake – but it destroys your good gut flora & feeds the baddies in your gut.
And because 80% of your immune system is located in your gut (yep – 80%!!) – having crappy gut health – especially around winter time – is not something you want to promote!
What should you be amping up on?
Here’s our top 6 immune boosting foods that will help you feel your best this winter!
Lemons aren’t only pumping with Vitamin C which strengthens your immune system, they also stimulate your digestion which is incredibly important to actually obtain all of that body-loving nutrition from your food.
When you get up in the morning – try to have 2 big glasses of warm or room temp water with 1 big squeezed lemon.
For extra brownie points, have a little apple cider vinegar with a dash of water before your meals (don’t have it straight – you’ll burn your throat!).
Garlic contains allicin, a phytonutrient which has incredible anti-microbial, anti-fungal & anti-viral properties. It can help to fight off infections & viruses that lead to colds, flus & all the other fun stuff winter brings with it.
To get the most benefits from your garlic, chop it or crush & let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking with it. This will increase the concentration of allicin & give you the most bang for your buck.
Ginger has been used as an immune booster in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Ginger helps with digestion, gut health & is very effective at helping the body to fight off viruses as well as fungal infections.
You can learn more about the benefits of ginger as well as how to grow your own here!
Turmeric not only increases insulin sensitivity, improves brain function & helps to prevent muscle degeneration – It also reduces inflammation & helps your immune system fight off bad bacteria.
Curcumin is the compound in Turmeric that is responsible for of these incredible benefits – but as powerful as it is, it’s not very bioavailable when taken on its own, meaning your body will have a hard time making the most if it as it is. Adding black pepper to your Turmeric significantly increases the bioavailability & therefore the effectiveness of Curcumin!
Want to grow your own Turmeric or find out more about the insanely amazing benefits? Check out this post!
5. NON STARCHY, FIBROUS VEG
Remember how 80% of your immune system is located in your gut?
Well non starchy veg like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi & brussels sprouts are packed with gut loving fibre promoting beautiful gut health & good digestion.
As an extra little bonus – these veggies are all rich in vitamin C too!
Want to read more about the benefits of these bad boy veggies? Check this post out!
6. We’ve left the best until last…. LEAFY GREENS
Leafy greens are packed with body loving vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, & enzymes that all play a big role in helping you to feel your best.
One of the best & most important nutrients they bring to the table is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps your body to build blood, transport oxygen more efficiently around the body & will help to keep your immune system fighting fit!
Need some green inspiration? Take your pick from kale, silverbeet, spinach, rocket, radicchio, bok choy, mustards, water cress, beet greens or turnip greens.
Our rule of thumb? Make sure half your plate is filled with leafy greens at every meal.
Another sneaky way to get more greens into you is by juicing.
One of our favourite juices for winter time (and an awesome way to incorporate more of these winter loving foods!) is 1 bunch of greens, 1 head of broccoli, 1 lemon, 1 knob of ginger, 1 knob of turmeric, 1 green apple & a pinch of black pepper. I haven’t added garlic to this juice as of yet but it’s on the cards – if you do it – let me know how it tastes! You can also try our detoxifying & immune boosting juice recipe here!