Color Color Color!
We’re entering that time of year again- cold and flu season. Did you know that your best defense is whole real food full of Mother Earth’s goodness. These foods are what your body knows how to use as medicine. One of the best ways to stay healthy is by choosing an array of foods to boost your immune system. Eating healthy, antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is an important part of maintaining good immune system health to help ward off infection and illness. While no one food is a silver bullet for optimal immune system function, here are some superstar foods that you should include in your diet, especially when heading into cold and flu season.
Here is what Very Well Family has to say about superfoods for immunity:
Various studies have shown that garlic has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It has been shown to stimulate the production of white blood cells and can act as an antioxidant in the body.
Mushrooms may be a potent weapon in warding off colds, flu, and other infections. Studies on animals have shown that mushrooms such as Shiitake, maitake, and reishi have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor effects.
Carotenoids such as beta-carotene are important antioxidants that aid in immune system function. Carotenoids are present in bright yellow, orange and green vegetables. It’s important to get a variety of vegetables of different colors because various types of carotenoids are thought to work together to strengthen the body’s immune system.
“Colors are the calling card for carotenoids,” says Dr. Katz. “You want to try to develop a portfolio — get as much of a variety of colors as you can.”
These protein-packed powerhouses of vitamins and minerals are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, and zinc. Studies have shown a link between eating nuts and health benefits such as lower risk of chronic disease.
Berries are rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids, phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables that may work as antioxidants and prevent injury to cells. One cup of strawberries contains as much as 100 mg of Vitamin C, which is nearly as much as a cup of orange juice. Dark berries such as blueberries are especially high in bioflavonoids. For an optimal immune system boosting effect, eat a bowl of mixed berries rather than just one type.
Omega 3 fatty acids and other healthy fats help increase the activity of white blood cells. They may also play an important role in the production of compounds that regulate immunity in the body and help protect the body from damage from over-reacting to infections. “Omega 3 fatty acids are immune modulators,” says Dr. Katz.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing fish: Pregnant women and young children should avoid high mercury fishes like King Mackerel, Tilefish, Shark, and Swordfish. See the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Food and Drug Administration fact sheet about mercury in fish.
“Kids, like adults, are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids,” says Dr. Katz. The best way to get omega 3 fatty acids is by eating fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Another good source is krill oil capsules. Other sources of omega 3 fatty acid: Flax seeds, flax oil, and walnuts.
Here’s some happy news for chocolate lovers everywhere: Cocoa is an immune-boosting food. “Cocoa is a concentrated antioxidant,” says Dr. Katz. As long as you keep the sugar and fat to a minimum, unsweetened cocoa, and cocoa powder may play a role in immune system health. Studies have shown that regular consumption of cocoa may reduce heart disease risk, help raise good cholesterol, and possibly reverse blood vessel damage in people with diabetes.
Remember to access “The Dirty Dozen” at EWG.org for fruits and vegetables that are high in pesticides and herbicides. These are recommended to be organic as well as chocolate.
Happy Healthy Eating!
Nothing is cuter than a snow white bunny. What does every snow white bunny need to complete its ensemble?
Carrots! Carrots! Carrots!
The carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) is a root vegetable, usually orange in color, though purple, black, red, white, and yellow varieties exist. Carrots are a domesticated form of the wild carrot, Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia. The plant probably originated in Persia and originally cultivated for its leaves and seeds. The most commonly eaten part of the plant is the taproot, although the greens are sometimes eaten as well.
The health benefits of carrots include reduced cholesterol, prevention from heart attacks, warding off of certain cancers, and reducing the signs of premature aging. Furthermore, carrots have the ability to increase the health of your skin, boost the immune system, improve digestion, increase cardiovascular health, detoxify the body, and boost oral health in a variety of ways. Watch for the newsflash below!
The roots contain high quantities of alpha- and beta-carotene, and are a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6, but the belief that eating carrots improves night vision is a myth put forward by the British in World War II to mislead the enemy about their military capabilities. But note: studies show they can improve macular degeneration.
Most of the benefits of carrots can be attributed to their beta-carotene and fiber content. This root vegetable is also a good source of antioxidant agents. Furthermore, carrots are rich in vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese. Carrots contain just 44 calories per 100gm.
Blood Pressure: Next time you start getting riled up about something and your blood begins to boil, eat a carrot! Carrots are rich sources of potassium, which is a vasodilator and can relax the tension in your blood vessels and arteries, thereby increasing blood flow and circulation, boosting organ function throughout the body and reducing the stress on the cardiovascular system. High blood pressure is also directly linked to atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks, so this is yet another heart-healthy aspect of carrots! The coumarin found in carrots also has been linked to reducing hypertension and protecting your heart health. Little heart helpers- these guys are amazing!
Immune Booster: Carrots contain a number of antiseptic and antibacterial abilities that make it ideal for boosting the immune system. Not only that, carrots are a rich source of vitamin C, which stimulates the activity of white blood cells and is one of the most important elements in the human immune system.
Digestion: Carrots, like most vegetables, have significant amounts of dietary fiber in those orange roots, and fiber is one of the most important elements in maintaining good digestive health. Fiber adds bulk to stool, which helps it to pass smoothly through the digestive tract, and it also stimulates peristaltic motion and the secretion of gastric juices. Altogether, this reduces the severity of conditions like constipation and protects your colon and stomach from various serious illnesses, including colorectal cancer. Fiber also boosts heart health by helping to eliminate excess LDL cholesterol from the walls of arteries and blood vessels.
Prevents Cancer: Beta-carotene consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of several cancers, notably lung cancer. British researchers discovered that increasing beta-carotene consumption from 1.7 to 2.7 milligrams per day reduced lung cancer risk by more than 40 percent. The average carrot contains about three milligrams of beta-carotene.
Stroke: Eating a carrot every day reduces the risk of stroke. Many studies have strengthened the belief in the “carrot effect” on the brain. Studies conducted on stroke patients revealed that those with highest levels of beta-carotene had the highest survival rate. Go brain juice!
Diabetes: Carrots are good for blood sugar regulation due to the presence of carotenoids in this delicious vegetable. Carotenoids inversely affect insulin resistance and thus lower blood sugar, thereby helping diabetic patients live a normal, healthy life. They also regulate the amount of insulin and glucose that is being used and metabolized by the body, providing a more even and healthy fluctuation for diabetic patients.
I could spend days talking about the attributes of the carrot but the most important reason to eat them?
They taste great, are pretty to look at and if bunnies like them they have to be amazing!
Happy Healthy Eating!
My name is Dana Farrell and I love talking about health and wellness! I have all kinds of crazy information in my head just dying to get out. The big question is- who am I? I have been a Registered Nurse for 31 years. I am also a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a Yoga Instructor. I love everything about the human body and how it functions from the crown of your head to the tip of your toes! I really want you to love it too, so every week I am going to bring you new and exciting information hot off the press! Your friends and family will be amazed and speechless when you share what you’ve learned. The best news- you are going to embark on a health and wellness journey that is fun, informative and perfect for you. Follow my blog and see!