In winter it is humid and cold. This really challenges our immune system. The right food helps us get through the cold season. We will show you which healthy foods can support the immune system and warm the body from within.
In drizzle and winter cold we dress warmly: A thick sweater, a fluffy scarf and gloves warm us from the outside. But if you want to get really warm, you should try it from the inside - with the right food.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is practiced in China and many parts of Asia. In it, nutrition is also regarded as medicine. TCM divides food into different effect groups - with regard to its taste (sweet, sour, hot, bitter, salty), its functional circle (organ) and its thermal (warm, hot, neutral, cold).
Accordingly, there are foods that cool us from within and foods that warm us. In winter, we should eat more warming food and avoid cooling food.
Warming foods are:
- Walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, dried fruit
- Winter vegetables like leek, leek, kale, pumpkin, beetroot, fennel
- Fruit: plums, pomegranates
- Meat: Game, pork, beef, lamb, duck
- Fish: cod, tuna, herring, plaice
- Strong spices like anise, chili, curry, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, caraway, garlic, cloves, nutmeg
You should avoid these foods
Eat less cooling food and drinks. They draw heat from the body. This not only makes your hands and feet cold. The organism also has to compensate for the temperature difference by producing heat.
Avoid eating too much of these cooling foods:
- Tropical fruits like mandarins, lemons, oranges, kiwis, pineapples
- Raw vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce
- Milk products such as yoghurt, (cow's) milk, cream cheese
- Heavily chilled beverages
It is better to eat warm food than cold food: A hot soup is always preferable to a salad in winter. Chicken soup, beef broth or stews made from winter vegetables are an ideal source of energy and effective cold killers.
To support your vitality and immune system in winter, you should include as many foods rich in vitamins and nutrients as possible in your diet.
A very simple tip: Eat seasonally and regionally whenever possible. That way, the best foods automatically land on your plate.
As the name suggests, winter vegetables are now in season:
- Kale (rich in vitamins A, B, E and iron).
- Cauliflower (vitamins C and K and potassium contribute to a normally functioning immune system.
- Turnips such as parsnips, black salsify, rutabagas, carrots, beetroot and other root vegetables are rich in nutrients - and often lead a shadowy existence, wrongly so. And they deserve much more attention. Black salsify, for example, is one of the most nutritious vegetables and hides a lot of iron, calcium and phosphorus under its earthy skin.
And it doesn't get boring so quickly with root vegetables: with their variety of colours and aromas, variety is guaranteed when eating beetroot.
Plenty of water
Even in winter it is important that you drink plenty of water. In this way the mucous membranes are moisturized. Healthy (and low-calorie) "moisturizers" are teas, lukewarm water or foods with a high water content such as fruit and vegetables.
Ginger doesn't just put pep in your food. The big seller tuber holds a whole treasure trove of essential oils, minerals and vital substances.
A ginger tea is quickly prepared: For one cup, pour hot water over two to three thin slices of ginger and leave the tea to steep for 15 minutes.
Vitamin D in winter
The vitamin D level in the blood drops continuously during the dark season because we cannot get enough sunlight. You can cover your daily vitamin D requirements with vitamin D-rich foods or food supplements and also replenish empty vitamin D stores.
If you want to cover your vitamin D requirements through diet, eat fatty fish (such as cod, salmon, mackerel), liver, eggs, oatmeal, sweet potatoes or avocado.
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Whether Hokkaido, Butternut or Patisson - the healthy fruits simply taste good. What's more, they are blessed with valuable vital substances and vitamins and are therefore very healthy.
Picture: istockphoto.com | mpessaris