Natural approaches to health like chiropractic, Chinese medicine, naturopathy and homeopathy focus on renewing strength and function, and like all natural processes, good health comes in slow, gentle and cumulative ways.
To ensure that our bodies function at peak levels of efficiency, research suggests we need a finely tuned nervous system, good nutrition, regular exercise, quality sleep and happy, positive thoughts.
As the cold weather sets in, heaters are constantly blazing and bugs and germs have ideal breeding grounds to germinate. It is imperative that we remember that illness is not caused by germs. Germs are ALWAYS around, the flu is constantly about.
As we have discussed before, the strong can survive any attack, it is when we are run down, tired and have been making poor lifestyle choices that our system comes under attack. If you are strong and vital then the germs you have been happily carrying around, day in/day out, won’t affect you. If your body is stressed or ‘out of balance’ then germs will gather, propagate and attack more ferociously.
To maintain vitality during winter we may need to sharpen our focus on foods that strengthen our immune system.
Here are 3 Winter Power Foods...
Garlic is the ultimate winter power food, in fact you could call garlic the “vegetable antibiotic”. Garlic is a mighty stirrer and creates our fighting capacity. It rids the body of bugs and with regular consumption protects us from bugs. Garlic acts as a cleanser and helps with most conditions ending with “itis” … such as tonsillitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, vaginitis etc.
Some people experience diarrhoea when they start consuming garlic – this is garlic in action –purifying your bowel, eliminating and getting rid of rubbish and poor health habits. The same can be said for garlic initially making a cough more productive. Some people with bronchitis for example, might think garlic is making them worse, when it in actuality it is simply clearing the muck from your respiratory system.
The old adage of “It’ll be worse before it gets better” is very true with garlic, as this powerful vegetable often gives us a strong body odour, it may loosen the bowels or make us cough more productively. When renewing health from a holistic perspective, it is better to experience the power of garlic than offer our children a cough mixture with potentially dangerous ingredients that merely SUPPRESS symptoms. Cough mixtures act as anesthetics for the throat, leaving the entire respiratory system full of infection, inflammation and pus.
One last tip – Garlic is also a known worm repellent!
Use garlic regularly in your cooking. If you prefer capsules, one fresh clove equals four capsules of garlic.
If you have ever felt completely dreadful, like you were absolutely falling apart, then Vitamin C may be exactly what you were missing! Vitamin C carries oxygen round the body, fuelling it. It is literally the cementing substance that joins the body cells one to the other. Vitamin C helps with the proper absorption of iron, which is the mineral vital for oxidising or ‘burning off’ waste.
If your cells are not strongly bonded, you may fall apart more literally than you imagine. Has anyone ever suggested that pre or post surgery or pre or post birth, you should consume Vitamin C? This vitamin controls tone and resilience, and when it is absorbed in sufficient quantity to bind cells together properly, you can bounce back from either physical or emotional trauma better then you may do without it.
Spongy bleeding gums, poor teeth and tiny capillary arteries and veins visible on the surface of the skin often indicate vitamin C deficiency.
We need to be aware that Vitamin C is highly perishable and is soon destroyed in any cooking process. In fact if you cut and prepare your fruit and vegetables some time before eating them, much of their vitamin C leaks out through the surface cells.
Good Sources of Vitamin C include;
- Green and red peppers are possibly the best source
- Brussels sprouts
- All berry fruits and all the green vegetables contain Vitamin C in high proportions
- Strawberries contain Vitamin C in a significant amount
- Interestingly there is more Vitamin C in one guava than there is in three oranges and orange peel has nearly three times more Vitamin C than orange juice itself.
- Tropical fruits such as rockmelon, mangoes and papaw are rich in this vitamin
- Parsley has a terrific Vitamin C-iron balance.
- Even sweet potato contains Vitamin C,
- Any fresh fruit or vegetable you can eat will help you along your Vitamin C quota.
Iron is another powerful winter super-food. If you haven’t enough iron in your diet then you also probably frequently suffer with colds, tonsillitis, conjunctivitis and many other types of infection. Without iron your body will be challenged by waste removal. Iron burns up garbage and is necessary for regeneration and transporting oxygen.
The richest source of iron is found in the livers of cattle or other organ meats such as brains and heart. If this doesn’t tickle your fancy, or if you’re like me and only feel inclined to source an organic liver once every 18 months, then alternatively there is an abundance of iron in all the green, leafy vegetables, particularly in the darker leaves. Parsley is an easy, ready to use, rich source of iron. I add parsley fresh or partially cooked to many meals.
Back to the liver, if you are able to get hold of an organic liver try cutting it into portions (liver has a very strong flavour), blend each section and add just one portion to a casserole. Freeze the other portions. My children are none the wiser!
In general, the darker the fruit, vegetable or grain the more iron it contains. Bananas fresh or naturally dried, are sources of iron that are available all year round.
High concentrations of iron are also found in some seeds. Pumpkin seeds, dried and fresh are high in this mineral, and sesame seeds. Alternatively a good spoonful of wheatgerm sprinkled over your breakfast or fruit will be almost enough for your daily requirement. Natural unprocessed bran and soya beans are exceedingly rich in iron.
Kelp (buy it from the health food store and sprinkle on your evening meal occasionally) and molasses are another two sources of iron most of us could utilise more often.
Hope this helps keep the winter lurgies away!!!
Yours in health
Bach. Chiropractic, Bach. App Clinical Science
Registered internationally, no longer practicing as a chiropractor in Australia.