Cooking: Healthy winter boosters

Body: 

It's important to take care of our immune system during the winter months by getting adequate sleep, staying active and eating well.

After all the holiday joy comes to a conclusion, the long winter months set in and our New Year resolutions seem unlikely to stick, it can be tempting to start eating more of those warm, comfort foods that are usually high in fat, salt and sugar. The smarter choice is to find comfort in foods such as hot soups and stews full of nourishment and flavor or winter fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Typically, we don't associate smoothies as a winter treat but these recipes will help boost our spirits and keep us healthy through the cold and dreary months ahead.

Quick Fix

This combination is great for those moments when you simply feel off and need to right yourself again.

1 blood orange

¼ cup cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 cup tomato juice, chilled

Peel the orange, removing all of the pith, and cut it into pieces. Next, chop the cucumber. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process them until they are well combined. Strain them into a glass and serve immediately.

Rise and Shine

This juice is packed with nutrients and it is a really great way to start your dreary winter mornings.

4 tomatoes, quartered

½ cup grated carrot

1 tablespoon lime juice

Put the tomatoes, carrot and lime juice into a food processor or blender and process until they are smooth. Strain the tomato mixture into a glass and serve immediately.

Sweet and Sour

This smoothie will help boost your immune system.

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

½ cup cooked beet, chopped

2 ½ tablespoons plain yogurt

⅓ cup water

Salt (optional)

Put the orange juice, beet and yogurt into a food processor or blender and add the water. Process the ingredients until they are well combined and smooth. Pour it into a chilled glass and stir in the salt if desired.

Detox

During the winter months our hair and skin can begin to look dull; foods rich in antioxidants help your skin look and feel healthy. This smoothie will give you an intake of vitamins A and C which is just the cure.

1 mango

2 kiwi

¾ cup pineapple juice

2 fresh mint leaves

Cut the mango into two thick slices as close to the pit as possible, scoop out the flesh and chop the mango. Peel the kiwi with a sharp knife and chop up the flesh. Put all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until they are well combined. Pour the smoothie into a chilled glass and serve immediately.

Apple Revitalizer

This smoothie will give your heart a boost and lift your spirits. P.S. It's a great hangover cure; don't ask me how I know that. This recipe will serve two.

1 apple; peeled, cored and diced

1 cup celery, chopped

1 ¼ cup skim milk

Pinch of sugar (optional)

Salt (optional)

Put the apple, celery and milk into a food processor or a blender and process them until smooth. Stir in the sugar and salt if you like then pour into chilled glasses and serve.

Beet Juice

The beet will help cleanse the digestive system, the pear is a great source of fiber and the spinach is rich in antioxidants.

1 beet; trimmed, peeled and chopped

1 pear, cored and chopped

½ cup fresh spinach leaves, tightly packed

Place the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process. You may need to add a little bit of water for a smoother consistency. Pour it into a glass and serve.

Energizer

Not everyone likes ginger but it's very beneficial in boosting the immune system and it is scientifically proven to help speed up the healing process with bacterial infections among so many other health benefits.

½ cup carrot juice

2 tomatoes; skinned, deseeded and coarsely chopped

½ tablespoon lemon juice

1 pinch of fresh parsley

½ tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot

3 ice cubes

¼ cup water

Put the carrot juice, tomatoes and lemon juice into a food processor or blender and process gently until well combined. Add the parsley to the food processor along with the ginger and ice. Process them until well combined. Lastly add the water to the mixture and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a glass and serve.