Ah, October: one of the loveliest months with its fall colors and crisp days: I just love this time of year. I have my Halloween lights up, an orange berry wreath on the front door and candles lit throughout the house, making staying inside cozy and inviting.
But as we all know, fall is also known for an increased incidence of cold and flu viruses. Some of my friends have already been sniffling and coughing so it is time to think about the ways we can boost our immune systems.
- As we have talked about in past blogposts, how and what we eat has a significant impact on how our bodies fight infections. Every magazine that I have opened lately has spent some time discussing this so obviously this is an important and timely topic. So what are some of the best foods that we can include in our diet?
Garlic and onions: these odorific foods are members of the lily family and they contain sulfur-containing compounds. One of the most important of these is called allicin, which has both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties,which can help fight off many types of infections. It is so easy to include these foods in many of the recipes that you make every day: add them to soups, salad dressings, sauces, casseroles for extra flavor and immune boosting power.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squashes and pumpkins are all rich in beta-carotene, which help your body fight off respiratory infections. Try these in soups, breads, salads or serve them on their own. They are delicious and full of nutrients.
Mushrooms are considered to be powerhouses of the immune system and there are so many varieties to try: shitake, maitake, chantrelles, oyster, portobello, lobster, you name it, along with the familiar brown and white button mushrooms. They help your body fight infections by boosting the activity of your natural killer cells and they are also rich in the mineral selenium, which helps you fight flu viruses. Try sauteeing them in olive oil and season with herbs, add them to soups, salads, omelettes and casseroles.
Yogurt has long been considered a ‘health food’ but often times it has been sold as over-processed and over sugared, a distant cousin from the really healthy kind. Look for yogurt in its natural unprocessed form: it should say that it contains live active cultures, such as S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus and Bifidus and try to buy types that are higher in protein(like Greek yogurt) and low in added sugars. These beneficial bacteria are known as ‘pro-biotics’, which help to restore healthy bacteria to your intestines(back to gut health, once again), which in turn help your body to fight the onslaught of infections that arrive in the fall and winter months.
Part 2 will review some more important foods to include in your daily diet but before I sign off, I want to share one of my favorite and SIMPLE recipes that combines a few of today’s ‘super foods’ : it is full of flavor, protein, immune boosters and easy on your waist.
Kyle’s recipe for Tsatsiki:
2 cups of high quality, high protein yogurt( I prefer Greek style, normal fat content)
1 cucumber: peeled and grated: squeeze out all of the excess liquid
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Stir all of these ingredients together in a bowl. Cover, chill and let the flavors blend for at least a few hours . Serve with whole grain pita chips or crusty whole grain bread. Yum! great for watching football games or your favorite latest TV series. Enjoy!
Back again with more foods and recipes. As always, we love to hear from YOU and how you incorporate nutritious foods into your daily lives.
Salud and bon appétit.