Starting to see the signs that winter weather is here? Runny noses, watery eyes, tired bodies and that wintery chill have all visited our house in the last week. Instead of hopping an airplane to Tulum or hibernating at home, I was inspired to revisit my best immune boosters this week. Here’s to keeping us all healthy and somewhat sane during these next few months.

5 Surprising Immune System Boosters - (cool) progeny

Shiitake Mushrooms
One of the most flavorful and rich tasting mushrooms available in most grocery stores. Shiitakes are native to Japan and are simple to sauté and easy to add in several different dishes. Try them in a omelette or a stir fry. They’re awesome in a risotto as well! Shiitake’s are high in immune boosting antioxidants and also contain Lentinan. Among it’s many healing benefits, Lentinan builds up the immune system, strengthening its ability to fight infection and disease.

Keep your family #healthy this winter with these 5 surprising #immune system boosters! - (cool) progeny

Parsley
Yes! This simple, fragrant herb can be one of the most effective food immune boosters in our kitchen or garden. Easy to add to soups or pasta, delicious as a pesto with walnuts and always a good garnish with eggs. This herb surprises! Parsley is rich in many vital immune boosting vitamins such as Vitamins C, B12, K and A.

Keep your family #healthy this winter with these 5 surprising #immune system boosters! - (cool) progeny

Broth (Veggie or Chicken)
Making your own broth can be a simple weekend morning project that doesn’t require a ton of time in the kitchen. It’s also a good purging of your refrigerator! It is one of the healthiest ways to make an immune boosting tonic for the entire family, chock full of vitamins and minerals that you can use throughout the week. Use it for reheating rice, add it to beans, stews, soups, pasta sauces, steamed veggies.

Anything goes here! Rough cut all the veggies – no need for extra work here, rinse your veggies quickly and throw everything in your best soup pot. Add whatever herbs you have – rosemary twigs, bay leaves, parsley, whatever you may have around. Take the ends of your broccoli stems, tops of carrots and celery, ends of your onions, smash cloves of garlic and throw it all in. Use rough stems from any greens you might have; kale, collards, spinach. If you’re doing a chicken broth; use last night’s rotisserie chicken and throw the entire thing in the pot.

Keep your family #healthy this winter with these 5 surprising #immune system boosters! - (cool) progeny

Fill the pot with filtered water, add a healthy handful of sea salt and turn the heat up to boil. Once you have hit boiling, you’ll want to turn everything down to a nice simmer and let it go for an hour or two. The longer the better with this recipe – you literally need to do absolutely nothing while it simmers. You can check the color of the broth after an hour and you should be able to taste it’s richness. This will make your home smell super comforting and gourmet without much effort. Once you have steeped all the goodness from your meat and/or veggies, strain the healing tonic into jars for the fridge and freezer bags for your freezer (about two cups of broth will fit in a sandwich size freezer bag. Perfect for pulling out for a single meal!). Refrigerated jarred broth should be good for about a week.

Keep your family #healthy this winter with these 5 surprising #immune system boosters! - (cool) progeny

Probiotics
Eat your yogurt! More Miso soup! Get your kids to eat good plain (or Greek) yogurt. If they’re used to the sweeter taste then try some drizzled raw honey for the added antioxidant boost. Think about introducing a probiotic supplement. This can be a surprisingly easy way to boost yours and their system this winter. Probiotics bring balance back to the gut by replenishing it with healthy bacterial flora. A balanced and harmonious gut can defend against many strains of immune suppressing illnesses.

Keep your family #healthy this winter with these 5 surprising #immune system boosters! - (cool) progeny

Hot Lemon Cocktail
I promise I’m not asking you to give up your daily dose of caffeine, but try to add this in 1 time a day for an entire week. I think you’ll notice a difference. Use the juice of about 1/2 a lemon, hot water and a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar. You can add some raw honey to sweeten the taste or just stick with the hot lemon water. The benefits to this little daily ritual are extensive, however since we are on the subject of strengthening our immune systems let’s go over the goods:

  • Lemons are high in vitamin c, they are anti inflammatory and antimicrobial – all good things for any colds that may be hovering in your system.
  • Lemons and Apple Cider Vinegar are alkalyzing for your body, viruses thrive in acidic environments so therefore creating a more alkaline and balanced environment in your system will help to ward against that epic pre-school strain of the ick.

Wishing you and your families a calm and healthy winter season!