March 19, 2021

Food Choices to Fuel Your Immunity

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'You are what you eat.' 'Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.' You've likely heard these quotes before. Have you ever stopped to fully understand their meaning? Every mealtime is an opportunity to build up your health. Your food choices can make or break your immune system. Are you making the best nutritional food choices to fuel your immunity? Remember . . . you are what you eat. There are factors in specific plants that benefit that plants' immune system. Choose those! Here's how you can make your food choices count towards optimizing your immune system. Eat the colors of the rainbow. Choose to eat whole foods, not extracts or supplements. And for produce, choose organic whenever possible. This will decrease the potential load of pesticides your body needs to deal with. Berries come in a variety of colors. They're great little immune-boosting powerhouses, full of antioxidants. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are usually available year-round. Other less common berries can kick-start your immunity. These include elderberries, acai, goji berries, kiwi berries, and cranberries. Vitamin C foods are often touted as the best choice to help you fight off infections. We all know about the citrus fruit family and its high vitamin C content. There are other lesser-known sources of vitamin C, too. These sources also pack a punch of vitamin C.

● Broccoli
● cantaloupe
● cauliflower
● kale
● kiwi
● papaya
● red, green or yellow peppers
● sweet potatoes
● strawberries
● tomatoes

Mushrooms have been recommended for immune health since ancient times. There are many edible mushroom species worldwide. Even so, white button mushrooms (WBM) account for about 90% of mushrooms consumed in the US. The Journal of Nutrition recently published data about WBM and immunity. The results show WBM help create more efficient surveillance and defensive immune function. Bottom line: eat more mushrooms! (Below is the link to that article) https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/138/3/544/4670247#163370434

Green leafy vegetables and cruciferous veggies like broccoli support your immune system. The green leafy vegetables contain compounds that balance your gut bacteria in favor of the good guys. Broccoli contains proteins that help turn on specific immunology-promoting genes. These genes control production of a specific type of immunological cell--innate lymphoid cells.

Your mom was right--keep eating your green veggies if you want to be healthy!

Garlic and ginger are two ingredients that reportedly give a lift to your immune system. Various studies have shown them to be anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. Try to cook more recipes with these flavor enhancers and you might be helping ward off some germs, too

Who hasn’t heard about eating chicken soup when you’re sick? No one has definitively pinpointed the way chicken soup helps when you're fighting a cold. However, in one study, chicken soup has been shown to inhibit the movement of one type of white blood cell. These cells, neutrophils, appear early in an upper respiratory infection. Neutrophils may be responsible for some of the early symptoms of colds and flu germs. By inhibiting the movement of neutrophils, the inflammatory response is not as intense. That makes the upper respiratory symptoms diminish and you feel better.

Whether there's proof or not, if you feel better when you're sick or you just like the taste, eat the chicken soup! And remember, let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food!


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