What we eat and drink can provide natural ways to support, cleanse, and nourish ourselves. It's so important to clean out our bodies and really support our immune systems during the winter. These 6 cleansing foods are just the thing to include in your diet this winter!Guest post by Lisa Grace Byrne, MPH

Oh, winter! If you are living in the Northern hemisphere (particularly the areas where winter means cold), easing into the winter season with warmth and grace can feel a little challenging.

Songs fill the airways touting that this is “the most wonderful time of the year!” and … while there is a lot of wonderful in winter, this is also a season that brings busier-than-usual schedules, excess sugar, heavier foods, and an increase in colds/flus.

Of all the seasons, winter is an especially important time to boost ourselves with natural supports.

Our kidneys and adrenal glands need some special TLC for the extra work they do during these months.

  • The kidneys filter our blood to balance the body’s acidity levels and help maintain appropriate water and electrolyte balance.
  • Our adrenal glands respond to the stress and pressures of our daily lives by producing adrenaline and cortisol — two potent chemicals that can do damage if overused in our bodies.

What we eat and drink can provide natural ways to support, cleanse, and nourish ourselves.

The winter months are a perfect time to add cleansing and immune-boosting foods to your menu.  Here are a handful of foods to bring into your winter days for more health, vitality, and restoration.

Excellent Supports for Winter Wellness

Sweet Roots: Beets, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Yams

Sweet root vegetables are particularly good in the winter season when our body craves natural sweet tastes and heavier meals.  These nutrient rich foods are delicious roasted or made into a purée soup.

Fruits

The following fruits offer excellent sources of nutrients.  For the winter months, the heavier, sweeter, and more sour types of fruits are good ones to choose: citrus {orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime}, avocado, mango, banana, pineapple, and apple.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fats help to strengthen your immune system, reduce cellular inflammation, and may help reduce incidences of depression.  The following are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids to add to your winter diet: salmon, herring, anchovies, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, walnuts, and pastured eggs.

Garlic

Your liver enzymes can be activated by eating garlic.  These enzymes help to filter out toxins from your body.  Garlic also stimulates circulation and helps the body to cleanse itself efficiently.  It is a wonderful immune builder in the flu and cold season.

Dark Leafy Greens

Broccoli, spinach, kale, swiss chard, and collards have lots of chlorophyll which helps your body eliminate toxins and support your liver.  These greens, along with watercress and arugula lettuce, help to flush out your system while still giving you plenty of minerals to keep your system strong.

Spices

With the increase in heavier foods, be sure to increase spices that help keep digestion lively.  Many of these spices have the added benefit of boosting your immune system because they are antibacterial: turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, fennel, and cinnamon.  Make the following Healing Spice Mix below to keep on hand.

Healing Spice Mix
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tsp ground Indian turmeric
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground Indian coriander
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.  It will store nicely for up to 6 months, depending on the quality of your spices.  Add to simple soups, sautéed vegetables, or to omelets and casseroles.  You can also mix with your favorite tea for a healing, warm beverage.

By focusing on adding in cleansing foods and drinks on a regular basis, you will naturally “crowd out” the less desirable stuff.  Instead of focusing on restricting your choices, focus on the positive things you want to bring in to your diet.

It is the small acts of care that we do consistently that make the most difference in the long run.

What we eat and drink can provide natural ways to support, cleanse, and nourish ourselves. It's so important to clean out our bodies and really support our immune systems during the winter. These 6 cleansing foods are just the thing to include in your diet this winter, as you work at caring for yourself and your health!Want to learn more power-packed tips designed specifically for busy moms?  Consider joining our circle of women in learning small shifts that lead to calmer, more energized, and more deeply connected living.

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Lisa Grace Byrne, MPH is a mom of three, founder of WellGrounded Life and a trusted authority on women’s vitality and wellbeing.  She is a passionate speaker, teacher, and mentor, and recently published the bestseller, Replenish: Experience Radiant Calm and True Vitality in Your Everyday Life.  She has a degree from Cal Poly State University, SLO in Biochemistry with an emphasis in Nutrition and Metabolism.  She also holds a Masters in Public Health degree from Boston University and she is a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in conjunction with Columbia University.

Top photo by Eliza Adam
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