As winter finally draws to a close, we begin looking forward to the blossoming of spring.
Getting through those last few weeks of winter can be challenging as we start to see new buds emerge from the ground. The temptation to shed our winter layers grows more each day, but it’s important to maintain our health at this time of year.
Having recovered from the excesses of Christmas and New Year festivities, February brings damp, grey days mixed with a case of the winter blues and a potent dose of the flu.
To stay on top of our health, and keep colds, flu and the winter blues at bay, we need our immune system in tip-top shape. So how can we prevent cold and flu naturally?
With more than 70% of our immune system living in our gut, what we eat during these final winter days (and throughout the year) can really shape the robustness of our immune system.
Our gut houses trillions of bacteria whose job it is to make and regulate our immune system and keep it shipshape. Looking after our gut bacteria will, in turn, help them to look after us.
So how do we look after our immune-boosting bacteria and avoid getting a cold?
We need to feed them healthy and nutritious natural foods that make our bacteria flourish.
Think of those lovely winter veggies, the likes of carrots, winter squashes, onions, beetroot, cabbage, all of which provide food for our happy bugs.
Mixing them into a warming lightly cooked stew or soup along with a pinch of homegrown anti-microbial herbs such as oregano or thyme will see both you and your bacteria happy, snug and hopefully cold-free.
And if you are a porridge-for-breakfast kind of person, adding a small handful of pumpkin seeds and berries not only feeds your gut bacteria but gives you a dash of immune-boosting vitamin C too.
However when it comes to supercharging the immune system, then mushrooms are king.
Whether it is indulging in the heady rich flavour of exotic Asian mushrooms like Shiitake and Reishi or simply adding the humble button mushroom to your dinner, mushrooms help your immune system prepare itself for battle against cold and flu-like infections.
Better still, add mushrooms to your stews, though perhaps not on your porridge.
This post is not a substitute for medical advice. Should you suffer from digestive disorders, you are advised to seek professional attention from either your local GP or a registered Nutritional Practitioner.