Protect your family against colds and flu this winter Winter is here and so too unfortunately is the cold and flu season. When one member of the family catches a cold it often quickly spreads to the rest of the family. It can be difficult to stay well when your kids are bringing home every cold going around their daycare or school. One of the best ways to break this cycle and protect your family from illness this winter is to strengthen your familys immune systems naturally with a good healthy diet and immune boosting foods. Including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet will make sure you are getting a good supply of vitamin A, C and antioxidants, which are all important nutrients needed for healthy immune function. There are also some great immune boosting foods that can easily be added to winter dishes.

  • Garlic is one of the best ways to ward off colds and flu, having immune strengthening powers and being anti-viral. Add garlic to dishes such as pasta sauces, stir-fries, risottos, soups, brushetta or garlic bread.
  • Ginger is another immune boosting food that goes perfectly in winter dishes like stir-fries and soups, and delicious in fresh juices and as a tea. Ginger also helps to improve circulation and digestion.
  • Seaweed is a highly nutritious superfood that contains extraordinary health-promoting compounds. There are many different types of seaweed including kelp, nori, and arame, which you can purchase from health food stores and supermarkets. Try adding small strips of seaweed to soups, salads and stir-fries, or make nori rolls or sushi.
  • Shiitake mushrooms have been extensively studied for their many healing and immune-boosting properties. Shiitake mushrooms are usually sold dried, either whole or in pieces, and need to be soaked first for about 20 -30 minutes. Shiitake mushrooms are best eaten in small pieces in soups, sauces, stir-fries, or vegetable dishes. Discard stems of fresh mushrooms before cooking them.
  • Unpasteurised organic miso contains active bacteria beneficial for improving digestion and strengthening the immune system. Add miso to dishes just before removing from the heat so as to not kill the beneficial bacteria. Keep miso paste in the fridge and use 1 tsp to add flavour and extra nutrients to soups, stir-frys, casseroles, sauces, and salad dressings.