Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Healthy Fall and Winter Eating

by Iva Lloyd, ND

Transitioning from summer to fall/winter eating can be challenging for many people. Cold and raw foods are best replaced with soups, stews, casseroles and "winter salads", especially when you live in a region where temperatures drop quite low.

Local seasonal fruits, vegetables and spices are mother nature's way of providing what we need to stay healthy. Foods that are available in the fall assist in strengthening the immune system, sustaining energy levels during the cold weather and preventing that winter weight gain that so many people experience. Local seasonal food is not only healthier for you, but also for the environment. They have more flavor, higher nutrient levels and require less resources spent on transportation and storage.

Value of Eating Warm / Seasonal Food

Those people that tend to have increased dryness, skin rashes, sensitivity to the cold, cold hands and feet, increased frequency of colds and flus, decreased energy levels in the winter and increased fatigue or malaise will often notice the greatest difference by adding more fall and winter foods into their diet.

On a physiological level, the reason for changing your diet based on seasons is that the body needs to warm food up to body temperature in order to aid proper digestion.  When your diet is cold in a cold season, it takes a lot more energy which can result in depleting the energy reserves for other metabolic functions.

Examples of Fall and Winter Foods

Vegetables: there are a number of vegetables ideal for fall/winter eating, including:
  • squash are excellent baked in the oven or made into soups
  • cauliflower and broccoli are great steamed or added to stir-frys
  • carrots and potatoes can be used to make some great winter salads, in soups or stews or by themselves - parsnips are from the carrot family and add a nice earthy flavour to stews
  • rutabega or turnips last great throughout the winter and can be baked or added to stews
  • beets are a deep rich purple colour and are great on their own or as a winter salad
  • sweet potatoes or yams can be used like white potatoes, either boiled or baked
  • pumpkin is often associated with soup or with pies
  • swiss chard and kale are calcium-rich dark leafy greens that are great on their own or added to soups and stir-frys
Fruit : the primary seasonal fruits in Canada are apples, pears and grapes

Herbs: most of the herbs common in the fall and winter have immune enhancing, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties including thyme, oregano, ginger and garlic.  Herbs such as peppermint, cilantro and parsley are more cooling and are best consumed in the summer.

Additional Information on Staying Healthy in the Fall / Winter

Check out the following information to assist you in staying healthy in the fall and winter months:
At Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic we offer a number of services to assist you in staying healthy during the fall & winter months including same-day walk-in appointments, IV Meyers treatment, specialized Ayurvedic massages, as well as a number of natural treatment options for acute infections. If you have any questions, please talk to one of our naturopathic doctors.