Rock Those Antioxidants!

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Friday I told you about boosting your immune system through strengthening your digestive tract. Today we are continuing the topic of immunity with antioxidants. What are they and why do we need them to stay healthy?

According to Wikipedia; An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions. They do this by being oxidized themselves, so antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols, ascorbic acid, or polyphenols.

Simply put, antioxidants protect our cells from being destroyed by oxidation. We can’t fight off illness and disease with weak cell structures. Therefore we want to have as many foods that are high in antioxidants in our daily diet as possible to stay healthy. Below I will list the foods highest in antioxidants. The foods marked with an * are the ones I use most.

 

Legumes:

Small red kidney beans

Pinto beans

Nuts*

 

Fruits:    

Elderberries*

Wild blueberries*

Cranberries*

Blueberries

Red delicious apples

Granny smith apples*

Purple, red and green grapes*

 

Vegetables:

Artichokes (cooked)

Kale*

Broccoli*

Red cabbage*

Red beets

Russet potatoes

Red and green bell peppers*

 

Herbs and Spices:

Cloves

Cinnamon*

Oregano*

Thyme

Rosemary

Saffron

Sage*

 

Beverages:

Black and green teas*

Coffee*

Roasted ground coco beans*

 

Please feel free to use this list to stock your kitchen with healthy foods that will keep you feeling zippy, when everyone else is dragging behind. Xoxo

 

 

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Get Well Soon!

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Tis the season for mold allergies, head and chest colds and of course the dreaded influenza.

Kids are missing school or being held out of daycare. Adults are missing work and social engagements. We’re all nervous about the spread of dangerous and even deadly viruses. How can we have a better chance of avoiding sickness in the next four to six months? Mostly it’s about self care, awareness of our bodies and utilizing the ingredients that most of us already have in our cabinets and refrigerators at home. In the next few days I’m going to be highlighting some of the top ways that I successfully keep my family healthy when everyone around us is falling ill. I hope to supply you with the knowledge you’ll need to keep you and yours feeling great all year long.

Topic one: Immune Boosters

The best way to minimize your chances of getting sick is to strengthen your immune system. This might seem obvious to some, but I find myself reminding people of the need for a strong immune system almost daily. I’m going to touch on the most effective immune boosters in this post.

Good Digestion Means Good Health

It’s important to know that 80 percent of your immune system is centered in your gut. If your gut is weak, so is your barrier against sickness. In order to strengthen your digestive system, you need to do two things. First you need to pinpoint any food allergies you may have and eliminate those foods from your diet. Second you need to build or rebuild your healthy gut lining with probiotics.

Finally realizing and coming to terms with the fact that my body was rejecting gluten to the point of being sick daily if I even thought about eating it, was a huge turning point for me. It made such a dramatic difference in my ability to ward off allergies, colds and most everything else. Milk, wheat, eggs, nuts and soy are the leading culprits in food allergies and more and more people are realizing that they can’t go on eating whatever they want and still find good health. Food allergies do not effect everyone and they do not effect those who suffer from them equally. The best way to discover if you have a food allergy or not is to eliminate the major triggers from your diet for two weeks. Over the two weeks, take notice of how you are feeling. Is your digestion better? Do you have more energy and mental clarity? Has your psoriasis cleared up a bit? Has your skin cleared up? All of these things and more are signs that you are clearing your system of allergens. If you notice absolutely no change, awesome! You are clear of food allergies or at least the well known ones. If you experience a noticeable difference after two weeks, slowly add each food back into your diet one at a time and see how you feel. This process is simple and very effective. You could also find a good allergist and get tested in the office

After finding out if you have any food allergies, the next step is creating a strong intestinal lining. The best way to do this is with the use of probiotics. You don’t need to take pills for this, but it is much more convenient at the end of the day. You can also add fermented foods into your daily diet to get the same effects. Pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi, plain yogurt, kefir and kombucha tea are some of the obvious choices in the world of fermentation. Yes, wine is also fermented. 🙂 I personally take a high dose of probiotics in pill form daily to stay healthy. Due to the high salt content of most pickled foods and the effects of dairy on my respiratory system, pills are a much better option for me. It’s a personal choice and I’ll leave that up to you. Maybe a combination of both foods and pills will work for you.

Coming soon: Antioxidants, Anti-inflammatories and recipes