June 23, 2016

Welcome to winter, with her beautiful crisp mornings, cool days, the promise of great skiing and my personal favourite, big bowls of soup and steaming mugs of rich hot chocolate.

Winter also means, that around every corner people are coughing, sneezing and feeling pretty miserable.

We are all busy, living in the real world with high stress levels, less than 8 hours sleep, taking public transport and eating quick fix diets. It seems that getting at least one cold or flu every winter is inevitable, especially if you have children because they love to bring a home a vicious lurgy and share it around.

Prevention is far better than the cure so here are my top tips for staying healthy this winter:

  1. Wash your hands to avoid spreading germs, we all need reminding every now and then.
  2. Get at least 8 hours of good quality sleep every night, it’s true that an hour before midnight is worth two after. Aim to have at least 3 nights a week in bed before 10:30, go on give it a go.
  3. Reduce your sugar consumption! Sugar is an immune suppressant with the effects lasting up to five hours after consumption.
  4. Drink water or plain herbal teas, aim for around 2 litres a day
  5. Eat vegetables of all colours, the brighter the better as these colourful guys are full of anti-oxidants and vitamins.
  6. Consume good quality proteins such as fish, organic chicken, grass fed meat, eggs and nuts. Protein provides the building blocks for every cell in your body including those that fight infection.
  7. Increase consumption of infection fighting foods such as onions, garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric and cinnamon.
  8. At the first sign of a sniffle make a big batch of flu bomb tea (recipe below) and have an early night– trust me this really works.
  9. Exercise, outdoors if possible, this not only helps you stay fit this winter but will improve mood and give you a great dose of immune boosting vitamin D from the sun.
  10. Include probiotic foods such as yoghurt, kefir, kim chi, sauerkraut and Kombucha in your diet. 70% of the body’s immune system is found in the gut so healthy gut bacteria is vital.

My two favourite immune boosting recipes are:

Flu Bomb Tea – make this in a big batch and store in the fridge ( I also recommend this for anyone who suffers from cold hands and feet as it is a great circulation booster)

Ingredients:

  • 5cm piece ginger
  • 1 lemon – sliced
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes or small chilli chopped
  • 1 clove garlic crushed – this releases the allium which is what does all the good.
  • 500mls boiling water
  • Honey to taste (but not too much due to sugar content)

Method:


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  1. Bring the water to the boil and add all ingredients, except honey and allow to steep for 10 minutes- strain out the pieces add honey to taste and enjoy.
  2. Can also be made in a plunger.

Speedy Immune boosting chicken soup

Our grandmothers were right, nearly everything seems better after a steaming bowl of soup. This recipe is a favourite in my house. I make a huge pot of chicken stock every couple of weeks, then reduce it, till it becomes thick and gelatinous cause I only have a tiny freezer, then I add it to everything. If you don’t have homemade stock look for a brand with no nasties, cooked for as long as possible to extract maximum goodness. I like stock by Maggie Beer, Simon Johnson and Woolworths Gold.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp oil of choice, I like olive oil, butter or coconut oil
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2cm piece ginger, grated
  • 1 ltr chicken stock
  • 1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup corn kernels
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 egg
  • Spring onions – sliced

Method:

  1. Heat your oil in a heavy based pan, sweat leek, onion, carrot and celery for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, ginger and chicken stock then bring to boil.
  3. Add the thinly sliced chicken breast and corn.
  4. Put lid on the pot and turn the heat off. Leave for 15 minutes, add tomato, a beaten egg and spring onions and serve.
  5. At the table add dash of soy and fresh chilli for extra spice if you feel like it.

Wishing you great health and happy cooking!

Do you have any immune boosting ideas to share? Please comment below.


  • I got it over with early. Hopefully healthy for a while now!

    Reply


  • Having succumbed to the dreaded lurgy two weeks ago and only now starting to feel a little more human – I can’t stress how important rest is! Trying to soldier on will only prolong the virus/infection and make things worse! Give in gracefully and stayed wrapped up warm inside – subjecting yourself to the elements only worsens the condition. A big bowl of steaming water with a few drops of Eucalyptus helps relieve congestion, warm water and honey helps the sore throat and eat little and often to keep your strength up!

    Reply


  • A cup of green time with lemon and honey every morning winter and summer works well for me. Havent’ had a cold for the past 20 years or longer. It just works.

    Reply


  • honestly around every 3-4 weeks, we had colds here (from school)

    Reply


  • I agree this is common sense but serves as a great reminder. Cheers.

    Reply


  • I’m trying so hard, but flying from Thailand back to this ridiculously cold winter has not helped. My sister had a cold/infection (was medically treated) and a number of visits with her left me with a saw throat that progressed to a head cold. I have been taking Vitamin C, sleeping well, keeping warm, drinking water, washing hands regularly, using hand sanitizer, spraying the house with Eucalyptus, lighting candles with eucalyptus… and still was unable to remain cold-free. Hopefully I’ve had my bout for the winter.

    Reply


  • I needed this two weeks ago.

    Reply


  • We hardly get colds or flues in our family (and then we eat even vegetarian). Last one was before I married 15 years ago and had my kids. Idem for my husband and kids. But just last week we were all struck by a nasty tummy bug, the one after the other went down.


    • Oh no you poor thing. hope you are on the mend now

    Reply


  • I haven’t been properly sick for the past few years flu wise which is strange considering I used to get sick whenever the weather changed

    Reply


  • You definitely need to wash your hands frequently.
    A friend of mine was told by a Dr. It might be a good idea to disinfect kitchen and bathroom surfaces to help prevent the spread of flu and other infections.
    One family member is Diabetic and seems to have a low immune system as well.

    Reply


  • Great advice, albeit well known – but easily forgotten. Good timely reminder. Someone is always sick in this house, so will have to give the flu bomb tea a go.


    • some times commonsense isn’t that common, you are correct this should be well known but we easily forget

    Reply


  • not a fan of those ingredients, but some good tips

    Reply


  • Great tips! I love the sound of the Flu Bomb tea, especially as you recommend it for poor circulation – my hands are always cold, even during the warmer months!


    • Ginger, Garlic, Chilli and Cinnamon are great for boosting circulation. I constantly have cold feet, it i the pits. Stay warm today.

    Reply


  • Love all your tips and I follow just about all of them, but have still managed to catch a cold once so far this season.


    • Sorry you have been ill, hopefully it won’t last long

    Reply


  • Love all your tips and I follow just about all of them, but have still managed to catch a cold once this season.

    Reply

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