Did you know that every time you eat you have the opportunity to nourish your body from the inside out on a cellular level? The nutrients you absorb have therapeutic qualities, like natural medicine, to repair and rejuvenate your body for optimum functioning and vitality. With an organic plant-based diet, you are providing your body with all the raw materials it needs to stay healthy and balanced.
Immune boosting nutrients and foods:
*Vitamin A comes in 2 forms, in plants you will find beta-carotene and in animal proteins you will find retinol. The most bioavailable source for boosting the immune system is from high quality animal protein, such as pasture-raised eggs and grass-fed meat. Plant foods rich in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, bell peppers and dark leafy greens like kale.
*Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that boosts your immune system and combats free radicals in your body, preventing cell damage which can cause premature aging and disease. Go for fresh citrus (lemons are my personal favorite), multi-colored bell peppers, ripe tomatoes and dark leafy greens.
*Vitamin D is made best by the body from sun exposure on bare skin. Naturally you want to protect your skin during the hotter months of spring and summer, but for most people, in the cooler months of autumn and winter the sun isn't strong enough to cause any damage. In spring / summer, aim for 15-30 minutes of sun exposure early morning and / or later in the evening without SPF sunscreen or protective clothing. In autumn / winter you may want to consider taking a supplement of Vitamin D3, optionally paired with Vitamin K2 and magnesium.
*Zinc is an important mineral that can be found in abundance in high quality animal proteins, as well as plant foods like chickpeas and pumpkin seeds.
*Probiotics - you can take a daily probiotic supplement to support your immune system and healthy gut flora, or enjoy a rich variety of fermented foods, particularly fermented veggies such as kimchi and sauerkraut (ensure organic, raw, live and vinegar free).
*Cruciferous vegetables are naturally detoxifying due to their high sulfur content, which plays an important role in liver detoxification. Enjoy them raw and cooked, for example a kale salad for lunch and sautéed kale as a side dish with dinner. People with thyroid issues can be better off cooking cruciferous veggies to remove their naturally occurring goitrogens, which can inhibit healthy functioning and hormone balance.
*Fresh herbs such as cilantro and parsley and dark leafy greens are powerful detoxifiers that are effective at removing environmental contaminants from your body such as heavy metals. The chlorophyll they contain, the substance that gives them their bright green color, also helps to purify your blood.
*Foods rich in antioxidants, such as matcha green tea powder, berries, and the spice turmeric are all extremely anti-inflammatory, fighting free radicals which can damage the cells of your tissues as well as your DNA, potentially causing chronic illness, disease and even cancer in your body.
*Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as wild salmon and other fatty fish including mackerel and sardines, are a very effective food source to tame excess inflammation which can express itself in the form of rashes, acne, arthritis and headaches etc. Plant sources include walnuts, chia and hemp seeds, however they are less concentrated and require more energy by the body to convert them into their most usable form.
The ultimate healing super food:
Bone Broth is a prized super food because it is rich in bioavailable minerals and proteins, such as collagen and gelatin, as well as other important amino acids. It is known to boost the immune system, heal the GI tract, boost digestion and the absorption of nutrients, reduce inflammation, improve bone health, and promote healthy skin, hair and nails.
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