It’s that time of year again. The days are getting shorter, it is getting colder, we are transitioning into the Fall and Winter season.
We often tend to hang on to our summer schedule and habits almost like we are in denial that the cooler weather is coming.
Fall is a time to release Summer and let go
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It’s a time to really pay close attention to your body and adjust accordingly. We must embrace the change and transition ourselves to prepare for the colder months ahead.
This means packing up the flip flops and leaving the peaches and plums behind for boots, butternut squash and soups.
The beginning of flu season
Unfortunately, with the colder months ahead this also means cold and flu season is upon us. Those germs are in full swing already. The kids are missing school, people are coughing and sneezing.
It is time to take extra care and wash hands, drink plenty of water, eat whole healthy foods and get your sleep. We must all take preventive measures to do our best to protect ourselves during cold and flu season.
Did you know that you can add immune boosting foods to your meals?
Wondering what immune boosting foods you can include in your diet? Today is your lucky day!
Here are some of my favorite immune boosting foods I add to meals to keep my family healthy.
– Loaded with nutrients and a great source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A which helps to protect cells from viruses.
I add carrots to salad, serve as a snack, make spicy carrot soup, add them to a fresh pressed juice or roast them in the oven.
– Full of fiber which promotes healthy digestion, rich in vitamin E which promotes healthy skin and are also have a great source of beta-carotene.
Baked sweet potatoes are easy to make or if you are short on time try mashed sweet potatoes. A personal favorite of mind is homemade sweet potatoes fries which are a great addition to any everyday meal.
-Contains many nutrients that protect your body from damage. It is rich in vitamin C which is vital for the immune system. Broccoli also is full of vitamin B which promotes a healthy immune system and nervous system health. Broccoli is full of fiber necessary for a healthy digestive tract and has many detoxifying properties to cleanse the liver.
I serve broccoli as an appetizer with some dill dip, a side for dinner, or part of the main course served over brown rice or quinoa with tossed with Tamari sauce, ginger, garlic and chicken. Check out this awesome recipe!
– Loaded with anti-carcinogenic properties. It contains many different vitamins to promote a healthy immune system as well as folate which helps the body make new cells and repair DNA. To ensure all the vitamins and minerals are consumed when eaten make sure you serve it raw or slightly cooked to preserve nutrients.
An easy way to consume spinach is to add 2 handfuls to a smoothie. It is undetectable even to the kids and a great way to make sure you get the vital nutrients you need.
– Lemon, lime, oranges and grapefruits are loaded with vitamin C to promote a healthy immune system.
Add lemon or lime to your water for a refreshing taste. Incorporate a half of grapefruit with your breakfast. Have an orange for a snack or add a few pieces into a salad.
– Rich in probiotics and help protect the digestive and immune systems. Fermented vegetables have enzymes and good bacteria that promote healthy digestion and strengthen immunity.
Some fermented foods to check out are kefir, yogurt with live active cultures avoid sugar, fermented tofu, tempeh, miso, pickled beets and sauerkraut.
Beneficial Herbs and Spices
– An antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal all vital for a healthy immune system. Garlic is an easy one to incorporate into your diet everyday.
To get the maximum health benefits from garlic crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. By doing this you will activate an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds. Garlic can be added to foods for extra seasoning or toss into a salad.
– Helps the body detoxify and has powerful antiseptic properties. Add ginger to hot water and sip, add it to a fresh pressed juice or you can use it in cooking to flavor food.
– Great for boosting the immune system because of its high antioxidants and it also is useful for easing inflammation. Add it as a seasoning to food, put in a smoothie or add to hot water and drink as a tea.
– A powerful immune booster with antimicrobial properties. Cinnamon naturally fights pathogens that cause illness. Sprinkle over oatmeal, toast, add to a smoothie or mix with honey and eat.
– An all time favorite of mine. Classified as a “superfood” the camu berry is one of the top sources of vitamin C. Camu powder is made from the camu berry which is rich in antioxidants and powerful phytochemicals.
Typically this can be found at your local health food store. I use this on an as needed basis by adding a teaspoon to my smoothie.
– Another immune boosting staple to keep on hand. According to a study done in 2011, Manuka honey stops the growth of sore throat-causing Strep bacteria.
This honey has a unique taste and can be taken directly off the spoon, added to tea or drizzled on yogurt. Manuka honey contains antimicrobial and antiviral properties that can strengthen the immune system.
Note: Not all Manuka honey is created equal. Make sure you are using active Manuka honey that has a UMF rating of at least 10 or above.
I hope this article inspires you to incorporate healthy immune boosting foods into you diet. While eating lots of fruit and vegetables is important remember to stay away from coughing sneezing people when possible, wash your hands frequently, exercise and make sure to get enough sleep.
Listen to your body and if you feel run down or like you maybe getting sick give yourself some downtime to recharge.
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Ratini, Melinda, DO,MS. “Immune-Boosting Foods: Berries, Oysters, & More in Pictures.” WebMD. WebMD, 27 July 2015. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
Mercola, Dr .. “Top 12 Healthy Foods for Better Immune System.” Mercola.com. Mercola.com, 8 Dec. 2009. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
Maddocks, Sarah E., Marta Salinas Lopez, Richard S. Rowlands, and Rose A. Cooper. “Microbiology Society Journals | Microbiology.”