3 Foods to Fight off Sickness this Winter

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It’s that time of year….the air cools, pumpkin spice takes the market by storm, bags of scented pinecones pile outside of the craft store, aaaaand sickness starts to run rampant.

The good news is that your body was created to fight for you. In fact it even creates antioxidants itself (how amazing is that?). Antioxidants help to remove harmful agents from your body, clear out infection and disease, and help your body detox. So during times of higher vulnerability, it’s wise to add a little extra ammo in the form of antioxidant rich foods, so that you don’t miss out on your annual pumpkin carving or ugly sweater contest.

Foods are given an ORAC score to determine their antioxidant content, and these 3 rank among the highest! What’s also amazing is that they’re foods you probably already eat this time of year because the earth produces things seasonally that are full of the exact nutrients your body needs in that season. Woah. So let’s get to it…..

1. Cinnamon
What is it? 
Cinnamon is harvested from the inner bark of certain evergreen trees.  Common cinnamon is “Cassia” cinnamon, which is lower in quality and contains a substance called coumarin that can be harmful in high quantities. So the better option is “Ceylon” cinnamon. It’s a powerhouse of antioxidants and also fights bacteria, fungus, and candida yeast.  It also has a sweeter, richer flavor than Cassia.  Ceylon is less accessible and therefore more expensive, but you can buy it in bulk online for a great deal! 

—Ideas for incorporating cinnamon this winter:
-Blend it into hot cocoa, coffee, or warm almond milk with honey
-Sprinkle it onto hot oatmeal or roasted squash
-Add it to your homemade cookies, granola, roasted pumpkin seeds, or soups

2. Cacao (pronounced “cuh-COW”)
—What is it?
Cacao is found in the pods of the cacao fruit tree. Unlike cocoa, which is processed through high-heat, cacao maintains its nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants because it’s extracted through a cold-press method. It also contains the mood-booster anandamide, an extra helpful perk for when you’re stuck behind the slooowwwesssst shopping cart in the aisle of singing reindeer. You can get cacao online, or at a grocery store, but the best deal I’ve found is at Trader Joes! 

—Ideas for incorporating cacao this winter:
-Blend up a homemade hot cocoa or warm Raw Cacao Maca Milk
-Substitute cacao powder anytime you would use cocoa powder. It will retain all of its nutrient contents when used in things that aren’t cooked at high temperatures, but even if do heat it you’ll still be getting more benefits than if you used cocoa powder.

3. Pecans
—What is it? 
This savory nut is not only packed full of antioxidants but also full of healthy fats which are critical to immune health. The added bonus in this one is that pecans positively impact your brain health…which seems extra important for juggling all of your holiday to-do’s.

—Ideas for incorporating pecans this winter:
-Make a harvest trail mix with pecans, dark chocolate, dry cranberries, and roasted pumpkin seeds
-Blend pecans to create a flour and use it as a base for pie crusts
-Spread pecan butter on warm bread or cracker. You can find it at most grocery stores or purchase it from amazing companies like Purely Pecan Butter.

Here’s to caring for your body well this season so that you can be fully present. Present to sweet time with your family and friends, slow traffic and jammed aisles, and every wonderful messy beautiful thing in between.