December welcomes the most wonderful time of the year, but with winter weather and all of those holiday guests traipsing through your home, comes the dreaded cold and flu season. According to the FDA, cold and flu season can begin as early as October and last through May and generally peaks between December and February.
Besides taking care of yourself through adequate sleep, daily movement, mindful meal choices and reduced stress, there are certain foods you can eat that can help you feel your best during the winter cold and flu season. Here are four of them.
Bone broth nutrition varies widely depending on how it’s made, but it’s a great option to warm up with on a cold winter’s day. Plus, the natural fat found in bone broth can be soothing to a scratchy sore throat. Adding a hint of spice may even help clear out the sinuses, so go ahead and say so long to the sniffles! Bone broth is super simple to make, but if you don’t have the time or the energy to make your own, you can always purchase it in store. Always on the go? Try these bone broth protein powders.
Most fermented foods contain probiotics, which help keep gut bacteria in check and subsequently can potentially prevent the common cold. Allison Koch, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN says that it’s important to remember that not all fermented foods are created equal.
“What you are really looking for are live microbes present in the food. For example, cheese is a fermented food, but because of the way it is processed, it no longer contains live and active cultures when you eat it whereas yogurt does. The easiest way to know if your fermented food has good-for-you bacteria? If it has the words ‘naturally fermented’ on the label or in the case of dairy, it contains the words “live and active cultures” on the label.” Think of foods like apple cider vinegar, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh and yogurt. All of these foods contain probiotics and can help maintain a balanced gut.”
Although probiotics help create a good gut, be sure to also incorporate prebiotic foods such as asparagus, garlic, jicama, leeks and onions. These foods help to feed the probiotics and help them thrive within your gut.
Vitamin C foods
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is vital to our immune health and can help support our body’s natural defense systems. Foods like berries, citrus fruits and dark leafy greens like broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower all contain Vitamin C and can help keep your immune system in top shape, so this winter, load up on those roasted veggies. Don’t mind if I do!
During the colder winter months, drinking plain chilled water can be challenging, but water keeps the body’s cells hydrated and helps flush out toxins that have built up. Instead of drinking plain cold water, add in some fresh flavor with slices of cucumber or Vitamin C fruits like grapefruit, lemon slices, limes and oranges. You can also warm up by sipping a cup of hot tea like ginger or green tea.
Preparing your body for winter, and subsequently the cold and flu season, is as easy as stocking your kitchen with these four food essentials.