Winter is here, the cooler weather bringing with it a host of viruses and bacteria which can overwhelm your immune system. Your immune system – your inner army of cells and good bacteria fighting off harmful invaders – needs to be supported and well-nourished in order to keep you on our feet! And while your immune system requires a range of compounds and nutrients to keep you fighting fit, the good news is that you can find these nutrients in common – and affordable – foods.
These immune-boosting foods include chicken bone broth, garlic, turmeric and ginger. They’re common, but are you maximising their healing benefits? Let’s find out.
When you hear bone broth, you may think of grandmothers serving it up as a magic cure-all. What you might not know is that chicken bone broth contains palmitoleic acid, a fat that helps fights infection. This is an antimicrobial that helps to reduce upper respiratory symptoms like coughing and sneezing. Bone broth can be made in big batches using a slow cooker or SOMETHING and stored in the freezer, making it a handy timesaver for cooking a restorative soup – like pumpkin and ginger soup using a chicken broth base. Just remember, it’s always best to consume organic, pasture raised chicken.
Garlic is a classic immune-boosting food. Eating garlic doesn’t just stop potential lovers from wanting to kiss you, it also helps fight off microbes – thanks to an active component called Allicin. Allicin becomes increasingly active and abundant the more the garlic is chopped, crushed and exposed to air. But when garlic is cooked, allicin production ceases. So, to get the full benefits of garlic, chop or crush your garlic extra finely and leave it to sit for 10 minutes before cooking. This will help you get as much of that wonderful Allicin as possible.
Better yet, why not add a touch of raw garlic to guacamole – just don’t schedule a first date for the same day!
Ginger and turmeric are great for adding some extra ‘zing’ to a dish, which makes sense since they both belong to the Zingiberaceae family. As well as zing, they’re also full of immune-boosting antioxidants and share excellent antimicrobial properties. While ginger’s ability to soothe an upset tummy is widely known, both ginger and turmeric also help to reduce inflammation – like that stuffy winter nose.
To get the best out of turmeric and ginger, combine them with foods high in good fats. Coconut milk or oil accompany flavours perfectly and help to release the goodness inside. In a blender, mix fresh raw ginger and turmeric in coconut milk, add a touch of local honey, then heat over the stove – a delicious winter warmer!
These four foods are all tasty additions to your winter menu, and will have you feeling tip-top all through the chilly months.
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