7 Foods That Boost Your Immunity and Energy & Get You Ready for Flu Season!

7 Foods That Boost Your Immunity and Energy & Get You Ready for Flu Season! Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.” The human body is a wondrous organism and left to its own devices will heal itself. We have all heard the old wives tale about how an apple a day with keeps the doctor away. While eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking 8 glasses of water, and getting adequate sleep is essential to a healthy diet and lifestyle, there are also several power foods that we can add to our diets to boost our immunity during periods of high stress or during the cold winter months when we are feeling run down and getting sick.

Drink green tea daily. Start off your day with a cup of hot, steaming green tea. Green tea is not only known for its anti-aging and antibacterial qualities but it also has a reputation for fighting cancer, combating allergies, and lowering blood pressure. Additionally, green tea is high in the amino-acid, L-theanine, which boosts immunity. In a Harvard study, people who drank 5 cups of green tea per day had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than others who had a placebo drink. In the winter, my favorite combination is green kombucha tea with steamed vanilla rice milk and/or vanilla soy creamer. In the summer, I make an addictive iced Green Tea Latte (see recipe below.)

Have a hot steaming bowl of oats, barley or quinoa. These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities more potent than Echinacea according to a Norwegian study. In humans these antioxidants boost immunity, speed wound healing, and may help antibiotics work better. In the morning, I prepare one of these hot grains with raisons and add honey, rice or soy milk and top it with berries, bananas, coconut, walnuts or whatever strikes my fancy. I like to also add a little flax seed oil or sprinkle some flax seed meal on top for some extra Omega 3s!(Click here to read more about Omega 3s). This is a great treat to serve your children in the morning- I serve all the toppings in small bowls and they love to make their own mixtures! For lunch, prepare a nutrient-rich Quinoa Salad (see recipe below).

Eat a cup of yogurt or kefir a day. Yogurt contains probiotics, live active cultures that keep your stomach and intestines free of disease-causing bacteria and boost bacteria beneficial to digestion. Yogurts are not all created equal! Many commercial brands are just glorified gelatin with lots of sugar. Make sure you buy a brand that contains live-active cultures and one with natural sweeteners such as honey. Stoneyfield and Brown Cow are my favorites, and contain Lactobacillus reuteri, a specific bacterium that appears to stimulate white blood cells according to a Swedish study. Kefir is higher in the beneficial bacteria so is even better than yogurt. For those who do not eat dairy products, I recommend taking a supplement every day. (Click here to learn more about Probiotics and how you can add them to your diet.)

Add garlic to your pasta, soups and other meals. The Italians had it right all along! Garlic contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. In a British study, garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold. Studies also show that eating 6 cloves of garlic a week lowers your risk for colorectal and stomach cancer by 30-50% respectively. To top it off, garlic also helps detoxify your liver. Slather your bread with olive oil and garlic, put garlic in soups and pastas, and work to add more garlic to your diet.

Eat shellfish or fish rich in Omega-3’s two to three times a week. Shellfish such as oysters, lobsters, crabs and clams contain selenium, which helps white blood cells produce proteins called cytokines that help clear flu viruses out of the body. Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring sardines and trout are rich in Omega 3’s (click here to learn more about Omega 3s), which help reduce inflammation in the lungs and prevent flu and infection.

Eat chicken soup if you are feeling run down or sick. There is a reason that across cultures this is recommended! In a University of Nebraska study researchers found that the amino acid cysteine released from the chicken when cooking closely resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine and blocks the migration of inflammatory white cells. The salty broth keeps mucus thin, and spices such as garlic and onions increase the soup’s immune-boosting power.

Eat Chocolate
Many of us shy away from eating chocolate because we have been told that eating chocolate will make us gain weight or cause our face to break out. Feel guilty no more! Pure dark chocolate is nature’s miracle food. Chocolate contains the photonutrients flavonol and polyphenol that are natural antioxidants. Chocolate can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes and dementia, balance brain chemistry, help build strong bones, help prevent cancerous activity and, last but not least, help with weight loss. On top of all that, it is a natural aphrodisiac and boosts our mood and energy! Before you reach for that Hershey’s milk chocolate bar there are some caveats. All chocolate is not created equal! Milk chocolate contains lots of sugar and many commercial brands are just candy disguised as chocolate. Look for bars that have a chocolate content of 60% or more and free of added saturated fats and sugars. Green and Black makes a delicious one but experiment and see which brand you like best!

Iced Green Tea Latte

Green tea powder
Vanilla Almond Milk by Almond Breeze
Vanilla Soy Creamer by Silk Milk

Mix 1 tblsp of the green tea powder with1/4-1/2 cups of hot water and let steep. Fill the remaining portion of your glass with almond milk and soy creamer. Add ice and enjoy!

Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 carrot
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
1 scallion
Olive oil
Sea Salt
Raw spinach leaves or mesclun salad

Place 1 cup of dry quinoa into a pot of 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until done. Dice vegetables and place aside. In a large bowl, add the quinoa and diced vegetables and then liberally cover in olive oil. Toss ingredients together then add dash of sea salt. Place the quinoa salad over your favorite greens and add a handful of either walnuts or pecans to the top for a perfectly balanced meal!

1 Comment

  • Lawrence
    July 30th, 2014 at 3:08 am

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    ñïñ çà èíôó….



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