As the weather cools down, the sun sets earlier and more sneezes are heard all around. We know that fall, and soon winter, is upon us.Â While we live in an amazing climate shielded from cold winds and snowy storms, it is still a good time to consider protecting yourself from sickness by boosting your immunity.Â The wonderful thing, of course, about nature is that it always provides ways to balance the qualities that each season brings.Â This means cooling melons and sweet peaches in the summer, and warming root veggies and immune boosters in the winter.
Here are some simple and easy foods to add to your diet to help boost your immunity and keep you smiling this season. Remember to always check with your doctor.
- Look for yellow, orange, and red foods, which contain beta-carotene. Think butternut squash, pumpkins, and carrots.Â Try healthy baking methods and add them to your soups and stews.
- Citrus and green veggies are important foods to enjoy and contain vitamin C.Â Moms know how important vitamin C is for preventing a cold and supporting the bodyâ€™s natural defense mechanisms. Citrus fruits are especially powerful because we can easily consume them in raw form.
- Donâ€™t throw out the pumpkin seeds! Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, which has antiviral properties. Add other nuts and seeds into your diet (add to salads, baked goods) and donâ€™t forget beans and lentils (for soups and stews) as good zinc sources.
- Fresh garlic for prevention, and at the onset of sickness, it does wonders. Raw garlic helps to boost immunity and fights against infections. If you feel like youâ€™re getting sick, crush some fresh garlic and eat it plain or, if that doesnâ€™t work for you, add it to some apple sauce to mask the taste. If you like the taste of raw garlic, add it into salads and pasta dishes.
- Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria that keep our digestive and immune systems functioning properly.Â Add yogurt, kombucha (a fermented drink found in health food stores), or fermented veggies (such as traditional Korean kimchi or sauerkraut) to your regular diet.
- Remember, herbal teas, such as Echinacea, for immunity support, or specially formulated teas targeted for the cold season, better sleep (always key to recovery and strength), or congestion relief. At home, bring water to a boil. Grate ginger from a fresh ginger root (a one-inch piece of root is sufficient) and place into a mug.Â Add a few teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Add boiling water and cover. Let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink to your health! (When the liquid is at room temperature, you can also add in a little honey to taste.)
These little additions to your regular diet will help keep your immune system strong and keep you vibrant through the season. Remember that stress management, rest, and exercise are all key components in a strong and healthy body and complete the picture for great health!
Bahareh is a certified Health Coach based in Encinitas, California. She empowers others to live healthier, happier lives by eating well, reducing stress, and finding balance.Â www.mindbodyalliance.com