Winter may bring a lot of fun outdoor activities for the family, but it also carries an inflated risk of colds and flus. The last thing any household needs this year is another health matter to be concerned about. But before you rush off to the local pharmacy for remedies, we encourage you to look to your own yard or indoor garden. There is a tremendous amount of potential to grow herbs, fruits, and vegetables that will nip pesky viruses in the bud. And if it’s not practical to plant them at this juncture, you can support your immune system and local farmers market by adding them to your grocery basket, Even better, is that by planting/buying the following with your kids, you will teach them valuable lessons about how Mother Nature provides for everything we need to thrive.

How Your Family Can Beat the Cold and Flu Season With Foods from Your Household Garden and/or Local Farmers Market

Pick Antioxidant-Rich Fruits and Vegetables

Antioxidants are essential to maintaining the health and vitality of your family. A household with an antioxidant-rich diet will be armed with natural defenses against common seasonal viruses. Delicious and antioxidant-rich vegetables that you can grow in Canada’s moderate climate (or even indoors) including the following:

  • Kale and spinach (very winter hardy!)
  • Onions
  • Blueberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries

View more on antioxidants that you can grow in your own garden.

Harvest Herbs With Medicinal Properties

With a little TLC, herbs will be easy for your family to grow indoors in the winter. They also boast unique properties that can help you stave off viral infections. For instance, German chamomile stimulates the digestive system and supports a healthy gut microbiome. The gut microbiome and immune system support one another to promote a healthy body. This herb is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can be applied as a “home-remedy” for when anyone in your household has a mild or moderate fever. Speaking of the microbiome and immune system connection, consider growing and harvesting minty herbs too. Studies have shown that peppermint and spearmint can help improve symptoms of IBS, indigestion, and other common stomach disorders. Then there’s lemon balm, which has antibacterial, antiviral, carminative and digestive properties. Other home-garden herbs that are known to support the immune system include echinacea, elderberry, andrographis and astragalus. View more on these cold and flu fighting herbs, and how to grow them.

More Immune System Boosters to Buy and Grow

There are other practical-to-grow vegetables that are heralded for their immune boosting properties. While the entire Vitamin-alphabet is important, focus on Vitamin C during cold and flue season. Tasty garden (and market) vegetables that are rich in Vitamin C include red bell peppers, broccoli, and spinach. Zinc is also an immune booster that you can grow at home through plants that are especially popular with kids – sunflowers and pumpkins. The seeds of each are high in zinc. Plus, there’s a good chance that you’ve still got pumpkins hanging around the household in November and even early December.

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