Maintaining our health is important all year around, but in the winter time it is especially important to strengthen the immune system and protect ourselves from catching a cold or flu.
Some of the foods we eat have very strong healing powers. These are called "super foods" and they are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are especially important in the winter.
Some super foods include garlic, cinnamon, honey, onion, turmeric, ginger, tomato, broccoli, leafy greens, green tea and more.
We just need to know the right combination of these foods so our daily menu can strengthen our immune system, protect the body from bacteria/viruses and shorten sickness.
Here are a few examples of recommended "winter nutrition" foods that are tasty and healthy at the same time.
Honey Honey is one of the healthiest natural foods available. Many studies over the years have shown that honey has significant healing properties that help repair wounds, inhibit growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi, and even treat colds and sore throats.
Hot in hot tea is a common folk treatment for sore throat and stomach pain. But, does it really work? Is it possible to enjoy the benefits of honey when heated? The therapeutic activity in honey is destroyed once it exceeds 104° F. So, if you want to enjoy the healthy benefits of honey, avoid adding it to a hot drink.
Tip: To maximize the health benefits of honey, add it just after the tea is cooled.
Tomato Tomatoes are incredibly nutritious. They protect the body against many types of cancer, improve skin health and even help the immune system's function. Tomatoes are rich in a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which belongs to the family of "carotenoids" that includes many antioxidants with a reddish pigment (vitamin A also belongs to this group). External factors like smoking or alcohol do not affect concentrations of lycopene in the blood, but it decreases with age.
Maintaining a high concentration of lycopene in the body can improve the appearance of the skin, slow the skin's aging process, and protect skin cells from free radicals, UV radiation and various airborne agents. According to Howard University researchers, the best way to absorb lycopene from food is to cook the tomatoes with olive oil. This combination of cooking with oil significantly increases the absorption of lycopene in the intestine, leading to an increase of 2-3 times the concentration of lycopene in the blood.
Tip: Eating tomatoes is recommended every day but do not forget to integrate it into your cooking. Preparing tomato sauce, lasagna, Bolognese, salsa and other sauces based on fresh tomatoes is a great way to give your body a high amount of lycopene combined with excellent taste.
Ginger Ginger is a well-known root with great healing properties for treating gastrointestinal problems like nausea, hangover and gas. Ginger contains powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals. Recent studies have found it is effective in the treatment of vomiting, protects the stomach lining (mucous membrane) and helps treat inflammatory conditions.
Ginger improves the absorption of herbs and other food ingredients, which increases the availability of active elements in the body’s tissues. Adding ginger to meals/drinks can help reduce arthritis pain, soothe the digestive system and protect against various types of cancer. Ginger is non-toxic and safe for daily use in cooking, tea and baking. You can even find it in dried form of natural candy!
Tip: Cut fresh ginger root into 2-3 thin slices and put them in a cup of boiling water. You can sweeten the drink a little if you want. Drink with pleasure as a hot drink or cold drink. It is recommended to drink 2 cups of this mixture throughout the day.