5 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

Source: Sara Siskind

With the cold winter months here, we find ourselves spending more of our time indoors and hibernating from the harsh weather. This is the time of year people are more susceptible to colds and the flu.  One reason is that viruses tend to live longer in cold air. Also, being indoors leaves us closer in proximity to others where germs can spread more easily from person to person. Since part of our wellbeing depends on how we treat ourselves, now is the time to fuel our bodies with immune boosting vitamins and minerals found in a whole food diet.  Prevention is key! Sara Siskind, Certified Nutritional Health Counselor and founder of Hands on Healthy has come up with 5 of her favorite immune boosting foods has come up with 5 of her favorite immune boosting foods you can add into your diet to help you feel your best all winter long no matter if you’re trapped indoors, traveling, or just in your day-to-day activities. 

1. Eat colorful fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals. Reach for red and pink grapefruits, oranges, kiwis, and berries. Choose cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. These fruits and veggies are not only loaded with essential vitamins and phytonutrients, but they are also rich in antioxidants which give your immune system a boot and help build up your digestive track.

2.     Add in pistachios as a heart healthy, protein rich snack. Pistachios are also rich in antioxidants and the heart healthy fats to help your body absorb vitamin E.  Vitamin E is needed by the immune system to fight off invading bacteria. Pistachios are also rich in vitamin B6 which also helps prevent infection and create healthy red blood cells your body needs. Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites are an easy way to eat pistachios on the go or simply adding to your lunch bag.

3.    Look for omega 3 fatty acids and selenium which are found in shellfish, salmon, mackerel, and herring.  These foods help white blood cells produce a protein which helps clear flu viruses out of the body. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body by clearing the lungs pathways. This can help protect from colds and respiratory infections.

4.     Make yogurt your go-to breakfast or snack. Yogurt contains probiotics; “healthy bacteria” that your body needs to keep your immune system strong and keeps your digestive free of disease-causing germs.  Yogurt is also filled with protein that keeps your body energized and strong.

5.     Spice up your food with turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon.  These spices are especially known to contain antioxidants that help to protect your cells and keep inflammation in the body down.  I add turmeric to soups, eggs, rice, and poultry. Fresh grated ginger brings warmth to any beverage. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and easily added to anything you bake.

Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind is the founder of Hands On Healthy, cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York. Sara has dedicated her career to educating clients on how food and lifestyle choices affect health, and how to make the right choices to look and feel your best each day. Sara translates unnamed-1the complexity of integrated nutrition into usable tools with easy-to-cook recipes that appeal to the entire family. Sara counsels privately to offer highly customized health and nutrition plans for her clients. She also works with parents on shopping and cooking smarter to create healthier homes. In addition, she teaches beginner to gourmet cooking classes with her signature “toss it in” approach. In addition, Sara regularly works with corporations and non-profit organizations to lead workshops and lectures on healthy eating.

Website: www.sarasiskind.com

Did You Miss National Eat Your Vegetables Day?

UnknownThis week (June 17th) was National Eat Your Vegetables Day, and Agrilicious wants you eating more of your veggies. Agrilicious is at the heart of the food movement providing an exciting way to participate in the local food experience while expanding the family-and-farmer connection, as the go-to source for all things local food. Agrilicious features over 100,000 local farms, food hubs, farmers markets and restaurants across the USA.

“National Eat Your Vegetables Day 2014 is a perfect opportunity for all of us to reconnect with all that is good about dirt candy, AKA veggies!” said Duane Dahl, Co-Founder of Agrilicious. “The one day out of the year we celebrate the fact that Mother did know best. The one day where we must eat our vegetables!”

Make the Most Out of Every Bite
A recent study released by The Center for Disease Control, (CDC), defines “Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables”. PFVs are attributed with preventing diseases and broadly defined as “green leafy, yellow/orange, citrus and cruciferous items.” The study, conducted by Jennifer Di Noia of William Paterson University, looked at 17 important nutrients naturally occurring in food (fiber, protein, potassium, Vitamin A, B12, D) and calculated how much of those nutrients were found in a 100-calorie serving. Here’s the top and bottom 5 results from the study:

Top 5 (Nutrient Density Score)
Watercress, (100)
Chinese Cabbage, 91.99
Chard, 89.27
Beet Green, 87.08
Spinach, 86.43

Bottom 5 (But still better than Fruit Gushers!)
Sweet Potato, 10.51
Leek, 10.69
Turnip, 11.43
Rutabaga, 11.58
Winter Squash, 13.89

So push away the Cheetos flavored…set aside the Fruit Gushers for the day – make today your National Eat Your Vegetables Day! Presented by Agrilicious! To find your favorite local or organic veggie go to http://www.agrilicious.org and then share your vegetable du jour on Twitter at #EatYourVeggies. To review the report in its entirety please visit the Press Center on http://www.agrilicious.org

Agrilicious (http://www.agrilicious.org) is at the heart of the food movement, providing an exciting way to participate in the local food experience while expanding the family-and-farmer connection. The go-to source for all things local food – families, farmers, restaurants, grocery delivery and meal kit services, distributers, educators and food industry advocates and experts all come together through Agrilicious to share ideas, connect, and make a difference. Based in Seattle, WA, Agrilicious SPC is a Social Purpose Corporation. You can follow Agrilicious.org @AgriliciousSPC