Warming for the Winter
Warming for the Winter
During the change of season, leading to colder, wetter weather, coughs, colds and the flu are an unfortunate feature of the season that we are faced with. Especially now, with covid and extra health precautions, it is more important than ever to boost and maintain our immune systems and provide our bodies with nutrient-packed foods can help fight off infection.
We explore some of the best ingredients and meals, incorporating the best of the seasonal crops and winter warmers to heat you up from the inside and soothe the soul for when the temperature drops.
The best way to tap in to such a vast list of foods is to start slowly and to integrate these in to your daily meals, snacks and recipes all year round and before the winter season hits, to increase the quantity and assortment of colourful foods that you consume. Remember diversity is key when it comes to healthy, balanced eating, and always to drink plenty of water to hydrate and provide enough sleep for the body while it works so hard and give it the needed liquid and rest to perform it’s tasks to the best ability.
Important phytonutrients to take in during winter:
Flavonoids, natures natural “antihistamines”, such as quercetin or catechin, are a group of plant pigments predominantly responsible for the colours of many fruits, vegetables, and flowers. These prevent both the manufacture and release of histamine, as well as other allergic, viral and inflammatory compounds, it even stimulates the immune system . This makes foods high in flavonoids perfect for the winter time.
Some winter flavonoid-filled foods:
– Blueberries, strawberries, cherries, cranberries
– Red wine
– Bell peppers
– Dark chocolate
Root Veg (most of these are high in Beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant and needed for the conversion of vitamin A, which will also help keep skin healthy and prevent drying due to the cold).
– Sweet potato
Vitamin C is next, known for being an extremely dynamic vitamin, it not only serves a multitude of functions in the body like being a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, its role in synthesis of collagen for skin, blood vessels and bones, and more! Vitamin C loses some of its efficacy once exposed to air, after being boiled, processed or even stored for too long, luckily, we’ve been blessed with oodles of options to take in this ultimate and essential nutrient for our human life, vitamin C.
Here are just some of the many options of delicious vitamin C-packed foods:
– Leafy greens, like spinach, kale, watercress, rocket
– Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussel sprouts
– Citrus foods, like oranges, lemon, grapefruit
– Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, black currents
– Cayenne pepper, bay leaf, saffron, basil, thyme, parsley
Essential Omega-3 fatty acids have profound anti-inflammatory properties which have shown to be functionally inflammation-resolving too. A crucial feature since allergic rhinitis is characterized by a chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa, so by reducing inflammation and boosting overall efficiency of the body’s natural functions, we will be able to significantly assist in boosting the immune system. There is an array of natural omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty cold-water fish, like from salmon, trout, tuna, pilchards and even from eggs. For an easier, more accessible way, especially to supplement with a healthy dose of these essential fats is through any of the B-well Canola products, below is a list of the products that contain omega-3 and some other plant-based options too:
Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin is important to supplement during the winter periods when daytime is shorter and little sunlight can be enjoyed. Vitamin D is crucial for important functions beyond just bone health , it also modulates both main stages of the immune responses. Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in autoimmune disease too, this is because cells of the immune system are capable of synthesizing and responding to the positive effects of vitamin D. It also plays a big role in mood and hormone levels, Vit D is a great way to prevent “winter blues. Find them in these foods:
– Foods fortified with Vitamin D (like orange juice, milk, cereals)
– Fatty fish
– Sunlight (you can’t eat it, but you can lay in the sun and allow your whole body to feast).
Get spicy (Not only for flavour, but most of these spices are thermogenic- these are foods that help warm up our bodies and speed up the metabolism. Spices also can aid with digestion, help in decreasing inflammation and provide good amounts of immune-boosting zinc)
– Star anise
Adaptogenic Foods. (These help the body adapt to biological and psychological stress, overcome and rebalance shifts in hormones during stress and through changes.)
– Mushrooms (like shiitake, chaga, cordyceps, lions mane,
– Liquorice Root
– Goji Berries
– Holy Basil/Tulsi
Whole grains (these are packed with B-Vitamins, dietary fibre and minerals like magnesium which help support mood, relaxation and immunity. These will also keep one feeling fuller and warmer for longer due to their slow energy release, assisting with weight support too.
– Bulghar wheat
– Brown rice
As you can see, there is a vast array of different foods to explore and create with this winter. We love exploring different soups, stews and curries.
It is also important to remember to stay hydrated during the winter, to continue with or establish an exercise routine to stay fit and to not overeat for comfort as it becomes counteractive to winter well-being. Happy Winter Everybody.