7 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter

We’re midway through the “cold season” and, at our house, fairing pretty well. We’ve had our share of bugs, of course, but for the most part have been able to keep other family members healthy while just one is sick. {knock on wood} Taking just a bit of precaution and dietary changes can help you to stay well this winter.

7 ways to stay healthy this winter

photo credit: sunshinecity

1) Wash your hands

I remember not being allowed to eat until we washed our hands at my grandmother’s house. And that’s one habit I need to not only get my kids doing, but myself as well. Germs on the hand go so easily in the mouth – and even with a kickin’ immune system, a virus can take over. So wash your hands when you come home from the store, before cooking or eating, and always after using the restroom.

2) Don’t eat sugar

*sigh* Someone has to say it though right? Sugar depresses your immune system, knocking it off its feet for hours after you eat it. This means that while we’re out with friends and someone else has a bug, our immune system can’t effectively fight it off.

It seems that from Halloween to Easter, we’re constantly tempted with sugary treats. During the same season the cold, flu, and stomach viruses are passed around. So do your immune system a favor and stay away from excess sugar, eating no more than a total of 2 tablespoons a day and only 2 teaspoons at a time, preferably unrefined sugar.

3) Eat your probiotics

These friendly bacterial immune boosters can dramatically affect your health. To often we don’t eat enough foods that have “good” bacteria in them! When we consume probiotic foods (or supplements) they help balance the “good” and “bad” bacteria in our digestive system. And did you know that 80% of your immune system is in your digestive system? So make sure to get yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods in each day.

4) Make use of the neti pot

A small little pot, much like a tea-pot, is used to irrigate your sinuses with warm salt water. Since your nasal passages are one of the ways viruses get into the body, the salt water can clear them out. Just make sure that before you use any old water in the neti-pot, that you boil it first and then let it cool. This way you’ll kill any bacteria in the water as well as get rid of the chlorine should you have city water.

{adults and older children only}

5) Gargle with salt water

Along the same lines as the neti pot, gargling with salt water can effectively deal with viruses in the throat and nip them in the bud.

{adults and older children only}

6) Take elderberry syrup

Simple to make at home, elderberry syrup is a great immune booster. Studies have shown that it helps to kill both the cold and influenza viruses. It tastes great as well and just a little bit each day (or more if you’re coming down with something) can keep you feeling great all winter.

7) Eat raw garlic

I have a hard time getting my littles to eat raw garlic, but this little root herb is incredibly powerful! It’s a major immune booster, an anti-viral, anti-fungal and an anti-bacterial. To boost the effectiveness, mince the garlic and let sit for 15-20 minutes before consuming. And while raw garlic is very strong and almost spicy, I find that it’s easy to consume when mixed with other foods. I often make a garlic-herb butter to spread on toast or rice. A few times now I’ve nipped a cold in the bud just by consuming 3-4 cloves per day for a couple of days in a row.

So there you have it – just a few simple tips to keep you healthy!


How do you keep yourself, and your family, healthy over the winter months?

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This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

About donielle

Donielle is a natural momma of two, lover of real foods, and owner and editor of Grand Rapids Natural Living and Naturally Knocked Up. You can usually find her in the kitchen whipping up some nourishing foods, cuddled on the couch reading books to the littles, avoiding the laundry and Mt. Saint Dishes, or tapping away on the laptop. Her husband puts up with her sometimes crazy "hippie" ways, but loves her regardless. Welcome to my home away from home.


  1. I’ve been learning a lot about herbalism and using nutrition to boost immunity over the winter.

  2. Hummus has a lot of raw garlic in it, and my daughter loves it! 🙂