It’s cold season…boost your immunity with FOOD!

With back to school and the cooler weather coming, everyone seems to be coming down with a cold.  There are lots of immune boosting supplements, and I do take some too, but there are lots of foods that actually help boost immunity too!  If you’re going to go for a supplement though my favorites are elderberry (I am planning on trying this recipe to make your own elderberry syrup) and lots of probiotics!  Did you know your gut flora plays a big part in your immunity??

So here is my post for this week, and my recipe of course.  Its a really yummy, crunchy and simple fall salad.

With back to school and the change of seasons both in full swing, cold and flu season is also upon us.  You may wonder why we tend to get sick more as the seasons change.  There is actually no scientific evidence that shows that rapid changes in body temperature (getting too hot or too cold) causes us to catch a cold.  It is more likely that bacteria and viruses just spread faster when people start spending more time close to each other indoors.  And since the kids are just getting back in school, they are all cooped up together too, greatly increasing their chances of getting sick from one another.

There are many different things we can do to increase our chances of staying healthy, from eating regular, well-balanced meals and drinking plenty of water, to getting our blood flowing daily through exercise.  There are loads of supplements on the market touting all sorts of immune-boosting claims.  But even better than supplements are the immune boosting properties of many of the foods we eat every day.  Here are just a few that you should know about (and eat!) this season:

  1. Yogurt.  We talked about this a couple of weeks ago, but I will mention again that the probiotics found in yogurt do wonders for keeping the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.  One strain (Lactobacillus reuteri) even appears to stimulate white blood cells that help to fight off infection.
  2. Garlic and Onions contain an ingredient called allicin, which helps fight bacteria and infection.  Studies have shown that people who eat garlic are less likely to catch a cold, and also reduce their risk of certain cancers. IMG_2561
  3. Fish.  Shellfish such as clams, oysters, crab, and lobster are high in selenium, which helps white blood cells manufacture cytokines, a protein that assists in eliminating flu viruses from the body.  Fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and mackerel help reduce inflammation, which protects the lungs from respiratory infection.
  4. Beef is high in zinc, an important mineral in the development of white blood cells.
  5. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and other orange vegetables are high in beta-carotene, which your body converts into Vitamin A.  Vitamin A is very important in the production of connective tissue for skin, which is our body’s first line of defense against foreign invaders.
  6. Melons are high in vitamin C, which increases production of white blood cells and an antibody called interferon that coats the surface of cells to prevent invasion of viruses.

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Apple Slaw

(dairy free, gluten free, grain free)

From www.cookieandkate.com

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil*

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey*

1 lime, juiced

1 small purple cabbage, cored and sliced into small stripes (about 2 cups)*

8 radishes, stems and ends removed, finely sliced and coarsely chopped*

2 medium organic Granny Smith apples, or other tart, crisp apple*

Loose 1/2 cup chopped cilantro*

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

In a big bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing: olive oil, mustard, honey and lime juice.

Toss the chopped cabbage, radish and apple into the bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly toss the chopped ingredients with the dressing. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Cover and chill in the fridge for an hour. Mix in the chopped cilantro right before serving.

*Available NOW at the market

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 229; Total Fat 14g; Saturated Fat 2g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 168mg; Total Carbohydrate 27g; Dietary Fiber 6g; Sugars 19g; Protein 3g

And one more photo…I was photographing the food I was eating for dinner last night, and so my son had to take a photo of his dinner too.  Came out pretty good, I think.

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