We are smack in the middle of winter right now, with about 6 more weeks until spring officially arrives. The warmer, longer days may seem far off but it is a good time to think about choosing some supportive foods to help your immune system stay strong. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the immune system is known as “protective qi” and the stronger it is, the healthier we stay. Coming out of the winter with strong protective qi ensures that when spring time allergy season hits, our bodies will be much more ready to cope with it.
Below are some general guidelines on how Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends we eat during the winter:
- Soups and stews – warm, easy to digest, soups and stews make it easy for our bodies to absorb nutrients.
- Root vegetables – including onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips.
- Fruits: Apples, cranberry, dates, Dried fruit, grapes, Kiwi, oranges, pears, pomegranate, persimmon, Tangerine
- Vegetables: Broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, chard, ginger, garlic, kale, leeks, onions, parsnip, potatoes, rutebega, spinach, squash, sweet potato, turnip
- Nuts and seeds: Almond, Brazil, cashew, filbert, macadamia, pecan, pignola. Pistachio, walnut, Flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
- Beans : adzuki, black, black eye, carob, garbanzo, Great Northern, kidney, lentil, lima, Navy, peanut, pink, red, soy, white
- Grains: (cooked): amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, wild rice, rye, wheat
- Miso paste and seaweeds- used to flavor or be the base of broths
Not sure how to use some of these items? Here are some of my favorite recipes to keep on hand, as you get through the winter months:
Magic Mineral Broth– Great for the beginning stages of a cold
Miso Salmon– Wonderful week night dinner
Root Vegetable Hash– Great with eggs in the morning
Roasted Nuts– Add the flavor of your choice. (I love rosemary)
Kitcheri– Great to warm the body and ease digestion
Stay healthy out there!