Red meat, like beef, is high in zinc. Picture from Pexels.

Winter can be tough when it comes to your health and well-being but it doesn’t have to be like that. With the right foods, you can survive winter with your health intact. All we have to do is eat the right foods so we can stay well. 

Dietitian, nutritionist and spokesperson of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Isabel Maples has some advice and tips for the best foods eat to stay well this season.

Adequate sleep, minimal stress and a flu vaccine definitely helps fight winter illnesses, as does building up your immune system with a healthy diet.  

Beef

  • Red meat, like beef, is high in zinc, a nutrient that builds a strong immune system. Other high zinc foods include lamb, spiny lobster, oysters and sesame seeds. 
  • Additionally, those foods and beef are also great sources of protein, which is important since our immune molecules themselves are made up of protein.

Milk is an excellent source of vitamin A. Picture from Pexels
Milk

  • Milk is an excellent source of vitamin A and is often fortified with vitamin D. Both vitamin A and D help the body fight off disease. 
  • Vitamin A works to provide a barrier to disease, by keeping the skin healthy, as well as tissues in the mouth, stomach and intestines, and in the respiratory, genital and urinary tracts. 
  • Vitamin D regulates cell growth and plays a role in immunity. Milk also supplies the body with fluids; proper hydration also guards against disease.

Guava

  • Guava is a fruit that is exceptionally rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts immunity by protecting our body against rogue molecules. 
  • To visualize how vitamin C helps cells, notice how a sliced apple doesn’t turn brown when dipped in vitamin C-rich lemon or lime juice. Vitamin C helps prevent oxidation like that at the cellular level inside our bodies, fighting cell damage and disease.  

Liquid vegetable oils

  • The best sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils like safflower, sunflower and cottonseed oil. Vitamin E neutralizes “free radicals,” which are damage-causing, unstable particles formed as the body utilizes oxygen, as well as when it is exposed to cigarette smoking, pollution, and ultraviolet light.
  •  Note that high temperatures, like frying, destroy the vitamin E in oils. 
  • Nuts are another great source of vitamin E, with almonds and hazelnuts (filberts) leading the pack.

Whole grains can fill you up longer.
Barley

  • During winter’s frigid temperatures, a bowl of hot soup can nourish the body and warm the soul. 
  • Pick a soup packed with veggies and a whole grain, like barley. 
  • Whole grains can fill you up longer, so are a perfect choice when you feel like hibernating. 
  • Plus, fibre-rich foods feed the healthy bacteria in our digestive systems, which research shows can protect our health in a whole new way.