When the weather changes, the birds start their nest-building in earnest, and the crack of a baseball bat can be heard in the afternoons…that’s always when our family gets one last massive cold (or worse).
What? Were you expecting something nostalgic?
It’s never a bad time to make sure your immunities are as strong as possible, and April is no time to let up on real foods you can eat to give your family a leg up on the bugs and viruses that want to keep you inside just when the weather is becoming beautiful.
Food does more than fuel your energy for the day; it fuels your immune system as well. So feed your army of virus-fighters well by keeping these foods constantly a part of your diet, not just in the winter:
1. Homemade bone broth
Nothing beats homemade bone broth in the immunity-building department and in aiding general health. Bone broth, another name for chicken or beef stock made with bones, contains minerals, calcium, collagen, and healthy fats that support healthy digestion, strong bones, and even joint health.
Soup isn’t just a winter comfort food. Use your homemade stock to cook rice or make stir fry sauces, and don’t be afraid to serve soups in the summer. With the abundance of fresh vegetables at local farmer’s markets, soup should be at least a once a week occurrence.
Garlic keeps more than vampires away – consume it regularly, raw when possible, to fight off colds, stomach viruses, and even infections. Garlic is surprisingly high in Vitamin C and has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
The compounds of garlic that fight infection are released when garlic is chopped or crushed and are strongest raw. They actually increase every 7 minutes after crushing, so it’s best to crush 7-14 minutes before eating. Don’t overcook garlic either – add it for the last minute of a saute instead of with the onions like most recipes instruct, and crush some directly into your bowl before adding hot soup if you’re trying to fend off a cold.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil, particularly extra virgin oil, which smells and tastes of coconuts, also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-microbial properties. The lauric acid in coconuts is found in almost no other food barring breastmilk, and it is a huge immunity booster and inhibits cancer growth.
Coconuts’ medium-chain triglycerides (fatty acids) are absorbed directly from the small intestine for quick energy, which can never hurt if you’re running from a cold or flu bug. I use coconut oil in cooking, baking, on my skin and for oil pulling. And yes…we do buy it in bulk. (source)
If garlic and coconut oil are going to fight off the bad guys, yogurt (and any source of probiotics you enjoy) will help bolster the good guys. Probiotics are healthy bacteria which promote the growth of your own healthy bacteria. The more “good guys” you have in your system, the harder it is for the “bad guys” to set up shop and make you feel sick.
5. Avoiding Sugar
Perhaps it’s not fair that I advertised “5 Foods” in the title, and now number 5 is actually to NOT eat a food. Sorry about that.
If yogurt increases the good guys, sugar feeds the bad guys. You wouldn’t send an air drop of steaks and chickens to your enemies just before a battle, so why would you feed a nasty bacteria that’s trying to take hold of your sinuses and make you feel like crud?
Bacteria thrives on sugar, so starve them out, especially if you know you have a bacterial infection that you might need antibiotics for. Even fruit sugars, especially high sugar fruits like bananas and dried fruits, should be cut down or eliminated if you’re serious about kicking an infection.
Drop the white sugar first and decrease your intake of all other carb-loaded sweeteners and fruits.
Once you’ve gotten through whatever cold or stomach virus may have traveled through your household, consider incorporating all these foods into your daily life to promote overall health and wellbeing.
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