Too often winter begins with a sniffle, peaks with a holiday hangover, and ends with the blues. Not this year! Here's what you can eat, take, and do to stay healthy all season.
I Have a Sore Throat and Feel a Cold Coming On. Help!
Indoor air breeds colds and coughs, but common-sense therapies -- like eating fruits and veggies and scrubbing hands clean -- are still the most effective way to keep germs at bay this winter.
Studies have shown that green tea (steeped 3 to 5 minutes) is the best food source of catechins, plant compounds that halt oxidative damage to cells. Flavor it with fresh, anti-inflammatory ginger and pomegranate for an extra nutrient punch.
Green Tea with Lemon and Pomegranate
2 teaspoons green tea (or 2 tea bags)
2 cups boiling water
2 thin slices smashed ginger
1 to 2 lemon wedges
1/4 cup lightly crushed pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons honey or to taste
1. Cover green tea with boiling water, ginger, lemon wedges, pomegranate seeds, and honey. Let tea steep for 3 to 5 minutes and remove.
What Foods Should I Eat to Up My Immunity?
This citrus salad with mint is bursting with vitamin C, and your body absorbs extra cold-fighting antioxidants from the combo of pink grapefruit, which also contains the phytochemical lycopene, and healthy fats like those found in cashews.
Citrus Salad with Cashews and Mint
2 grapefruits, peeled and cut into segments
2 tangerines or clementines, peel and pith removed, cut into slices
2 kiwis, peeled and cut into slices
1/4 cup toasted cashews, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1. Arrange fruit on a platter. Squeeze any excess juice from grapefruit membrane. Top with cashews and mint leaves. Lightly season with salt.
How Can I Beat Back a Blue Mood This Winter?
"The holidays are a perfect storm for mild depression," says Evangeline Lausier, MD, of Durham, North Carolina. Thanks to too many obligations, and cold and dark days, it's common to feel a dip in serotonin levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish (such as salmon and sardines), have been shown to improve cognitive function. Lentils, meanwhile, are a rich source of the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin.
Wild Salmon with Lentils and Arugula
1 medium red onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 bay leaf
1 cup green lentils
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 cups baby arugula (1 1/2 oz.)
4 6-oz. fillets wild salmon, skinless
1. In a medium pot, bring onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, and lentils to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain. Season with salt and pepper. Add olive oil and lemon juice. Stir in arugula and cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange fillets in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake until cooked through, about 16 to 18 minutes. Serve with lentils and squeeze with lemon juice.
The Flu Gets Me Every Year. How Can I Stop It?
Influenza comes on like a freight train, with high fever, headache, fatigue, chills, body aches, and respiratory illness. Since it's difficult to treat, start protecting yourself now.
Douse free radicals and repair and strengthen immune cells with a cascade of antioxidant- and nutrient-rich foods. Prepare a meal with any of these immune-boosting flu fighters: mushrooms, red bell pepper, sweet potatoes or pumpkin, garlic, Brazil nuts, whole grains, and beans.
Mushroom and Lima Bean Stew
1 cup dried lima beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
8 ounces portobello mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 bunch kale (8 oz.), stems removed and leaves thinly sliced (6 cups)
1. Soak beans overnight in water. Drain. Heat oil in a large pot over medium flame. Add onions and garlic. Cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Turn heat to medium high. Working in batches, add mushrooms; cook until golden brown. Transfer to bowl and add more oil to cook remaining mushrooms. Return mushrooms and onions to pot and add squash, beans, bay leaf, and stock. Season with pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover partially. Cook until beans are just tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Stir in kale and cook until tender, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt.
I'm Exhausted! How Can I Get My Energy Back?
Spreading yourself thin is an invitation for illness, as fatigue muffles immune response. Keep your body in fighting form with the following stay-strong strategies.
Maintain a balance of whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. The nutrient-rich sardine crostini shown here boost energy by stabilizing blood-sugar levels and preventing the dramatic dips that lead to lethargy
Spinach Pesto on Sardine Crostini
1 pound baby spinach, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup cup toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Zest of 1 lemon
8 slices rustic bread
1 4-oz. can sardines
1/4 cup currants
Lemon wedges, for serving
1. Steam damp spinach in a large covered pot over medium heat until tender and wilted, about 5 minutes. Drain. Squeeze out excess water. Transfer to a food processor. Add garlic, pepper flakes, nuts, and Parmesan to bowl. Pulse until finely ground. With machine running, add oil. Stir in lemon zest. Season with salt. Serve with toasted bread drizzled with oil and topped with sardines and currants. Squeeze with lemon before serving.
How About this Postparty Hangover?
Restore, rehydrate, and recover with these natural remedies.
Plant foods are high in antioxidants and other compounds that help reduce the oxidative stress alcohol causes. To feel like yourself again, try a restorative breakfast of oatmeal with walnuts (omega-3s help reduce inflammation) and blueberries (packed with polyphenols and vitamin C).
Oatmeal with Blueberries, Walnuts, and Bananas
1 1/12 cups water
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 banana, sliced
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon maple syrup, or to taste
1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add oats, cinnamon, and salt. Reduce to a steady simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until oats are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in frozen blueberries. Top with banana, walnuts, maple syrup, and skim milk, if desired.
More from Martha Stewart:
Quick, One-Pot Meal Ideas To Feed the Whole Family
20 Classic Comfort Food Recipes from Martha Stewart
36 Dinners You Can Make in Just 15 Minutes!
42 Slow-Cooker Recipes Worth the Wait
Think fresh, healthy salads are just for summer? Think again! This one will do you all year long.