Winter is here and who doesn’t love a bowl of porridge on a cold day?
Our precious immune systems are the body’s defence system against harmful invaders. Many day-to-day encounters can challenge the immune system and stimulate a natural response. There are a variety of things that can decrease the immunity in our systems, such as an overuse and exposure to chemicals in our environment, anxiety and stress are very common. Winter is one of those times as the temperature plummets that can cause our bodies stress and we tend to see a higher account of the flu in particular.
Exercise, fresh air, reducing chemical exposure and stress can be very beneficial in optimising your body’s immune response to invaders.
How can Food boost your Immune System
Let’s run through a few Toppers we can add to our oats to help boost our immune system.
As winter brings the cold mornings and chilly nights this can start to decrease our immune systems. And with that sometimes comes sickness. The cold and flu season will be in full force and there will be times we just won’t want to leave the house. Leading up to winter and throughout the season it is a good idea to try and boost your immune system. There are many ways we can do this with food and just being conscious about what ingredients we use. So, when the sickness does start to show themselves, your body is ready to fight them off.
To help your immune system, there are a number of things you can do involving food. You can of course take supplements to boost your immune system. However, the healthier and more affordable option is to add foods to your diet that will naturally increase your immune system.
Oats by themselves are a great way to boost your immunity! They contain great sources of vitamins and minerals such as selenium and zinc that aid your body in fighting off and preventing infection, to ensure that you’re ready for whatever might hit you this winter. Our traditional steam rolled oats provide you with a great way to start off the day, and using healthy toppers gives you an extra boost!
Immune Boosting Oat Toppers
Toppers are a great way to add more vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system while eating some great oats. Let’s run through a few Toppers we can add to our oats to help boost our immune system.
Adding berries and assorted fruits to your oats is a great way to boost your immune system. Berries are a great source of antioxidants and are not only great for you – they taste great on the top of your oats. Banana is also another favourite on your oats and is great for boosting your immune system. Mixing in a little bit of honey with your fruit and oats as well will give a sweeter taste to enjoy. Where possible use fruits that are in season and can be easily purchased. Frozen fruits are still good, however, the ones that are in season provide that extra boost for you. I love making a Coulis with the fruit by just adding a little water in a pot with the fruit, stewing it for about 10 mins then bottle it. Delicious.
Nuts and Seeds
Adding nuts and seeds to your oats not only gives a nice crunchy touch to your meal but it also helps you to boost the amount of protein that you are taking in throughout your diet. The added protein of the nuts and seeds will help with the building of your immune system. Nuts such as macadamia and almond are very good for you and taste great mixed through your oats. Try soaking them also overnight to activate your nuts so that they are easier to digest.
Chia seeds have a lot of benefits and can be used either on top of a bowl, cooked into your morning porridge of oats or added to a smoothie bowl to thicken it.
Adding a probiotic to your bowl of oats or smoothie bowl is a great idea as well. You see oats contain the prebiotics you need to feed the good bacteria in the probiotics. You can purchase probiotic drinks or powder from most supermarkets and health foods stores. A probiotic will help in numerous ways to increase your immune system and make sure that your body is full of all the good antibodies. The great thing about a probiotic is that they are normally free of a flavouring which means that you can add them into your meals or drinks without even noticing and having no change to the flavour of it.
Cut back on dairy
If you’re finding that often tend to get sniffles, cut back on the amount of dairy that you are using in your meals and drinks. Dairy is known to increase the growth of mucus your body produces so if you are beginning to get sick, dairy can make it a lot worse and make it harder to overcome the snuffles. Substitute full cream milk with any plant-based milk options such as Almond milk, Rice milk, Coconut milk BUT best of all how about Oat milk. You can purchase a fabulous Oat Milk Making Kit from our online store or just the Oat Milk Bag, if you prefer. Plant-based milks are a great substitute when you are creating your smoothies or making your porridge. Try adding a delicious coconut yoghurt to your oats instead of yoghurt made from dairy. Most of these alternatives have their own unique flavour which then brings a whole new experience to your dish. However, just a warning about yogurt, just make sure you choose ones that are sugar free or low in sugar as decreasing your sugar content will also assist you boosting your immune system.
Honey is in my opinion the most magical food. It has so many benefits for the mind and body and is a great medicinal food. Using honey in your smoothies, smoothie bowls and simply drizzling on top of your morning oats is a great way to help increase your immune system. Use raw honey where possible and always check the labels to ensure that it is real honey you are purchasing and not imitation honey. Did you know that we sell raw organic honey in our online store? We source our honey from a local supplier here on the Darling Downs who processes the honey in a food accredited facility. The honey is collected from hives located in the National Parks between Toowoomba and Crows Nest. The flavour is delicious.
Another great food to add to your oats is coconut. The great thing about coconut is that there are so many different ways that you can use it and incorporate it into your food. You can add a dollop of coconut yoghurt to your oats, sprinkle coconut flakes on top for a crunchy addition or you can use coconut milk in your smoothies. You can also get Coconut Syrup if you would like to use a low GI sweetener. It’s a great alternative to honey or maple syrup.
Winter is upon us so now is the time to start focusing on your body and increasing your immune system and making it robust to cope with the winter chills. We have a wonderful Winter Wellness Series of interviews where I am chatting to associates about all things Winter, tips, tricks and some delicious recipe ideas. Follow the interviews on our socials or our Youtube channel.
We also have a fabulous Winter Wellness Pack available at a fantastic price and fabulous recipes for how to make great oats for an immune-boosting breakfast or more! Experiment with different foods and find flavours that suit you and that you enjoy eating.
Happy Winter and happy eating!