Good Wellness Wednesday,
I hope you are all safe and well. I am believing for God’s hand to rest upon us in America and beyond and I know we will get through this unique season.
As we are all facing the threat of COVID-19, I want to offer some nutritional advice that will help keep you healthy and your body strong through this season and beyond. In all honesty, this will help with the flu season and for boosting our immune system to stave off illnesses throughout the year. We will focus on the importance of antioxidants and vitamins. Increasing our consumption of antioxidant rich foods and herbs is important to our overall health and helps our body fight free radicals as well as strengthens our immune system.
With a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, we can be sure we are getting enough antioxidants to help counteract all the toxins that are inhaled or absorbed through the skin on a daily basis. Environmental toxins and pollutants, preservatives and food additives increase free radical production, thus puts our body at risk for many diseases and ailments. That’s where antioxidants and essential vitamins are a life saver.
My favorite food sources with a high value of antioxidants and vitamin C are as follows:
- Cherries-There are many varieties of cherries to choose from, and all have antioxidants. Tart cherry is the richest in antioxidants. Queritrin is found in cherries, which is a potent anticancer agent. Isoqueritrin is another antioxidant found in cherries helping to slow down the aging process. Tart cherries are rich in anthocyanins, reducing inflammation. Cherries also contain melatonin, an antioxidant important to promoting regular sleep cycles. They have almost as much antioxidant power as blueberries. Cherries are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium and fiber, and tart cherry contains a high amount of vitamin A. They are great in smoothies, fresh juices, muffins and dried for granola or trail mix. Also great as a snack, fresh!!
- Cacao Nibs/powder– Cacao is chocolate in its purest form, before any additives and processing occurs. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Cacao has high amounts of magnesium and iron, polyphenols and flavonols. It has a nutty, slightly bitter taste. Cacao nibs have been said to improve mood, as they act on neurotransmitters in our brain. Add them to cookies in place of chocolate chips, in smoothies, muffins, and other desserts. I love the nibs (from the cacao bean) in my protein bites or trail mix.
- Berries– Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are all powerhouses. Blueberries have the highest antioxidant content of all the berries. Berries are great for heart health, brain health and fighting cancer. They have high levels of vitamin C and contain querticin and anthocyanidin, potent antioxidants. Put this together, and you get a powerful immune boosting fruit. Frozen berries are great to snack on, stir in oatmeal or breakfast cereals, throw in smoothies or muffins, top waffles or pancakes, or mix into Greek yogurt.
- Matcha Green Tea Powder– Rich in anthocyanins and pro-anthocyanins, which help to fight inflammation, and catechins, another antioxidant for blocking cell damage leading to cancer. Matcha has a grassy, earthy taste. I enjoy Matcha Latte’s with a little honey and almond milk. Green tea has been used for years for preventing cancer and improving cardiovascular health. It is also great for boosting our immune systems.
- Kale and Leafy Greens– Kale can be used in salads, juices, soups, smoothies, baked or dried. My favorite variety is purple kale. You can sauté for a less bitter taste with some garlic, or massage it with your favorite dressing for a raw salad. It’s rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, Vitamins A, E and C. It boasts luetin and quercetin, strong antioxidants. Don’t just stop there, leafy green vegetables are all high in antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. Many have cancer-fighting properties, including kale and include higher amounts of vitamin C.
- Garlic – Small but mighty!! Garlic is a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. It can be used to help treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and many types of cancers. It is rich in Vitamin C, thus great for boosting our immune system and easing symptoms of the common cold. Garlic is high in antioxidants as well, with many healing properties. I suggest eating 1 clove a day if you experience cold or flu like symptoms.
Next, lets go over some common herbs that are great in boosting our immune system. Remember a strong immune system gives us the power to fight off many diseases and/or ailments, and makes it hard for the common cold or flu to take root in our bodies.
- Echinacea – A powerful immune booster!! You can take as a supplement or drink as a tea.
- Ginger – Has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, help to kill harmful bacteria’s in our bodies. Ginger tea is great for fighting the common cold and cold/flu like symptoms.
- Elderberry – This little berry and it’s leaves are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that boost your immune system, tame inflammation and lower stress. Elderberry extract or pills are widely used for treating cold and flu like symptoms. I take elderberry regularly through the cold and flu season, which has helped keep the cold and flu at bay. Elderberry extract is the best, as it is richer in and more easily absorbed by the body.
- Olive Leaf – Olive leaf boosts many benefits and properties. It gastroprotective (protecting digestive system), neuroprotective (protecting the central nervous system), antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anticancer (reducing risk of cancer), anti-inflammatory (reduces risk of inflammation), and an antioxidant (prevents oxidative or cell damage. It is great at strengthening our immune system, making it another great addition to our daily routine throughout the year. I take it regularly during the cold and flu season. My favorite brand is Barleans for olive leaf extract or supplements.
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Fit