Foods to Help Boost Immunity

 

Although no amount of the right kinds of food can prevent or cure illness, healthy nutrition can help boost your immunity. A trip to the grocery store is a great way to prevent colds, the flu, and other infections. Many of our favorite foods have the nutrients we need to boost our immune system:

Citrus Fruits

One of the best foods to boost your immune system are citrus fruits. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. These white blood cells fight off infections in our body. Thankfully, there are many citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C. These include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, tangerines, and clementines. Next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to add some of these to your cart.

Red Bell Peppers

Another kitchen staple that is great for building up immunity is red bell peppers. Red bell peppers are easy to add to some of your favorite dishes and are rich in beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A by your body for healthy eyes and skin. Red bell pepper also has three times as much vitamin C as an orange. You can easily add this nutritious vegetable to your next stir-fry, lasagna, pizza, or even on taco night. 

Garlic

One of the best ways to add supreme flavor and nutrients to your next meal is by adding in garlic. Garlic is great for fighting infections and can slow down the hardening of the arteries. There is also some evidence that it may help lower blood pressure. The heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, is what makes garlic a powerful immune booster. 

Yogurt

A tasty treat with immune-boosting nutrients is yogurt. Yogurts with the phrase “live and active cultures” printed on the label are exactly what you need. These yogurts have disease-fighting cultures that are able to stimulate your immune system. It is also a fantastic source of vitamin D, which can help regulate your body’s immune system. Be sure sure to go with plain yogurt to avoid sugar and dress it up with fruits, granola, and honey to make it sweeter. 

Five Healthy Eating Myths

Food myths have been around for centuries. While some have quickly come and gone, others have persisted and can have adverse effects on our health. Preconceived ideas of what is and isn’t healthy can be hard to correct. Based on the most current facts, here are some of the most persistent myths about eating a healthy diet and the truth, if any, behind them.

Myth: Fat-free and low-fat foods are healthier than their full-fat versions.

Truth: Fats are good for you, and the body needs them in order to function at its best capabilities. Fats help you metabolize vitamins, helps with brain functions, producing hormones, and keeps your organs healthy. When choosing meats, less fat is generally better. However, the opposite is true for packaged/processed foods. When fat is removed, companies have to add ingredients, usually sugar, to compensate for taste. You might be getting less fat, but you’re getting much more sugar or salt as a result.

Myth: Eating after 6:00 PM is unhealthy.

Truth: The general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t eat three hours before you go to bed. Your metabolism slows down later at night and eating close to your bedtime can keep you awake longer. Starving yourself just because it is after a particular time can do more harm and cause health problems. Stick to a regular eating schedule and a healthy lifestyle.

Myth: All organic food is healthy.

Truth: Organic foods are produced with no GMO, pesticides, or additives and are generally exactly the same as food not labeled as organic. The only difference is usually the higher price tag on organic items.

Myth: Carbohydrates should be avoided.

Truth: There are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbs are found in items that are generally not so healthy such as chocolate, white bread, jam, and sweet drinks. Complex carbs are extremely healthy and are found in foods such as vegetables, grains, beans, and greens. Eating whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and helps you feel full longer.

Myth: Juices are as beneficial as the fruit themselves.

Truth: Fruit is always going to be more beneficial to your health than juice. Juices have next to no fiber, are much lower in vitamins and nutrients and are usually high in sugars. Always opt for fruit when you have the choice.

4 Ways to Make Big Impacts on Your Health

When people hear their doctors recommend lifestyle changes, they often envision a complete overhaul of their way of living. Making changes in your life to live healthier doesn’t have to be drastic or immediate. You can take things one step at a time and make changes that won’t force you to sacrifice too much, yet these simple changes can have a long-lasting and positive impact on your health.

  1. Create Positive Morning Habits

You can begin to change your life by choosing healthier habits to employ in your daily morning ritual. Again, you don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle. Maybe just add a five minute meditation session or get up 20 minutes early, so you can fit in some yoga. Over time, these practices will become second nature and you won’t even remember a time when you didn’t meditate.

  1. Add More Protein to Your Morning Meal

Another good morning practice is to add more protein to your breakfast. In addition to giving us more energy and improving our mood, a high-protein breakfast can actually help us sleep better in the evenings. The ingestion of proteins will promote the production of serotonin in the brain. In addition to elevating our moods, serotonin also helps the flow of melatonin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for promoting better sleep.

  1. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

Most people think they do drink enough water, but you’re probably not drinking as much as you should. Bear in mind that our bodies are 70% water and that water is used to fuel virtually every biological process. It can help dilute sugar, which means your glucose levels will be better regulate, and it can improve blood flow throughout the body. You should be drinking half of your body weight in water each day.

  1. Help Your Body Detox

No, you don’t need to add juice smoothies to your routine. In fact, all you really have to do is stop snacking late at night. The liver begins a regeneration cycle between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. each night, but that process can be inhibited, if your body is digesting snacks at that time. Simply laying off the late night snacks and giving your body time to regenerate can help you live and feel healthier.

If you’re drinking enough water, this shouldn’t be a problem, since you will be getting up to use the bathroom more frequently. At the very least, you should be standing up every few hours to get the blood circulating and the heart pumping a little faster. Just by getting on your feet every few hours, you can reduce your risks of weight gain, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.

While each of these are minor changes, they can have lasting benefits to your health. As you make them a part of your normal routine, you may feel motivated to make other changes as well. Before you know it, you’ll be living a healthier life.