By Julia Howard
The best way to stay healthy during cold and flu season is to take preventative steps before you feel that first sniffle. If you become sick, resting, staying hydrated, and getting proper nutrition are some of the most important things you can do to feel better and recover faster.
Many locally grown and sourced foods are packed with immune-boosting nutrients to keep your body strong, healthy, and ready to fight infections.
Vitamin C is primarily associated with a strengthened immune system and may help to reduce cold and flu symptoms. Brussels sprouts, potatoes, tomatoes, and fresh herbs like parsley and thyme are high in vitamin C and currently available from local farms.
Pasture-raised chicken is available at the farmers’ market and can be boiled down to make nutrient-dense broth. Bone broth/stock is rich in minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids and has many health benefits. To get started, place 1 gallon of water, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2-4 pounds of bones and meat, and salt and pepper in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 12-24 hours. The longer it cooks, the better the broth will taste and the more nutritious it will be.
Freshly harvested leafy greens like spinach and kale can also help boost your immune system as they contain vitamins E and C. A green smoothie or a raw salad can offer a daily dose of these essential, health-building vitamins.
Whether you’re looking to alleviate a cough or boost your immune system, honey is an excellent food to consume on its own or in a cup of tea. Honey is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Bee products such as propolis and bee pollen are high in zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins.
Garlic has been used in alternative medicine for centuries. Scientists have found that plant compounds in garlic are immune-supportive and anti-inflammatory even when consumed raw in small doses.
Turmeric, a spice well known as an ingredient in curry, contains a chemical called curcumin, which might reduce swelling. Turmeric is also regarded for its antioxidant and antiviral properties. It’s also grown locally!
While no food alone can cure sickness, eating the right foods may help support your immune system and relieve certain symptoms.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Wilton Mall Food Court. Find us online at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org, where you can sign up for our weekly newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @SaratogaFarmersMarket.