Guest blog by Jamie Lloyd
Ok, as we approach the middle of the summer, many of us will still struggle with trying to keep up with the kids or have congested sinuses and suffer from hayfever.
Staying well while those around you sniffle and sneeze requires that you extract as much nutrition from your diet as you can, loading up on the foods that pack the biggest nutritional punch.
Avoiding processed foods, grains and sugar will go a long way toward strengthening your immune system. However, you can do even more by selecting foods that are loaded with specific immune-boosting nutrients.
Eating a diet rich in the following foods will be far better for your health than loading up on handfuls of supplements, or worse yet, falling victim to vaccines that expose you to health risks far worse than influenza or hayfever.
Below, I have outlined what I consider to be the absolute best foods you can eat to help protect yourself this season, although the list is certainly not exhaustive.
As foods go, chlorella is nearly perfect.
Chlorella is a single-cell freshwater algae that acts as an efficient detoxification agent by binding to toxins, such as mercury and carries them out of your system.
It is the chlorophyll in chlorella that makes it so powerful. Chlorophyll helps you process more oxygen, cleanses your blood and promotes the growth and repair of your tissues. It's also full of B12 so it's a great energy booster and great for a pre or post exercise energiser!
2. Drink Tulsi Tea
Tulsi tea, coming from the holy basil herb, has been used for thousands of years in the Ayurvedic medicine of India. Not only is this tea loaded with antioxidants but it has multiple positive health benefits, including supporting your immune health, memory, heart health and vision.
3. Eat Local Home Grown Fruit and Veg
When it comes to fighting off pathogens, you simply can't do any better than eating a variety of fresh, organic and preferably raw vegetables for the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes they contain.
However, in my opinion, the best source is from your local farm shop where you know exactly where the food is grown!
So make sure the veggies you choose are fresh. The nutrient value drops to practically zero once a fruit or vegetable is canned.
4. Blueberries and Raspberries
Blueberries and raspberries rate very high in antioxidant capacity compared to other fruits and vegetables. Wild blueberries in particular are potent immune boosters. They contain powerful phytochemicals, such as anthocyanin, which is the pigment that gives blueberries their colour. And they are lower in sugar than many other fruits.
5. Eat More Cruciferous Vegetables
Cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are all cruciferous vegetables, which means they’re not only rich in antioxidant vitamins that give an immune system boost, but they also contain choline, a nutrient essential to a healthy diet. Choline keeps your cells functioning properly and also helps support a healthy gastrointestinal barrier, keeping bacteria safely confined in the gut.
Cauliflower, in particular, is a beneficial food to eat when you’re sick because it’s also rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off infection. Dip raw cauliflower florets in low-fat yogurt, drizzle them with vinaigrette, or add them to your favourite vegetable soup recipe.
Cinnamon is an antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial machine, so it does more than just boost the immune system — it actually fights the pathogens that cause illness.
Cinnamon is extremely versatile, making it easy to add to your everyday diet. You can mix it into your coffee grinds for an immunity-fighting brew, add it to tea, sprinkle it on porridge stir it into hot chocolate, or dust it onto fresh fruit. It also stabilizes your blood sugar levels so stops you from having a dip in every.
When you’re thinking about a healthy diet, mushrooms may not be the first thing to come to mind, but they’re a major source of the immune system-boosting mineral, zinc.
People who don’t have enough zinc in their diet tend to have fewer white blood cells to help fight off disease, which can lead to a reduced immune response. Start thinking of mushrooms as a great immune-boosting food.
A grilled, beefy-tasting portabella makes a great burger substitute. Sauté shiitakes with Lucy Bee Coconut Oil and apple cider vinegar and drizzled with Braggs Aminos (a healthy soy sauce) yum! Great as a side dish.
Greens such as kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are immune-boosting foods that contain high levels of vitamin C, which not only packs a powerful antioxidant punch, it helps fight off infection and regenerate other antioxidants in the body, including vitamin E. They also contain folate, another immune booster.
Sauté kale, spinach, or Swiss chard with garlic and Lucy Bee Coconut Oil, or use fresh spinach to make a nutrient-rich salad — top it with fresh mushrooms to pack an extra immune-boosting punch. Kale also contains high levels of B12 so it's great for increasing energy!
Try making some fresh Kale Juice!
9. Take Apple Cider Vinegar Daily
Apple Cider Vinegar will balance your entire inner body system.
The body constantly strives to achieve a state of equilibrium. Apple cider vinegar helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level.
Research shows that higher acid levels (lower pH level) leads to a lack of energy and higher incidences of infection. Hence, my desire to sip some a few times a day for a natural boost of energy.
Jamie Lloyd is a fitness writer and a Health and Fitness Coach based in SW London. He is co- author of the international best selling book 'Total Bodybreakthroughs'. He has also recently been nominated 'My Hero Instructor' for FitPro magazine.
You can follow Jamie twitter: @jamielloyd
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