December welcomes the most wonderful time of the year, but with winter weather and holiday guests, 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 five of them.
#1 Bone Broth
Bone broth, the new super nutrient, contains a wide variety of nutrients, which can be especially helpful during cold and flu season. Who doesn’t love sipping on a warm mug of a comforting beverage on the coldest of days? Plus, the natural fat found in bone broth can be soothing to a scratchy sore throat. Adding a hint of spice can 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, stock up on bone broth here.
#2 Fermented Foods
Fermented foods contain probiotics, which help keep gut bacteria in check and subsequently can potentially prevent the common cold. That means keeping the good gut bugs in balance while keeping the bad gut bugs out. Foods like apple cider vinegar, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and tempeh 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.
#3 Herbs and Spices
Inflammation has been shown to negatively impact the body, but some herbs and spices can help alleviate inflammation. Certain foods, including select herbs and spices, can all potentially help quell any inflammation. Think of spices like cinnamon, garlic and turmeric. All of these contain certain compounds that can fight inflammation. Turmeric, for example, contains a compound called curcumin, which is widely known for its powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
#4 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, amaranth greens and cauliflower all contain Vitamin C and can help keep you and your immune system in top shape.
Tip: The holiday season is teeming with festive foods and beverages that are laden with alcohol, dairy and refined sugars, which can wreak havoc on your immune system, so do yourself (and your body) a favor by decreasing your intake of these foods during the holiday season.
Water keeps the body’s cells hydrated and helps to flush out toxins that have built up in the body. During the colder winter months, drinking plain chilled water can be challenging. Who wants to drink chilled water when they are already feeling cold from the winter weather? Instead of drinking 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 five food essentials. Stay healthy everyone!