It is that time of the year; when cold and flu season is approaching.
Is your immune system ready to fight?
Did you know inflammation is an important function of the immune system, designed to protect your body in times of illness or injury?
Inflammation is at the root of all chronic disease, so it is important to learn how to reduce inflammation in the body. Lifestyle habits play a critical role in the presence of inflammation in the body. Exercise, good sleep patterns, and learning to manage stress all help to support a healthy body and reduce inflammation. Another significant thing you can do to manage inflammation is to pay attention to good nutrition habits. Try adding some of these natural anti-inflammatory foods to your regular diet.
These powerhouse veggies are loaded with important antioxidants to fight free radicals that contribute to disease. They contain nutrients known as flavonoids that are both anti inflammatory and promote healthy cells throughout the body. Spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce are just a few of a variety of these nutrient-rich, disease fighting wonder greens. Whether steamed or sautéed with garlic and olive oil, added to soups, stews, or smoothies, there are many different ways to incorporate leafy greens into your diet.
Orange Vegetables and Fruits
Orange-colored fruit and veggies contain beta-carotene, an important antioxidant that converts to vitamin A in the body. These color foods are also rich in vitamin C, another important antioxidant to ward off illness. These key nutrients support the immune system as well as eye, skin, and brain health. The anti-inflammatory nutrients and fiber in these foods can help to decrease your risk of developing serious health problems, including heart disease and cancer. Adding a glass of orange juice to your breakfast, a fruit salad for lunch, or a baked sweet potato for dinner are a few ways to enjoy these important color foods.
Berries are packed full of important vitamins, minerals and fiber. They contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins that assist with reducing inflammation in the body. Berries may actually increase the number of natural killer (NK) cells in the body to promote optimal immune function. Some of the most common and readily available berries to choose from are blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Try adding some fresh berries to your yogurt or cereal or as a new add-in to your green salad.
Garlic has strong antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, and has potent antioxidant power to boost the immune system and combat disease. Garlic, like onions, contains sulfur compounds that work to block the activation of the body’s inflammatory enzymes. Garlic goes well with a variety of savory dishes, and can easily be combined with other herbs in recipes to enhance flavor while promoting health. You can add fresh garlic to homemade salad dressings, sautéed or steamed vegetables, rice dishes, or roasted meats. These are just some of the ways to incorporate good nutrition into your diet.
Eating a rainbow of colorful vegetables and fruits for daily meals and snacks is an important step toward managing and reducing inflammation in the body. A healthy strategy is to work toward decreasing processed, packaged foods and increasing foods in their natural state. Eating a diet that also consists of lean protein, healthy fats, and high fiber foods will help to reduce inflammation in the body and support your optimal health.
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