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Tidbits from my kitchen, the gym and life

Part 2: Immunity and Food

Whole food nutrition is always important because I believe that it all starts with what we put into our bodies and whole foods fuel your body with the nutrients it needs. Right now, I am focussed on preparing nourishing meals that are anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants. Of course, my  list could go on and on but in an effort to keep this concise (and not long winded), I will give you my top 5 😉

Citrus fruits – this is the most obvious choice as citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to fight bacteria, viruses and inflammatory problems. It’s so easy to incorporate citrus into our diets – juice it or eat it straight (cinnamon on grapefruit tastes amazing). Besides the citrus family kiwis, pineapple and mangos are some other fruits rich in vitamin C.

Garlic – if it were up to me I would say that garlic is a superfood. Garlic is anti-viral and anti-microbial and rich in sulfur which helps the body’s detoxification process. Studies have shown that it can help with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardiovascular issues just to list a few. Its great raw – chop it up and allow it to sit a few minutes so that the allicin (active compound in garlic) can be released therefore increasing the potency. I like to pair it with some raw honey on an apple slice (don’t knock it until you are sick!) If you are cooking it, you can add it into water to make a tea or sauté it up for virtually any and every dish.

Raw honey – here’s a true story. I used to work with a lovely woman (who will remain nameless) and if you were to judge a book by its cover then you would have assumed the roof wasn’t too secure (if you know what I mean). But she was actually the opposite and the one thing she swore by was raw honey. She had a teaspoon of it every day and in the three years that I worked with her she was never once sick. Not even a sniffle. She was even so kind to gift me a couple bottles on occasion from a local hive every so often. Raw, unpasteurized honey is not processed like regular store brands so it will crystalize over time (this is normal). Raw honey is antioxidant rich, antibacterial and antifungal which are key factors in fighting infections. I enjoy it a few ways: in my DIY ginger firebomb, in teas or drizzled on top of toast with nut butter. And of course, straight from the jar – just don’t double dip!

Ginger – another superfood in my opinion. Ginger is most commonly known to help with nausea, but it is also an anti-inflammatory and great for those nagging coughs. How do you incorporate ginger into your kitchen?  Add even the smallest piece to a green or any herbal tea or you can always mince it up and add it into soup, juices, smoothies and stir frys. You can have it fresh, from a jar or ground. Fresh and jarred are my personal faves.

Herbs and spices – now is the time to be adventurous and kick it up in the spice department. Herbs and spices like oregano, basil, cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, rosemary are all staples to have on hand. Theses spices date back way beyond our times and from countries where once upon a time these were the only ingredients needed to heal.  Curries, marinades, soups and stews are just some of the ways that you can easily incorporate them into your meals.

I will also add in a bonus sixth ‘tip’ and would recommend limiting refined sugar and starch (so white flours, pastas and anything white in general) and alcohol. I know its stressful times and we are reaching for foods that are comforting. Trust me, I love a good bourbon (old fashioned are my drink of choice) but the alcohol and sugar have a domino effect on the body. They will wreak havoc on your digestive system, which will in turn weaken the immune system which will then make you more vulnerable to infection. The immune system starts in the gut and stay tuned for part 3 where I talk supplementation.