3 Holistic Foods to Boost Winter Immunity
In the dead of winter, many people accept that they will have to deal with runny noses, sore throats, coughs, and other bugaboos. But guess what? There are natural tools we can use to arm our bodies against the winter blahs…much of it is right in the pantry! As Hippocrates famously said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food." In this blog, I'll tell you what three foods I keep in my kitchen to boost winter immunity.
1. Local Raw Honey
Honey is a staple in my home during the winter months for a couple of reasons. Number one, it's an awesome sweetener for my tea. More importantly, it’s my “go to” for winter wellness.
In its raw form, local honey is an antibiotic, antimicrobial, and soothing food. The American Chemical Society presented research that showed how the high concentration of natural sugars and antioxidants such as polyphenols, among other ingredients, pack an immune-supportive punch. How can that be, you ask? Well, the sugar in the honey requires so much water that it steals it from the bacteria, causing them to become dehydrated and die! 
Why the emphasis on local raw honey?
You may have noticed that I specifically mentioned local and raw honey as the potent medicine. Many commercial honey products have filtered out the pollen. A study done by the World Health Organization revealed that if the pollen is removed from the honey, it cannot be traced to its origin. Lo and behold, a whopping 76% of the honey found in grocery stores and 100% of the honey in McDonald's or KFC are devoid of pollen.
Because local honey has pollen from your local area, the honey can help you develop resistance to the offending allergen. Also, if you buy honey from a local farm, you can see a huge difference—the honey has a deep amber color, not the golden yellow color of those found in stores. You can see the pollen in it. Also, if you buy local honey, you can get awesome in-season flavors like blueberry. Yum!
Plain, organic yogurt is an incredible health food packed with probiotics (especially after you've had a serving of honey). Your gut is full of good bacteria that allow the body to absorb the nutrients from the food you eat. Probiotics encourage the growth of good bacteria in your gut. This helps boost your immune system and keeps your digestion (as well as other body systems) functioning smoothly.
If you’re not a fan of a cup of yogurt for breakfast, try adding a dollop of yogurt into your morning smoothie. Or, you can add it to soups for a creamy, thick texture. Be sure to choose plain, organic yogurt since many flavored yogurts can be packed with sugars that encourage the growth of bad bacteria.
3. Chia seeds
The word “superfood” has become trite in the health and wellness industry. But there’s one food that fits the nomenclature perfectly: chia seeds. Let’s break it down. "Super" refers to something of high quality and having many things wrapped in one package. Chia seeds have all the nutrients, macro and micro, that your body needs to be at its best! For brevity, I'll only discuss macronutrients in this blog.
“Macronutrients” is a fancy term for the carbs, fats, and proteins our bodies require, and chia seeds have the perfect balance of each. With about 12 grams of carbohydrates per serving, chia seeds are ideal for keeping healthy during the cold seasons. Additionally, a one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains four grams of protein.
Chia seeds are fantastic when added to smoothies, blended into healthy puddings, or even used as an egg substitute. Get creative and add this delightful superfood into your life.
Next Steps for Staying Healthy this Winter
Using these three foods consistently over the last three winters has helped me avoid the headache of dealing with nasty winter sicknesses. Stay healthy!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a guest blogger for American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
 American Chemical Society. (2014). Honey is a new approach to fighting antibiotic resistance: How sweet it is! Retrieved from https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2014/march/honey-is-a-new-approach-to-fighting-antibiotic-resistance-how-sweet-it-is.html.
 Schneider, A. (2011). Tests show most store honey isn't honey. Retrieved from http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/.
 Jardine, M. (2014). Seven foods to supercharge your gut bacteria. Retrieved from http://www.pcrm.org/media/online/sept2014/seven-foods-to-supercharge-your-gut-bacteria.
 Gunnars, K. (2017).
11 proven health benefits of chia seeds. Retrieved from https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/.