Question: What foods do you consume more of in winter and why?
Erika Morvay: Citrus fruits for their high content of immune boosting Vitamin C. Healing home-made chicken soup for its anti-inflammatory and immune boosting action Ginger, Turmeric and Garlic to help increase circulation, and which have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and may help to fight upper respiratory infections. Garlic is also a natural antibiotic, which can help to keep the gut microbiome healthy. Cruciferous vegetables which contain glucosinolates, supporting liver detoxification and acting as a prebiotic, a food for beneficial gut bacteria. Probiotic rich foods and fermented foods (e.g. sauerkraut), which are rich in beneficial bacteria, and involved in many body functions including immune regulation. Manuka Honey for its antimicrobial goodness with immune boosting properties, also great for sore throats or mild tummy upsets. Shitake mushrooms, these are great in soups or Asian meals. They contain compounds called polysaccharides, known for their immune modulating action. Question: How can we boost our immune system with foods?
Erika Morvay: The above mentioned foods can be incorporated into daily diet.
In colder months I also recommend warming, well cooked foods, such as soups, casseroles and stews.
Question: What are your top five immunity foods?
Erika Morvay: Ginger
Chicken soup (homemade, or broth)
Question: If you start to feel a cold coming on; what do you do?
Erika Morvay: I usually make myself a ginger and lemon hot drink, cook up a batch of chicken soup, get plenty of sleep and spend some time in the sun. I love the immune boosting herbs Echinacea, Elderflower and Andrographis. Echinacea and Elderflower also make for delicious teas. I also make sure I have a daily dose of zinc and vitamin C.
Question: How can we increase our energy levels to help fight fatigue?
Erika Morvay: One of the most important and often underrated ways to help boost energy levels in our modern world is to get plenty of good quality sleep. Aim for at least 8 hours. Herbal teas or supplements containing the following herbs can help to assist with good quality sleep: Passionflower, Ziziphus, Albizia, Lemonbalm or Lavender.
Foods rich in B-group vitamins, CoQ10 and magnesium can help support energy production within our mitochondria-energy powerhouse.
Also, traditional energy tonics such as Astragalus, Siberian Ginseng or Korean Ginseng can help fight fatigue and boost immunity. They are also adaptogens, meaning they assist the body to cope with various stressors.
Question: Can you share a recipe, to boost our immunity, this winter?
Erika Morvay: Quick recipe for non-cooks:
Ginger, Manuka And Lemon Drink
Grate about a tbsp of each fresh ginger and lemon rind in a drinking mug and pour over some boiled water with ½ lemon juice. Stir in a 1 tbsp of Manuka Honey and enjoy!
My Mum's Chicken Soup
1 small to medium free range or pasture raised chicken
Celery sticks plus green tips
1 large Onion
4-5 garlic cloves
1-2 Bay leaves
1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
Method: Place all ingredients together in a medium to a large pan, cover with water and let it cook on low heat for 2-3 hours. Top up with water, if necessary. Add salt to taste, once cooked.
Question: What is the top winter supplement for women, this winter and why?
Erika Morvay: I recommend a formulation with immune boosting herbs such as Astragalus, Siberian Ginseng, Codonopsis and Reishi Mushrooms. Additional benefits include enhanced energy production and increase resistance to stress, especially for busy, active women.
Question: And, what is the top winter supplement for men, this winter and why?
Erika Morvay: Zinc and Vitamin C. Both of these nutrients are essential for normal immune function, prevention of colds & flu with zinc being especially important for optimal male hormone production and reproductive function helping to enhance endurance and stamina.
Question: What supplements can parents give their children to help build their immune health?
Erika Morvay: Probiotic supplement specially formulated for children of all ages to support healthy immune development and reduce the risk and recurrence of colds and upper respiratory tract infections.
Interview by Brooke Hunter