4 Diet Tips to Keep You Healthy This Winter Season

Your immune system helps to protect you from many infectious agents that you come in contact with every day. But, did you know that more than half of your immune system is located in the digestive system? So, without a healthy digestive system, your immune system cannot do its job properly. Taking care of yourself and nourishing yourself helps to keep your body functioning optimally. Here are four important diet tips to promote total body wellness:

  • Eat seasonally appropriate foods: Apples, beets, cabbage, carrots, citrus, parsnips, onions, garlic, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, and turnips are just some examples of plentiful foods in winter. Eating seasonally has many benefits. For example, seasonally ripe foods taste better as well as have a peak nutritional profile. During colder temperatures, it is best to move away from cold foods (raw foods, salads, juices and anything directly out of the fridge or freezer) and enjoy cooked preparations such as stews, soups, and roasted root vegetables. In addition, spark your digestion by adding warming spices to your dishes. Examples include cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and black pepper.
  • Eat nutrient dense foods. Enjoy a diet rich in whole foods, colorful fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, high quality proteins and healthy fats. Immune supportive nutrients include: Beta-carotene and other carotenoids – examples include: apricots, asparagus, beef liver, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, guava, kale, mangoes, mustard and collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash (yellow and winter), sweet potato, tangerines, and tomatoes. Vitamin C – examples include: broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes. Vitamin E – examples include: whole grains, nuts, seeds, cold-pressed vegetable oils, wheat germ, eggs, butter, cheese, seaweed.
  • Enjoy cultured and fermented foods. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kombucha, and foods high in fiber are all examples of foods that promote the growth of healthy bacteria. Friendly bacteria (probiotics) have been shown to help with a wide range of digestive complaints as well as boost immune health. Studies support the use of probiotics in helping to ward off colds and the flu and speeding recovery time.
  • Increase your intake of fluids. Hydrate with water, soups, broths, diluted fruit juices, and herbal teas. Adequate fluid intake is essential for proper immune function and detoxification. Great herbs for wintertime teas include: ginger, anise seed, chamomile, catnip, elder flowers, eyebright, hyssop, lemon balm, licorice root, meadowsweet, mints, nettles, red clover flowers, thyme, and yarrow flowers.
Article written by Margo Gladding, MS, CNS, LDN for Ellicott City Pharmacy.


Dec 12, 2011 | Category: Diet, Health, Lifestyle, Nutrtion | Comments: none | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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