garlic and onions

My 7 Dietary Staples to Boost Immunity

Without these super hero foods, my immune system slumps.

I must confess that I’m not very well behaved on vacation. But not in the way you think. I don’t enjoy eating out. In fact, I avoid it as much as possible.

So when I travel my eating habits are off in that I probably don’t eat enough. I also have never stepped foot in a hotel gym. We usually do trips that require a ton of walking, and I figure since I training every week of the year without fail, taking the time off on vacation is a good rest period.

Except sometimes I come home sick. And that’s exactly what happened when we traveled to Boston last week. I knew I was coming down with something Monday, but our flight was canceled, leaving me in a hotel room for two more days.

So two more days of not eating well and not exercising. But the time I arrived home I was toast. My whole head clogged up and I had zero energy.

I’m slowly bouncing back and I can thank a few dietary staples for my recovery. Each week without fail you will find huge bulbs of garlic, crisp onions, bushels of spinach and kale, bags of lemons and limes, boxes of green tea, tubs of coconut oil, and cartons of eggs in my kitchen. I never go a day without them … except when I travel and now I’m paying for it.

These foods help keep your immune system fired up to ward of those creepy winter cold and flu viruses and other yucky bugs that loom around every corner.

Eggs: I never grow tired of eggs. Not only are they a cheap source of protein, but also egg yolks contain zinc and selenium—two important minerals for your immune health.  Everyday I scramble up an 3-4 egg omelet loaded with veggies including spinach, mushroom, onion, garlic, tomato, and whatever else I can find.

Garlic/ onions: These potent plants, along with leeks, shallots, and scallions, contain flavonoid antioxidants like quercetin, anthocyanins, and allicin, which fight infection and bacteria. When onions are cooked over a low temp to make soups, they do not lose their quercetin benefits. This is great news!   For an extra immune boost, mince a whole garlic clove and down it with a glass of water like a supplement.

Coconut oil: I can’t say enough good things about coconut oil. The antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric and caprylic acids contain antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that help ward off infection. If you do happen to get sick, make sure to add coconut oil to your treatment plan. It also works great to resolve thrush issues that may arise when on an antibiotic cycle. In fact, taking two teaspoons a day with an antibiotic cycle may reduce your risk of developing a gut flora imbalance. I take 2 teaspoons of coconut oil a day like a supplement.

Spinach/ kale: Spinach contains folate, which helps your body produce cells and repair DNA. In addition, it’s loaded with more than a dozen different phytonutrients that function as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. Kale is another super power food that contains a spectacular amount of vitamin K, which helps regular the body’s inflammatory process. Spinach and/or kale goes with every meal possible in my house.

Probiotics: All good health begins in your gut, and probiotics are one of your best allies when it comes to immune health. Around 60% of your immune cells are located in your digestive tract, so it makes sense to keep your gut in check—and priobiotics will help to do just that. I take one priobiotic twice a day for maintenance.

Green tea: Again, green tea wows us with its high antioxidant profile. What may be most impressive is that green tea is the best food source for catechins, which appear in test tubes to be more potent than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells. I sip green tea at lunch and before bed.

Lemons/limes: Not only do lemons and limes contain a high amount of vitamin C, but they also show to have antibiotic properties. In a West African study, the inclusion of limejuice during daily meals determined protection against contracting cholera during an outbreak. I keep slices of lemons and limes in my water cup for a flavor boost.

The more whole foods you add to your diet, the better protected your immune health. These are just 7 staples that I keep in my diet everyday to strengthen my immunity. Traveling to Boston made me realize how important they’ve been to my overall health.



What are some of your dietary staples that you eat every day to keep your immune system healthy?


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