There’s no better time to fuel your body with foods that are delicious & nutrient-dense. Here are Thistle nutritionist Ashley’s insights into the health benefits of everyday foods. Learn how what you eat can strengthen your body and help you stay as healthy as possible.
An anti-inflammatory diet favors fruits and vegetables, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and spices. These foods are also typically antioxidant-dense, which aids in the removal of free radicals in the body. Anti-inflammatory foods help protect everything from cells to entire body systems.
This golden spice contains the phytochemical curcumin, which supports liver function and is a powerful antioxidant linked to preventing cancer, depression, and many other illnesses.
Several commonly-used culinary herbs possess antiviral properties that can help ward off infection and illness. Some of Ashley's favorites include:
Basil, Mint, Oregano, and Rosemary
These herbs help boost immunity so the body is better equipped to fight viral infections.
A highly nutritious diet can help strengthen your immune system. The following foods may be beneficial for your body's infection-fighting response:
This strong antioxidant has been shown to naturally boost the immune system. It contains tons of vitamins and minerals, some of which are magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium. Ginger helps soothe cold symptoms,and may even kill cold viruses.
Flavorful and potent, garlic can inhibit activation of carcinogens and promote detoxification. Raw garlic can also act as an antiviral and antibacterial, and help fight infections within the body.
Fermented foods contain healthy bacteria and probiotics that improve your gut health and impact the overall wellness of your body—both physical and mental. When your gut is in good shape, your immune system is better able to function.
Full of protein and umami, miso is a good source of vitamins and minerals. And since it’s fermented, miso provides the beneficial gut bacteria we need.
Kimchi & Sauerkraut
Fermented cabbage—or any fermented vegetable for that matter—is high in probiotics, which enhance overall gut health and strengthen your immune system.
Vitamin C-rich Foods
This vitamin increases the production of white blood cells and improves their function. It also helps produce important antibodies, proteins that bind to invading microbes in order to neutralize them. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for a healthy immune response.
This culinary mainstay contains carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and a variety of phytochemicals, all of which are beneficial in maintaining a strong immune system.
While sweet potatoes do contain vitamin C, they are also rich in beta carotene. And as a carotenoid that converts into vitamin A, sweet potatoes help boost the immune system and lower the risk for various diseases.
Richly-hued purple, red, and blue foods often owe their color to anthocyanin—a compound with antioxidant properties.
Just a handful of these berries provide anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, and cognitive benefits. A little goes a long way.
This cabbage variety is a great source of beneficial plant compounds and offers one of the highest amounts of health-promoting antioxidants per unit cost. Purple cabbage has 10 times more vitamin A than green cabbage and is 30% more nutrient-dense across the board.
Eating your best is one of the best ways to staying as healthy as possible. Be sure to include some of these foods (as well as other nutrient-dense options, of course) in your upcoming lunch and dinner plans!