5 Foods You Should Be Eating This Winter
Be Healthy this Winter by Including these Five Foods in Your Diet
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Winter can be stressful to the body. The main growing seasons are done, and fewer winter crops are available for seasonal eating. You can help your body stay warm and be healthier by incorporating certain foods into your meal plans. We have five foods you should be eating this winter that have helped our family over the years.
Winter is not a white wonderland if you’re stumbling around feeling under the weather with a cold or flu. Eating foods to boost your immune system will help you avoid many germs and viruses. Give your body a helping hand to be healthy this winter by including these five foods in your diet.
Five Foods You Should Be Eating This Winter for Warmth and Health
If you’re like me, you love any reason to enjoy something made with cacao. Cold weather stresses the body by constricting blood vessels, especially in your extremities and head, which can elevate blood pressure.
Drinking something warm can relax and dilate blood vessels. So, a hot cup of cacao may be just what the doctor ordered. While cacao is not as sweet as cocoa powder, it is better for making your hot chocolate than cocoa powder.
Why cacao and not cocoa? Cocoa powder is heated to much higher temperatures, killing many of the cacao powder’s nutrients. These flavonoids, antioxidants, vitamins, and other trace minerals work together to help your body build a healthy immune system.
Mushrooms are an excellent addition to any winter soup, breakfast omelet, or casserole. You can purchase mushrooms in the grocery store or buy them dehydrated. If you enjoy mushroom foraging, as we do, you can always dehydrate your mushrooms for use in the winter.
Mushrooms are a valuable vitamin D source. Because we spend so much more time indoors in the winter, our vitamin D levels are naturally lower, which puts us at risk of a depressed immune system.
I’ve read that the Vitamin D content is higher if you expose your mushrooms to direct sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking them. I have no tool at home to verify this, however.
There’s something dreamily comforting about a hot bowl of oatmeal, and I like mine with butter and cinnamon. Oatmeal is high in fiber, which causes the body to warm itself in the digestive process. It is also loaded with energy-boosting B vitamins and magnesium, which assist in stabilizing our blood glucose levels.
We prefer steel-cut oats to rolled oats, but either type should be chosen over quick-cooking oats. Quick cooking oats have less fiber and far fewer nutrients than either steel cut or rolled oats due to the intensive processing.
Add toppings that boost the immune system to make your bowl of hot oatmeal even more nourishing. Blueberries, cinnamon, and blackberries are all excellent immune system boosters.
Oats are versatile. You don’t have to have a hot bowl; instead, you can add them to smoothies, bars, and homemade loaves of bread for extra staying power.
Potatoes have been put down a great deal because they are a white starch. Unlike other starchy foods such as bread or rice, the potato is an unprocessed food with several beneficial nutrients. To avoid GMOs, you must purchase organic potatoes; otherwise, you have a good chance of eating GMO potatoes.
Potatoes are an excellent source of immune-boosting vitamins C and B6. They are also a great source of folate.
If you eat purple potatoes, you’ll be enjoying the extra benefits of anthocyanins and antioxidants. Both are a part of foods known to reduce inflammation and disease in the body.
Soup is the most encompassing among the five foods you should be eating this winter. Is there any way to number the kinds of soups? I don’t think so because soups are so personal. Only your imagination can limit you.
We have a “clean out the refrigerator” soup in the winter. We take any leftover meat and vegetables, add some broth or stock, and heat. Of course, we make a pan of hot biscuits or cornbread to go along with it.
To satisfy both your body and mind, healthy home-cooked soup makes us feel warm, cozy, and delighted. Soup is an easy way to increase vegetable consumption in the winter.
Soup can be rich and creamy, like butternut squash soup, or hot and spicy like chili and beans. Making homemade soup in the slow cooker is easy to keep your time free for family activities and feed them a nutritionally balanced meal.
Who can argue against the medicinal and comforting effects of a hot bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup? I dare say, no one!
Winter can affect your body, mind, and spirit. These five foods you should be eating this winter can give yourself and those depending on you the boost needed to battle through the cloudy, cold days. You may even come out the other side healthier than before.
RHONDA CRANK is a Southern-born farm girl. Going barefoot in the garden, working with her animals, and all things homesteading bring her joy. She and her husband are organic homesteaders using wisdom and skills their grandparents taught them, with a little modern ingenuity mixed in. In 2014, Rhonda created The Farmer’s Lamp in response to the many questions they were being asked about their lifestyle. Her passion is sharing their experience and how-to-knowledge through her website, books, videos, and articles. They desire to help others on their own homesteading journey.
Originally published in the November/December 2022 issue of Countryside and Small Stock Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.