The depths of winter have arrived and with that comes cold and flu season. When the temperatures drop to punishing cold it can be hard to avoid catching the various bugs being passed around the city. Nothing is worse than having a cold when you are pregnant--you feel totally wiped out and miserable.
Since you may not be reaching for any over-the-counter meds during your pregnancy, you need to keep your immunity in tip-top shape. And the foods you’re putting into your body is a great place to start. Here are a few favorite foods to include in your diet to help build your immunity and fight off colds this winter.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collards and swiss chard are packed with immune-boosting Vitamin C. The darker the green, the more nutrient dense, so make sure you are eating plenty of greens all winter long. An easy way to incorporate greens into your day is by throwing a few handfuls into a smoothie. You can consume higher quantities of greens when they are blended than you can a salad.
Goji berries are considered a superfood for good reason. Not only are they rich in Cold-fighting Vitamin C and zinc, they also contain polysaccharides which are known for their ability to support a healthy immune system. Goji berries are delicious on their own as a snack or can be a great addition to salads and smoothies.
Nettles are incredibly beneficial to pregnant mamas. They have huge immune-boosting properties and can even help alleviate and shorten the duration of a cold if you do happen to catch one. In addition, nettles help strengthen fetus growth and development and also can aid in milk production for nursing mamas. The easiest ways to consume nettles is in tea form, which can be easily found at most health food markets.
Shitake mushrooms help increases production of white blood cells which in turn help build and strengthen your immune system. They also have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal effects that also help you fight off the common cold. Shitakes are delicious sautéed with a little garlic and coconut oil or roasted dry with sea salt and any herbs you choose.
Garlic is an immune-boosting powerhouse. Its anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiviral values are off the charts, which helps make it a major immune booster. If you do happen to get sick, increasing the garlic in your diet will help shorten your cold significantly. Garlic can be used in a variety of recipes so be sure to add it to as much of your food as you can this winter.
Lemons are packed with Vitamin C making them a great immune booster. They are also a highly alkaline food (despite their acidic taste) and help keep your internal system healthy and disease free. Drinking a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon every morning is a great habit for anyone to get into--pregnant or not!
Get more wellness tips from Sara Jane Mercer here.