In a normal year, staying safe from the flu is usually the only thing to worry about in the fall in terms of living and staying healthy. Not this year. While COVID-19 continues to spread, combined with the annual flu season, it is more important than ever to take precautions to stay healthy. One of the best ways to prevent against disease is to have a healthy immune system, and fortunately to achieve this you really don’t have to look any further than your kitchen.
“There are certainly things we can do, and it starts with what’s on our plate,” said Mareya Ibrahim. “Food has the ability to manage stress, and ward off viruses while balancing hormones and gut health. When they see food is your medicine, they really weren’t kidding.”
Cauliflower gnochi with pistachio pistou. Photo courtesy Mareya Ibrahim.
Ibrahim presented a webinar entitled “The Top 8 immunity and Boosting Foods to Help You Thrive” during Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo’s “Live at Your Table” virtual conference. Below are the eight immunity boosting foods Ibrahim recommends incorporating into your diet.
No-bake blueberry 'cheesecake' and lemon curd bliss bars. Photo courtesy Mareya Ibrahim.
As an antioxidant rich food, consuming berries can help in protection against diseases by helping your cells to be healthy, energized and vibrant.
Since there are so many different varieties of berries, the ways that you can hat you can incorporate them into your diet offers a lot of versailithy. Berries are also very readily available, whether fresh or frozen.
Garlic and onions
As prebiotic rich foods, garlic and onions, helps feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. Which in turn contributes to a healthier digestive system These foods are also the foundation for many of today’s antibiotics.
Garlic and onions can be added to just about anything, whether it’s a sauce, a seasoning, or rub.
Beans are very rich in zinc, which is needed for DNA synthesis, immune function, metabolism and growth. Zinc can also reduce inflammation and can also fight infection.
Beans can also help maintain a healthy system of cells, much like berries, as well as provide a strong source of Vitamin B.
Grilled MedMex Salmon Pasta with Burnt Brussels Sprouts and Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce. Photo courtesy Mareya Ibrahim.
Wild caught seafood
Fatty fish that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which offer a wide range of health benefits including: lowering blood pressure, help with anxiety and depression, reduce the likelihood of heart attack or stroke, and Omega 3 fatty acids can also help with immunity.
Some of the fatty fish that are the best sources of Omega 3 include salmon and sardines.
Spicy foods such as peppers, wasabi and horseradish are great sources of capsaicin, which is a super immune booster. Capsaicin has been used for its pain-relieving effects, cardiovascular benefits, and can even help to prevent ulcers. It can also help with metabolism boosting and be used as an anti-inflammatory.
Keep this list handy when you’re at the grocery store so that you can add these immunity boosting foods to your pantry.
“It’s time that we armor up and take our health into our own hands,” Ibrahim said.