|Written By Lara Wadsworth
Staying healthy in the winter is always on the top list for health-conscious individuals. With flu season, less sunlight, cold temperatures, and back-to-school time, the winter season is often a hash of sickness after sickness for many households. Luckily, there are foods that Mother Nature has provided for us that can improve our chances of evading the worst of the sick season.
Leafy greens have a wide variety of health benefits. The main reasons they are important for winter health are the vitamin C and fiber they provide. Greens such as spinach and kale contain high amounts of Vitamin C. This well-known nutrient is essential for proper bodily function. It helps the digestive system absorb other nutrients like iron, for wound healing and skin health, building cell walls, and resiliency against viral diseases. A great benefit of spinach and kale is that they are cold-tolerant and can be grown year-round in many climates with little to no protection.
Mushrooms are not always thought of as a health food, but they are indeed a fantastic source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is another essential nutrient that is directly linked to immunity and overall bodily health. It strengthens bones and muscles and even battles cancerous growths throughout the body. Check out this Medicinal Mushrooms Book for more detailed information. The way mushrooms are grown has a significant impact on the level of vitamin D they can supply to the body. Try growing them at home with our starter kits! Exposing them to more light than commercially grown mushrooms will increase their effectiveness.
One of the easiest ways to increase your vegetable intake year-round and provide your body with ample natural nutrients are sprouts and microgreens. They can be grown indoors with ease and add delicious flavor and texture to a wide variety of meals. Read our Sprouting for Health booklet or The Sprout Book by Doug Evans for more detailed information on how sprouts and microgreens impact your bodily function. In short, they contain vitamin C and a wide variety of other antioxidants that are crucial in ridding the body of toxins and influencing immunity. We have a plethora of seeds for every experience level, palate, and situation. However, the Health Blend may be of particular interest on this topic.
This easy-to-grow vegetable is a vastly underutilized tool in the health lover’s arsenal. The book Wheatgrass Nature's Finest Medicine discusses the many ways wheatgrass can revitalize your health. They contain fiber for proper gut health and Vitamin C and A for improved cell function. The Starter Wheatgrass Growing Kit is a great place to begin if you have little to no experience with growing Wheatgrass yourself. A huge benefit of wheatgrass is that it can be grown indoors and, therefore, can be grown and harvested any time of year - including the winter time! This is an easy and delicious way to get those fresh greens in your diet, even in the middle of winter. Just be sure to juice these young plants as the wheatgrass strands themselves are not suitable for direct eating. Animals such as cats and dogs, however, can greatly benefit from snacking on these greens directly.
This warm, seasonal drink is more than just comforting. Herbal tea can have real and lasting benefits to the regular consumer. Ginger, chamomile, and hibiscus teas are just a few examples of herbal teas with proven health benefits. Try our Medicinal and Herbal Tea Starter Kit for a garden filled with useful and delicious plants. Growing these delightful plants in the summertime and then drying them in the fall will allow you to always have a stash of leaves for a quick and nourishing herbal tea. Some other resources you may find useful for homemade herbal teas are the Stacking Grow Tower and tea bags.
|Lara Wadsworth, True Leaf Market Writer
I am a native of Southwestern Michigan, where I also reside, and I love all things plants! I got a Bachelor's Degree in Horticulture and found the first work-from-home job I could get. Now, I spend my days writing for TLM, playing with my dog, eating delicious food with my husband, and plotting my next landscape or gardening move. I believe everyone should get down and dirty in the soil now and then. Happy Gardening!