Our immune system is the core to our health and well being. Without a strong immune system, we become susceptible to the constant wave of viruses, bacteria and infections. Back in the day, our ancestors were able to boost their immunity by simply eating more nutrient dense foods that came straight from the earth. There was more small farming, soils were rich in minerals, toxicity in the world was lower, etc. Our grandparents use to go straight to the garden and pick those vibrant fruits and vegetables. Minimal washing, if any, was done which left a little dirt on them. Have you ever heard “a little dirt never hurt anyone?” Well that’s because back then the dirt would be a host for minerals and microbes that would then be ingested and serve a powerful purpose for our gut and immune system .
Unfortunately, this is not the same story now-a-days. We receive most of our produce from the local market whether it be Wal-Mart, Kroger, Publix. This means the fruits and veggies came from large scale agriculture production, soil is most likely depleted, long transportation occurs and shelf-life also begins to tick. All of these added sum up to our fruits and veggies not having high-density nutrients within them. If you don’t believe this, buy yourself a Brix meter which test the nutrient density in your foods.
We are not living in the same world our grandparents or even parents lived in. Therefore, we most educate ourselves, and search for ways to receive more nutrient-dense foods into our daily lives. This begins with organic plant-based foods. Supporting your local farmer at the farmer’s market is a great way to get higher quality fruits, veggies and meats into your diet. Buying organic is also crucial if you can spare the extra change each time you purchase your meats and produce. This eliminates all the toxins, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, steroids, estrogen, and bovine growth factors that can come with your non-organic meat, cheese and produce. Adding in a plant-based supplement into your daily regiment will also fill in the gaps that your foods cannot fulfill anymore. Remember, not all supplements are created equally, so do your research. Check out my last post for a list of great plant-based supplements.
When it comes to supplements, it can be very overwhelming. So at times, it’s just best to focus on the areas of most need. America’s top nutrient deficiencies are Vitamin D and the B Vitamin family.
Vitamin D is one of the best supplements to keep sickness at bay and cancer as well. Vitamin D helps with brain function, immune support, hormone balance, bone structure and much more. Most Americans spend their time indoors and when they go outside they lather themselves with toxic sunscreen that blocks your body from receiving the most Vitamin D possible. Your daily intake of Vitamin D should be 2000-5000 IU a day. It can be increased even more when you are beginning to feel sick.
The next top nutrient deficiency are the B Vitamins. There are 8 different types of B Vitamins:
- Thiamin (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Niacin (B3)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Pyridoxine (B6)
- Biotin (B7)
- Folic acid (folate or B9)
- Cyanocobalamin (B12)
These groups help support the brain, nervous system, hair, skin, nails, blood cells, metabolism, the use of energy and so much more. The reason why we can become so depleted in B Vitamins is because we don’t store it very well due to over stress, alcohol, unhealthy eating practices, and being sick. Taking a plant-based supplement to help add to your already existing diet is best.
Remember that take a plant-based supplement is best absorbed and assimilated by the body. Some great brands are: Food research, Biotics, Standard Process, MediHerb, Mannatech and Usana.
Greens are truly the most common missing food in most Americans. Dark leafy greens are essential to replenishing the body, detoxifying, building up immunity and also giving you that beautiful glow that people crave to have. Greens are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, folic acid, chlorophyll, and many other nutrients that may be missing from your diet. There are a variety of ways you can play with greens in your meals. You can steam them, sauté them, make a stir fry, bake them or for maximum nutrients, you can eat them raw with some hummus or dressing. If your looking for a good list of greens you can start with these: spinach, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, and cabbage. Remember, all you need to do is just add one of these greens to your meals everyday and you are already on your way to a better, more rejuvenated you! One of my favorite ways to incorporate greens is sautéing some Kale and Swiss chard with some Braggs Aminos (substitute for high sodium soy sauce), minced garlic, a small amount of chili garlic sauce, dash of red wine vinegar, S&P, and some fresh grated ginger. I love adding this side when making an Asian dish. Another way I incorporate greens is in my smoothies which I make almost everyday. All you need to do is add a few variety of green leaves, add a little banana, maybe some blueberries, chia seeds, some ginger, almond milk, ice and waalaaa!!
You’ve probably heard of probiotic at some point in your life, but what are they really? Essentially they are the “good” bacteria that helps balance your gut and keeps your digestive system in check. It also assist in the absorption of nutrients and helps fight infection. Prebiotics on the other hand are the fibers or “food” that feeds the probiotics that live within your gut.
The probiotics benefits begin in the gut. The gut (digestive tract) is responsible for 70-80% of your immune system. That is an astounding percentage. Not to mention, the gut is responsible for 80-90% of your serotonin levels. That is your “feel good” hormone. Have you ever thought your depression could directly be correlated to the health of your gut?
So let’s list off some of the benefits:
- Better mental clarity
- Digestive Health
- Immunity boost
- Healthier looking skil
- Fights off free radicals
- Decrease in antibiotic resistance
- Decreases infammation
- Controls food allergies
- Helps with prevention of diabetes
- Dental Health
- Weight loss
HOW TO GET THEM IN YOUR SYSTEM?
- Eat more fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, kefir)
- Take a quality pro-biotic supplement
- Feed to good bacteria with high fiber food (flax seed, chia seed, organic fruits and veggies)
We all know that most Americans are living in a constant state of stress. Many of us don’t even know that herbs can help our bodies fight the cortisol that is released from stress. There are some useful plants out there that can help us deal with this. These are called adaptogenic herbs. But first what is an adaptogen? It is something that certain herbs have that increases your body’s ability to adapt and handle stress. These herbs help allow your body find balance as a whole instead of just focusing on one particular area like you’re heart or liver. It allows the body find homeostasis because of the whole body approach the herbs are able to achieve.
These are some of the adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms you can use daily to help your body deal with the daily stress life can throw at you.
Ginseng– the most popular of the group that promotes calmness and also aids with memory.
Holy Basil (Tulsi)– Ayurvedic medicine use this for stress because of the three anti-stress phytochemical compounds.
Ashwaganda– considered the Indian ginseng also has a great combating effect on cortisol (stress hormone).
Licorice– protects the thymus from being affected by cortisol.
Cordycep mushrooms (reishi, chaga and lions mane)– these medicinal mushrooms not only have adaptogens but are some of the most powerful foods you can incorporate to increase immunity, antioxidants, cancer fighting cells and much more. You can get them in tea bags which usually activate these compounds more due to the warm/hot water, powder for smoothies and now they even make coffee with these mushrooms in them.