Foundations for winter wellness

Fall is a time of great change. Nature is preparing herself for a long hibernation before the next growing season. This is a time for the soil and plant life to rest and replenish themselves. Fall is also a time of transition for us. Back to school, back to the daily routines of work-life balance. When we slow down and pay attention to the rhythms of the earth, we notice that fall and winter can be times of building, and replenishing reserves in our own bodies. This replenishing process is the key to maintaining optimal health throughout the winter. If we enter the dark, wet winter months tired, worn-out and stressed, our chances of coming down with a flu or respiratory infection are greater.

Here are a few basic tips to rebuild and replenish your body systems to keep you and your family healthy and strong until Spring:

Bone Broth: The dense nutrition that can be provided by a homemade organic bone broth is vital to keeping the immune system strong. Boiling for several hours enables the mineral stores and the connective tissue building blocks to be released into the broth itself. These nutrients are important components the body uses for tissue repair and healing, optimal brain function, hormone and energy production, and immune balance. Replenishing your body with sources of dense nutrition is a powerful tool that keeps your immune system strong!

Probiotics: The latest research is demonstrating that supplementation with probiotic organisms through the duration of the winter months can decrease incidence of infection and minimize duration of symptoms should you get sick. This is a simple way to optimize the function of your immune system and protect yourself from infectious organisms in your environment.

Colorful vegetables: Eating a colorful array of fruits and vegetable everyday helps to provide your body with crucial micronutrients that keep the immune cells active and strong. In particular, plants from the squash family should be regularly consumed. These orange and yellow gourds and pumpkins are wonderful sources of a variety of carotenoid compounds. These are the chemicals that provide the plant with its beautiful coloring, and your immune system with the building blocks for making vitamin A. Vitamin A is well recognized as a supporter of healthy vision, but it is also a key player in immune regulation. Pumpkins are good for more than just carving!

Say no to sugar: Minimize or avoid entirely all refined sugar products. Sweeteners of all types have a sneaky way of appearing on ingredient lists where you would least suspect them. Many packaged food items have sugar in one form or another that is added to enhance taste. Avoid items that contain liquid sugar, glucose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar. Remember, just because the sugar is “organic” does not mean it is suddenly good for you! Opt for natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup in moderate amounts

Following these simple guidelines for healthy eating in the fall and winter months will preserve your immune function and help keep the winter bugs at bay.

Written by Dr. Juliet Ghodsian, ND.