The secret to good health this cold winter lies in making wise choices about the way we eat, an Eastern Cape chef, tells Health For Mzansi. It is important to keep an eye out for what we eat and how we prepare our foods, says Busisiwe Mbane.
Mbane is based in Alice in the Eastern Cape and says that vegetables and citrus fruits have all of the vitamins we need to be healthy and sniffle free this season.
While Mlise Maxongo (43) from Worcester says he will often self-induce vomiting to avoid getting sick because he believes that viruses live in mucus. “I always make sure to clear the phlegm, but if my palate is stinging, I steam with gumtree leaves or menthol.”
Food glorious food
Mbane says the way we cook has a major effect on nutrients in the food on your plate. “To maintain their nutrients [make sure] certain vegetables are boiled or steamed,” she suggests.
Herbs in your pantry always do the trick in winter she adds. Mbane says that since her children hate vegetables, she’ll often sneak a healthy concoction of herbs and honey into their diet to boost their immunity. “If you have ginger, garlic, honey, cinnamon, and your green and orange list of veggies in your kitchen, you’ll never go wrong,” she says.
Soups will also do the trick
Maxongo, a vegan, consumes strictly organic foods grown from his garden. “Wild garlic and ginger are on my A-list; I usually put them on my veggies five minutes before taking them off the stove because they greatly affect my immune system.”
He adds that peri-peri is good for an occasional fever for him. “When I feel like my temperature is abnormally high or low, I add peri-peri to my vegetables, and within a few minutes, I feel my nose opening up.”
While Mbane, makes broth soups because they are soothing and have a lot of vegetables that help our bodies fight off illnesses, like spinach, red peppers, kale, and broccoli. “Make sure you get your green and orange lists in every meal, and balance it with fibre and proteins. I prefer brown rice with butternut squash, spinach, and chicken fillets because I know I’m getting protein, fibre, beta-carotene and other nutrients in that dish.”
Boost immunity naturally
A lot of self-awareness is key in caring for your health in different seasons. This is according to Michele Carelse, who is the chief executive and founder of Feelgood Health, an online health and wellness store. Carelse tells Health For Mzansi, “this empowers us to better protect ourselves using simple strategies that provide immune support and help prevent colds, coughs, flu and Covid.”
If you are looking to keep healthy via Mother Nature this season though, Carelse says that a little sunlight is very essential for starters. “Winter means less sunshine, and less vitamin D,” she says.
She adds that there are many herbs that can help to strengthen your immune system and fight viruses that may take up residence in your body despite your best efforts. These may be taken as tea, or in tincture, or capsule form. “My top picks are Sutherlandia, and Artemisia. Using herbal remedies can also help to avoid antibiotics, which can upset the balance of your body and weaken your immune system in the long run.”
Get you zzz’s on
Bathong sleep is your best medicine. While it is good to exercise and be active, Carelse says that sleep is just as important. “A lack of sleep can lead to a weakened immune system, depression, decreased job or school performance, hypertension, heart issues, obesity, decreased quality of life, and many other health issues,” she says.
Moving into the cooler months, it may get harder to find the motivation to keep up with your fitness routine. “You could also focus more on indoor exercise like yoga, dancing, going to the gym, and even deep cleaning your home. There are many ways to stay active in the winter. Online exercise classes make it even easier to get your daily ration of exercise without going out.”