Prepare your body for winter with the help of Mother Nature.
Fall is a season of transition during which the body begins to slow down. The energy of the summer subsides to make way for calm, which will help prepare the body for the cold associated with winter. This is the ideal time to fill up on seasonal and local vegetables and fruits, which will be richer in nutrients than produce from other latitudes.
Nature is good at producing the right foods at the right time to strengthen us. Thus, what grows in forests and vegetable gardens in autumn will help us tackle the change of season. Here is some advice on how to up-grade your diet before the cold weather arrives!
Prepare your body for winter: from the garden to the plate
In the cucurbit family, opt for pumpkin, butternut squash or hokkaido, all beautifully coloured and rich in betacarotene and antioxidants. Squash can be used in many tasty dishes, both sweet and savoury, with the addition of warming spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, cloves and nutmeg. Root vegetables (think beetroot, turnips, carrots, celeriac, sweet potatoes) are remineralising, satiating and provide the fibre needed to nourish the intestinal flora and detoxify the body. As for brassicas, there is a wide variety of options with, for example, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, packchoy, broccoli and kale. Cabbages will help to fill up on vitamins (A, C, K, B9) and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium).
Treasures of the woods and forests
Autumn is a blessed season for all mushroom lovers, and even more so for those who like to (and know how to) forage them. If you are not a natural born mycologist, you can simply buy them at the grocery store or at the market. Mushrooms are rich in trace elements (selenium, copper) and vitamin D, which are essential for boosting the immune system. Let’s not forget chestnuts, which are an interesting snack for recharging your energy and providing a feeling of comfort. Again, you can pick them in nature, or buy them at your favourite store. They are a source of manganese, copper, magnesium and iron.
Soups and teas for good hydration
A well-hydrated body will fight infections better. Water nourishes the cells and activates detoxification pathways. Warm liquids are doubly beneficial, warming up the body, but also helping to kickstart digestion. Go for soups and vegetable broths, which are a good remedy for colds, especially when herbs such as thyme, rosemary and oregano are added. Their antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties will contribute to your good health. Infusions or herbal teas will hydrate the nasal mucosa, strengthen the body and provide specific actions, depending on the plants used. Rosemary strengthens the body against external attacks such as respiratory infections. It is also very useful in times of great fatigue. Rosemary has the particularity of conducting blood to the extremities, so think about it if you often get cold feet. St. John’s Wort will be a great ally for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, those mild depressions that sometimes occur in winter when we are deprived of natural light. In case of a sore throat, opt for chamomile and sage. Use them also as a preventive gargle, as they have disinfectant properties.
Miraculous products of the hive
Propolis, royal jelly, pollen or a simple spoon-ful of honey (organic and raw) are great products to boost immunity.
Prepare your body for winter: pumpkin and chestnut soup
Ingredients: Flesh of 1 hokkaido squash (1 kg); 1 onion; 1 tbsp ghee or olive oil; 1 tin of coconut milk (400ml); 1 pinch of nutmeg; 1 tsp cumin powder; half a tsp cinnamon; 2 cm grated ginger; 1 tsp aniseed or coriander seeds (according to taste); 1 pinch of salt; 12 chestnuts. (serves 4)
Fry the spices, aniseed/coriander and ginger for 3 minutes in the ghee or olive oil, then add the finely chopped onion and leave to sweat for 5 minutes over a low heat, stirring. Add the chopped hokkaido, 200 ml of water and the coconut milk. Leave to cook for 20 minutes on a low heat, add salt and blend until the soup is creamy. Sprinkle with cooked chestnuts cut into small chunks.