Cold and Flu-Fighting Foods

Cold and Flu-Fighting Foods

We all know a balanced/varied/colorful diet, frequent hand-washing, sufficient sleep, regular exercise, a flu shot, and maybe a supplement (since it’s hard to eat perfect every day) are the best means of warding off sickness.  Whether it’s the dead of winter, and your whole family has the flu, or you just want to shorten that lingering summer cold, there ARE specific nutrients that help fight illnesses.  Incorporate the below in your diet on a regular basis to keep your immune system strong all year long OR increase intake when your need to put up your best fight.  These items will ultimately be more effective than many over-the-counter medicines! 

Celtic Sea Salt
This particular salt is harvested from the Atlantic seawater off the coast of Brittany, France.  It is unrefined and contains no chemicals, preservatives or additives.  It provides electrolytes, which are especially important for fluid balance when you aren’t feeling well and thus not eating and drinking adequately.  Use Celtic salt instead of your current shaker in everyday cooking or seasoning.  (Remember to go easy on the sodium if you have high blood pressure or heart disease. If you work out and sweat a lot, you may need to add more sodium to your diet.   Always check with your doctor or Registered Dietitian for your personal needs.)

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
This was traditionally used as a disinfectant.  It is now found in both the condiment and health supplement aisles of the supermarket.  Acids in ACV can improve digestion and deter growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract.   Add 1-2 Tbsp to hot water or tea or use in salad dressing.

 Vitamin C
This is necessary for growth and repair of tissue in all parts of the body.   Lemons are a great source.  They help fortify against infection, and have some anti-inflammatory effects as well.  Grapefruits, oranges, dark leafy greens, strawberries, and red bell peppers also have a high content of this nutrient.

Cinnamon
This aromatic spice is surprisingly a good source of fiber, iron, and calcium.  It is rich in antioxidants:  One teaspoon contains as much antioxidants as a full cup of pomegranate juice or a half cup of blueberries.   Cinnamon acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, and it has antimicrobial activity to fight infection. 

Honey
This soothes a sore throat and may alleviate nighttime coughing as well as over-the-counter cough medicine.

 Probiotics
Supplements (ask me to help recommend one for you!) and rich food sources (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut) both improve gut health AND decrease the incidence of upper respiratory infections. 

Chicken Soup
Not only does this bowl of hot liquid hydrate and soothe an achy throat, it warms airways, thus loosening mucus to help alleviate coughs and stuffed noses.  The protein from the chicken helps build antibodies to that fight infection.   Its amino acid cysteine thins mucus as well to decrease symptoms.

 Tumeric
This spice is high in anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory and helps rid the body of toxins.

Garlic and Onion
The active component in garlic called allicin has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.  It also improves healthy gut bacteria.  Onions also contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.

Teas
As mentioned above, hot liquids help hydrate a sick body and ease a sore throat, sneezing, chills, and fatigue.  All teas (white, green, black) contain catechins, antioxidants that have been show to decrease the chance of catching the flu and boost overall immunity and metabolism.  Adding one cup of chopped anise seeds or 1.5 tsp of fennel seeds to hot water for tea can help alleviate coughs and congestion due to the natural expectorant effects of both types of seeds.  Chamomile and ginger teas can ease stomach discomfort and inflammation.

Putting it all together
To pack the most punch, try these combinations:
-Chicken soup made with garlic, onion, turmeric, kale, and bell peppers
-Hot green tea with 1 tbsp AVC, 1 tbsp honey, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dash of cinnamon

Feel better soon!!

 

 

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Healthy Foods For Super Summer Skin

Healthy Foods For Super Summer Skin

Along with hot, sunny weather, summer also means increased sweat, salty ocean water, pool chlorine, and tans and sunburns – which all take a toll on your skin and should be solved with the effectiveness of cream you use. However, the seasonal foods we love to eat can also help rechiverse the damage and nourish your skin! Try incorporating these foods into your summer meals and snacks:

Water: Water is essential for your skin, digestion, metabolism, hormones, and all of your body’s other systems. It maintains hydration for moist, plump, and blemish-free skin. As a digestive aid, it rids the body of toxins, waste, and impurities while supporting regularity. For a refreshing summer drink, add cucumber and mint or strawberries and citrus fruits to a pitcher of water and keep it refrigerated or in a cooler.

Protein: Protein builds and repairs tissue, and is essential to skin, hormones, enzymes, and the immune system. Your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes protect against oxidative stress. Nuts, seeds, Greek yogurt, turkey slices, low fat cottage cheese, fish, chicken, and lean chicken, turkey, and beef burgers are all great sources of protein.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Foods high in monounsaturated fats, like extra-virgin olive oil, fish oil (omega-3’s, or EPA and DHA), avocado, tarVsour cherries, and blueberries, decrease and prevent inflammation. Avoid saturated and trans fats (found in fried and processed foods) and refined sugars, which increase inflammation.

Lycopene: A Vitamin A precursor, this cartenoid has been shown to decrease UV damage, inflammation, and oxidative stress. It’s highly concentrated in tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and guava, and is most bioavailable in heat­processed or oil-based tomato products like canned tomato juice, tomato paste, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Cocoa/Chocolate: Cocoa contains flavonoids, which act as antioxidants and can improve skin quality, according to research. Flavonoids increase blood flow and skin oxygen saturation while smoothing skin texture.

Antioxidants: Vitamin C is found in oranges, broccoli, bell peppers, strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit, and other fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, spinach, and papaya. Polyphenols are found in green tea, grape seeds, and pomegranate. These skin antioxidants all fight against free radicals, increase sunscreen efficacy, and help protect skin from UV light and free radical damage.

FATS

AVOCADO High in Vitamin E for anti-aging; antioxidants promote clear, glowing skin and healthy hair
OLIVE OIL Healthy fat is anti-inflammatory, promotes healthy skin, and protects against UV rays
ALMONDS High in Vitamin[, and protect against UV rays and free radical cell damage
BRAZIL NUTS One nut meets 100% daily selenium, protects against skin stress, and can improve acne
OMEGA-3s Anti-inflammatory for skin health; found in fatty fish like Salmon
COCONUT OIL High in Vitamin E and antioxidants for great skin and hair; improves digestion and metabolism

FRUITS & VEGGIES

BERRIES High in Vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber
TOMATOES High in lycopene, decreases UV damage and inflammation; most bioavailable with added oil
CARROTS High in antioxidants like beta carotene (a Vitamin A precursor)
CELERY High in water content and fiber to aid in digestion and help keep you full for weight loss
CUCUMBER High in water; anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits
POMEGRANATE Contains polyphenols, anti-aging skin antioxidants that improve sunscreen efficacy
PINK GRAPEFRUIT High in Vitamin A, carotene, lycopene, and Vitamin C; can help with weight loss and increase metabolism
WATERMELON High in water content, lycopene, Vitamin C, and potassium
RED PEPPERS More Vitamin C than citrus fruits and high in fiber; great for digestion and the skin

Summer Yogurt Parfait

This recipe makes a delicious breakfast, lunch, or even a healthy snack. It’s packed with protein, antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber – sweet, satisfying, fill in , and most important, super for skin!

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz plain yogurt (Greek or coconut)
  • 1/4 cup blueberries and 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds or walnuts
  • 1 tbsp apple butter or all natural (no sugar added) fruit preserves

Add yogurt to a small bowl or cup. Layer and/or arrange the remaining ingredients, mix as desired, and enjoy!

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