In case you haven’t heard the news, we are experiencing a viral pandemic that is only predicted to get worse in the next couple of weeks. Although this is a scary time, it is also a great time to reevaluate what we are eating so we can stay as healthy as possible.
I want to say that although I fully believe that what we eat can have a profound impact on our health, I am not saying that food can fully protect you from the Corona Virus. This is a powerful illness and we need to be at our strongest. That said, we can keep our immune system strong and healthy in the chance that we do contract an illness. Here are five ways we can start to eat better today to protect your health and stay healthy.
Eat Tons of Greens
With almost no calories, and FULL of nutrients such as vitamin A and C (two vitamins known to support the immune system), a whole host of phytonutrients, essential minerals and fiber, leafy greens, such as kale, Swiss chard, collard greens or arugula help draw out toxins from our bodies, have anticancer benefits, anti-inflammatory benefits and help with stress. If you had to eat one vegetable to stay healthy right now, choose dark leafy green daily. Right now I can’t get enough of my Hearty Kale and Apple Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing.
Fortify with Citrus Fruits
Tons of vitamin C provide amazing immune support and antioxidant protection. I eat an orange every day (especially since they are so in season right now), use lemon juice in my salad dressings and limes for extra punch in dressings, like this Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Add Onions and Garlic
The onion family includes leeks, shallots, red onion, yellow onion and chives and, along with garlic, contain the compound allicin. This essential nutrient is known to support immune health and ward off illnesses. It’s so easy to add onions in garlic in dishes like soups and stews. Make my Hearty Chicken Soup with Barley and Kale and ward off any sickness (also has that all important kale).
Herbs and Spices Everyday
You’ve heard me say this before, herbs and spices are true gifts from nature. They not only make our food taste great but they are so good for you. They add anticancer and anti-inflammatory benefits that can keep us strong this season. I add cinnamon and cardamon to my oatmeal in the morning, make pestos out of basil, parsley or cilantro, add herbs and spices to soups. I love my Turmeric Ginger Milk as a potent yet warming drink, especially when you are not feeling well.
Yogurt and Other Living Foods
Yogurt, and foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso or kombucha contain living bacteria that helps feed our intestines. We need a strong gut to keep or immune system strong so I eat some form of living foods everyday to help feed good bacteria. Try my Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Cilantro Lime Dressing, made with yogurt, fresh herbs and beneficial citrus.
Here is one key, non-food ways that are critical right now to keep your immune system strong:
Get Enough Sleep! My sleep is everything to me. Not getting enough sleep effects my energy, my stress, my appetite/hunger, my food cravings, and most important a good nights sleep is vital for a strong immune system and health. There is no badge of honor in submitting on 4 hours of sleep a night. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of good quality sleep.
I hope that the Corona virus does not get any worse than it is right now but take the important first steps by staying strong with the foods you choose.