Essential nutrients your body needs for winter

How to fight the winter flu season
Kale is a good source of Vitamin A
General by Liz Eustace

Unless you are some of the fortunate few, you’ve probably already felt a tickle in the back of your throat, experienced a deep chill and felt the many months of colder and darker days finally settle in to stay. It’s hard to go a day, let alone a few minutes, without seeing the person next to you at the bus stop or across the market aisle cough, sneeze and sniffle. Yep, flu season is upon us.

However, the fact that we have such a widely recognized name for a time of year when we expect to get sick is rather mystifying. Surely we didn’t evolve to get sick on a regular basis. There’s something wrong with this picture. The human body has thousands of intricate systems and parts that play a role in maintaining the health and well-being of the body, and failing on a regular basis is not a regular part of its job description.

When it does get sick, take it as a sign that your body needs your attention, rather than an inevitable yearly occurrence, and you’ll probably find that those “unavoidable” colds become much more avoidable. Yes, seasonal transitions, weather and stress do take a toll on the body’s ability to ward off bugs, but the miraculous thing about our coexistence with the natural world is that the foods that grow during these times happen to provide just the nutrients the body needs to build strength and stay healthy.

In fact, two of the best immune strengthening and stress balancing nutrients your body needs right now are abundant in this season’s crops. Here’s what they are and where you can find them right on your grocery store and farmer’s market shelves:

  1. Vitamin A improves resistance to infections, especially in the respiratory system. Since Vitamin A plays a key role in mucus membranes, a lack of it leaves the body particularly susceptible to viral infection. Boosting the body’s Vitamin A stores helps strengthen the mucus membranes, which are one of the first lines of defense against infection, and therefore creates stronger immunity. Find it in rich green and yellow/orange colored foods like kale, chard, carrots, squash and pumpkins.
  2. Zinc is a critical nutrient for cell growth, division and repair, and plays a key role in immune system maintenance. When deficient in Zinc the body’s production of antibodies has been shown to decrease, along with several other impaired immune functions. Find it in whole grains, legumes, eggs, wild fish and organic and free-range meats.

About the Author

Liz Eustace

Present: Leadership coach, author, presenter, brand expert and momma of two!

Inspiration: my kiddies, laughter, countless yoga teachers, my creative hubby, my youthful mom & dad, my wacky sisters, kindness, my unpredictable brother, stillness and Prudence Bruns. 

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