Did you know that nearly 70% of your immune cells live in the gut? Nutrient-dense foods are among your best defence to avoid colds and flus this season. Here are our recommended immune-boosting foods to add into your winter meal planning.
1 – BoneBroth
Bone broths have been part of culinary traditions around the world for centuries and have had a resurgence in popularity recently. Makes sense given the general knowledge to have some soup when you are sick is backed up by science! Chicken bone broth has been shown to help reduce the side effects of colds, flus and upper respiratory #infections specifically. Bone broths slowly unlock the nutrients found in bones like protein, collagen, glucosamine, gelatin and loads of trace minerals. These help support the immune system, reduce inflammation and nourish your digestive tract.
Plus, bone broths are super easy-to-make, inexpensive and store for up to 6 months in the freezer! You can use bone broths as a base for soups, stews, sauces or to braise meats and vegetables. The more you consume during cold/flu season, the more impact it will have in boosting the work of your immune system. Our ECookbook has an delicious recipe and the book pictured here by @nourishedkitchen will help expand your culinary experience of both broths & stocks.
2 – Organic, Free-Range Eggs
Eggs contain essential aminoacids, vitamins and minerals needed to keep you healthy. The benefits of organic eggs may be worth the extra cost. They come from chickens eat 100% organic feed, free of any agricultural chemical residues. The chickens also have access to outdoor space to roam and eat grasses, plants, and insects. This improves the nutritional quality of the fat found in eggs. Free-range and organic eggs are higher in omega-3 fatty acids and contain two-thirds more vitamin A, seven times more beta-carotene and three times more vitamin E than conventional eggs.
Getting more vitamin A from organic eggs helps maintain your immune system and healthy skin, hair and eyes. Beta-carotene, which accounts for the dark orange colour of organic egg yolks, is a precursor to vitamin A in your body. It also functions as an #antioxidant, helping to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that helps to maintain healthy red blood cells, nerve function and cell membranes.
One egg a day provides 6g of protein and is also a good source of iron, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, phosphorus and selenium
3 – WildSalmon
Wild salmon provides immune-boosting omega-3s, protein, vitamin E, vitamin D and calcium.
Some studies point to vitamin D deficiency in the winter months that leaves many susceptible to the cold/flu season. One serving of wild salmon provides more than a day’s worth of vitamin D.Try having it two to three times a week throughout flu season to maximize the impact of these immune boosting powers.
It’s important when shopping for salmon that you also pick a healthy, fresh fish. According to the George Mateljan Foundation, Alaskan salmon is the least contaminated species. You also want to look for consistent colouring (no dark spots), firm flesh that springs back to the touch, fresh smelling (not fishy).
In Ayurvedic medicine, it is believed that ginger helps to break down the accumulation of toxins in our organs due to its warming effects. Gingerol is the active ingredient that provides the “warming up” affect that helps get oxygen-rich blood circulating throughout the body. It is also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials – a key immunity action when fighting off colds and flus.
Add ginger to stir fries, stews, soups or steep it in hot water to make tea. Antioxidants work best in your body when you get them straight from fruits and veggies.
If you follow us already, then you know we are advocates of the healing supports turmeric offers. Curcumin is the active ingredient in this orange root is anti-viral and anti-fungal. It can be hard to absorb into the bloodstream. Best to take it with some black pepper and quality fats to get it into the body.
Studies suggest that turmeric can help provide a boost to the white blood cells that help your immune system fight off bacteria, viruses and other ailments. On top of this, studies have also been performed on turmeric’s effects on inflamed white blood cells and the mediation of those cells. The outcome of all studies provides evidence that turmeric helps regulate the communication of white blood cells to the immune system and the rest of the body, providing a better connection and helping the efficiency of your immune system.
We keep turmeric in steady rotation, along with ginger and garlic, after any one of us has had the flu or cold. Their anti-inflammatory actions are great for lingering #symptoms like a phlegmy cough, post nasal drip, or an irritated throat.
6 – Garlic
Garlic has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties all great in preventing and treating your cold or flu this season. The active ingredient in garlic called #allicin fights infections and bacteria.
British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; the garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold.
Crushing garlic versus cutting it helps unlock this nutrient’s potential.
Try having up to two raw cloves a day and adding crushed garlic to your cooking several times a week to get the most out of this powerful plant.
7 – LactoFermented Foods
These foods provide probiotics that play a critical role in nutrient processing and education of the immune system. Fermenting foods is a traditional culinary practice spanning centuries that was used to help preserve the power of plant foods past harvest.
Studies show that specific foods containing probiotics reduce the occurrence, length and severity of colds. Probiotics provide critical benefits to people with poor immunity or those who have just finished a course of antibiotics (which can wipe out protective gut bacteria).
These microbes are also essential for brain development and digestive health. The microbes help break down food that we can’t digest, extract key nutrients and essential vitamins, and produce chemicals that aid bodily functions.
During the cold/flu season, up your fermented food intake with miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir and/or kombucha. Try consuming about a tablespoon worth with each meal. And if you are making the bone broth we mentioned in an earlier post, add some miso to whichever soups, stews and sauces you make with the broth to up the immune boosting power of those dishes.
If you do come down with the cold or flu this season, we wish you deep restoration. Be sure to take time to rest and ask for support in preparing nourishing meals to help relieve your symptoms and support your healing.