Food as Medicine: Eat Your Way to Winter Wellness

Feb 15, 2023


With cold and flu season going strong, there’s no better time than winter to focus on your health. And while viruses thrive in cooler temperatures, there are steps you can take to promote your health and prevent illness. What you eat can affect whether you get sick and how long the symptoms last. Overall nutrition plays an integral role in your health.

Boost your immunity

During cold and flu season, eating immune-boosting foods — along with good practices such as hand-washing and avoiding contact with people who are sick — can protect you from illness. Rather than relying on supplements, get your nutrients from food.

What to eat: Fresh fruits and vegetables have vitamins and fiber that help your immune system function better. Try sweet potatoes, spinach and carrots, which are high in illness-fighting beta carotene, and get zinc from red meat, seafood, beans and tofu.

Recover faster

If you do get sick, what you eat can have you feeling better faster, thanks to vitamins that help your body fight off illness and infection.

What to eat: Try probiotic-rich yogurt — the “good” bacteria may help shorten the duration of the flu. Dark leafy greens, citrus, and red and green peppers are rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin C. Season your food with garlic, which reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms, and ginger and turmeric, which fight inflammation and congestion. Plus, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated (hot water with lemon and honey can soothe a sore throat).

Tasty tip: Blend fresh orange or grapefruit juice with spinach, ginger, turmeric and honey for an immune-boosting, inflammation-fighting treat.

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