Foods To Eat for a Flu-Free Winter
Autumn marks the progression to darker evenings, chilly mornings and leafy streets. Traditionally, autumn is a time to harvest and gather foods for winter; food is prepared for storage by time-honoured techniques such as preserving, canning and fermenting.
Many of us are naturally drawn to slower cooked, more richly flavoured, warming foods as the days become cooler and shorter, such as soups, stews and curries. As the weather cools, warming foods provide a great opportunity to make the most of autumn’s nourishing, seasonal fruits and vegetables that are packed full of immune boosting nutrients to give you a fighting chance at a flu-free winter.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), or Eastern Medicine perspective, autumn is a time that is connected with a need for warmth, grounding, balance calm and becoming more introverted in energy as your body prepares for the calm and stillness of winter. It is a time for shedding that which no longer serves us, reduce clutter and to let go.
Autumn is a season of dryness of the body primarily affecting the lungs and large intestine which can promote symptoms like a dry sore throat, dry skin, and constipation. To counteract this dryness, introduce foods such as cooked pears, apples, pumpkin, millet, nuts and seeds.
Tips For Autumn Eating
• Eat less cold foods such as juices, cold salads and raw fruits and vegetables
• Use slower, gentle food preparation methods such as slow cooking, roasting and fermenting which allow foods to be more easily digested
• Get creative in the kitchen with autumn coloured foods (orange, red and yellow) which are rich in phytonutrients such as betacarotene, bioflavonoids and vitamin C, essential for boosting immune function coming into cooler months
• Load up your dark leafy greens for a nutrient kick and bitter flavour
• Include warming spices in your cooking such as cinnamon, garlic, chilli and ginger
• Increase your hydration with bone broths and herbal teas such as dandelion, chamomile, green and ginger
Autumn Foods To Enjoy
• Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnip, beetroot, potato and sweet potato
• Autumn fruits and vegetables including apples, pears, pomegranate, figs, pumpkin and eggplant
• Earthy flavours such as lentils, miso, tofu, tempeh, mushrooms
• Grains including brown rice, millet and oats
• Greens such as cabbage, bok choy, kale, radicchio, zucchini
• Salty flavours including seaweeds for example dulse flakes, kombu and wakame
• Beneficial fats such as nuts, seeds and oils like olive, flax and coconut
Food sourced locally means that fruits and vegetables have been grown in their natural and most beneficial conditions, so we can enjoy foods at their best in flavour, nutrients and energy. Read our article on being a Locavore here. Locally sourced food also means less food miles meaning it can be made available to the consumer at a smaller price as transport and growing costs can be kept to a minimum. Dust off your slow cooker and head down to your local market this weekend and get inspired!