plate of green and purple vegetables

Keeping healthy in winter doesn’t have to be about popping supplements and such all the time, stockpiling Vitamin C and Echinacea...There are some really basic, simple steps that help you stay on top of the chills and ills.

And even better, you can find them in your pantry, and garden. Even better still, your weedy winter garden!

  • A daily kiwifruit, for Vitamin C and gut-friendly fibre to feed good bacteria as well as stop toxins building up with a slow transit. Chop it up and put it on your breakfast, or just peel and eat. Not keen on kiwifruit? Try the gold ones- they're much milder and easier!
  • 3 cups of a variety of lightly cooked veges daily to get more of your essential nutrition needs. Lightly cooked is the charm here- overcooked, they'll have lost most of their nutrition. This, by the way, refers particularly to 'above ground' vegetables rather than root options such as kumara and potatoes.
  •  With less sunlight, your mood can get low. Looking at things that give you pleasure is proven to increase positive brain activity. Go and forage a bunch of flowers, and bring them inside to enjoy. Too simple? No, seriously. There is actual research about this.

My top herb suggestions:

  •  Ginger, to keep your blood moving and keep you warm. Think stir fry and curries...and lemon and ginger drinks! Start with a tablespoon and work up towards a handful of fresh ginger in a meal for 3.
  • Cinnamon, to protect from spider veins - they get overworked when they expand and contract as you move from hot to cold. Cinnamon is not ideal if you have a slow digestion though! If that’s the case...go for ¼ cup of blueberries a day.
  •  Dandelion greens, to tone up sluggish liver and digestion, when you’re eating lots of rich, starchy winter food. Other options are endive and radicchio. Bitters act as a little daily work-out for the digestive system, getting the juices flowing and motivating the liver to move things through.Add them near the end of cooking, or toss them, chopped finely, over at the end for an essential sharp, bitter balance. Your gallbladder and liver will thank you!