Now that winter has arrived and temperatures are taking a dive seemingly overnight, it is time to think of ways to nuture our immune system.
Here are a few tips for how we can keep our immunity up for the cold and flu season, as well as ingredients to have on hand should you experience cold and flu symptoms.
Eating warm foods in the cooler months supports our immunity, whilst cold foods during this time can deplete us. Soups are a great way to incorporate multiple vegetables containing a wide spectrum of nutrients, providing a nourishing and satisfying staple.
Ginger is a familiar and well known spice that has a warming quality ideal for winter months. The therapeutic properties of ginger have been known for centuries, and more recently studies have repeatedly demonstrated anti-inflammatory benefits, Ginger is a staple in my kitchen, both for flavour and health benefits.
Vitamin C may also reduce the impact of stress, as stress depletes the immune system, it therefore follows that of reducing stress by ensuring sufficient Vitamin C will boost the immune system.
Sources of vitamin C include citrus, capsicum, green vegetables, sprouts, berries. Remember that a number of factors reduce Vitamin C content in food, such as storage and variations of heat. Additional supplementation may also be required.
With impressive medicinal qualities, described briefly below, I could not leave this delicious, comforting drink off my top tips on winter essentials.
Warming turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial in itself, however less known is the antimicrobial activity (kill or slow the spread of microorganisms) which may be effective against viruses, bacteria and fungi.
Hot lemon and ginger drink with manuka honey
This traditional cold and flu remedy has stood the test of time for good reason. It is one of the first remedies we think of. It is not only soothing and comforting, but also therapeutic. In fact, a study showed that honey was more effective than an over the counter cough suppressant in relieving night coughing and improving sleep.
Another study showed that honey, particularly manuka honey, has demonstrated anti flu virus activity, via the inhibition in replication of the virus. Lemon juice also has good quantities of Vitamin C as well as other phytonutrients such as flavonoids. Ginger, as discussed above, has warming and anti-inflammatory properties.
Avoid using boiling water to make this tea, allow to cool a little. Not only is it difficult to drink without burning the mouth, the Vitamin C content is retained when water temperature drops a little.
Enjoy some immune boosting and walk through winter looking after yourself as best you can with these helpful tips