Boosting your immune system for the winter

With the return of winter here are five ways to boost your body’s resistance:
Vitamin C – This vitamin is extremely important for the immune system and one should eat food rich in vitamin C every day, especially at the beginning of a sickness. You know the feeling when your back starts to ache and your throat starts to itch, which indicate the onset of sickness? Or maybe a different weakness in your body that you know only shows up when you’re about to be ill? That’s exactly the time to take vitamin C in order to shorten the duration and maybe even avoid being sick entirely.
Some foods that contain high amounts of vitamin C are peppers, citrus fruits and kiwi. I recommend to intake the vitamin from food, which is easier to absorb than supplements and has a better effect. In addition, these foods include bioflavonoids, and additional vitamins and minerals.

Ginger – Ginger has a warming effect and thus is great for those who suffer from being cold in the winter while also being effective in treating winter illnesses. However, it’s not recommended to use ginger in the case of an illness that is accompanied by a fever.
How to use ginger? Grate a small amount into stews, broths and other hot dishes, or alternatively, slice a few pieces of fresh ginger into hot water and drink it as an infusion. Ideally, this method is best used by storing it in a thermos all day, as the longer ginger is in hot water, the more its active compounds have an impact.

Garlic and Onions – Nearly all the traditional remedies for winter sickness include garlic and onions, both of which are high in anti-inflammatory agents and are best eaten fresh.
How to eat them and make sure people around you don’t keel over? Put them in a leafy green salad, as the leaves freshen up the mouth and reduce the smell.

Vitamin D – This vitamin is also important to one’s immune system and it is created internally by the body after exposure to sunlight. In the winter there tends to be less sunlight so it’s good practice to take advantage of every ray of sunlight that you see. We all love the warm feeling that envelops us when we’re in some winter sun.

Mushrooms – Mushrooms have a plethora of good things for us, and help to balance the amount of fat and sugar in our blood, work to combat cancer and also help the immune system. I’d recommend eating a variety of mushrooms in order to be exposed to various active ingredients. The best way to get their benefits is via cooking, by adding a few sliced ones to soup, or by stir-frying them and adding them to stews and broth.

Maya Abraham Naturopath and Clinical herbalist Maya Abraham Naturopath, Clinical Herbalist