Brain Food: Food & spice

Jul 30, 13 • 5enses, Brain Food21 Comments

By Jimmy Polinori

The 2013 cold and flu season is upon us.

Kids will be back in school shortly sharing glue, crayons, pencils, books, bathrooms, and, inevitably, germs.

Maintaining health while those around us sneeze and sniffle is a challenge we all face every year. Fending off the cold and flu virus requires that you extract as much immune boosting nutrition from your diet as possible. I was ever so lucky to be blessed with a weakened immune system from birth. Through trial and error, I can attest to the benefits of loading up on the foods and spices that are proven to strengthen the immune system and that pack the biggest nutritional punch.

Of course, avoiding processed foods, grains, and sugar will prove paramount in your efforts to strengthen your immune system. However, you can do even more by incorporating foods all year round that are loaded with specific immune boosting nutrients.

Outlined below and based on my research of multiple scientific studies is what I consider to be the absolute best foods you can eat to help protect yourself this season. This, by all means, is not an exhaustive listing, but it’s quite comprehensive.

1. Unpasteurized grass-fed organic milk: Raw organic milk from grass-fed cows contains beneficial bacteria that prime your immune system. Although raw milk availability is limited in the U.S. depending on where you live, you can locate the source closest to you at R ealMilk.Com.

2.Whey protein: Whey protein helps fight colds and flu because it contains beta-glucans and immunoglobulins, which protect your immune system and support your body’s natural detoxification processes.

3. Fermented foods: These have good microorganisms that balance your body’s ecosystem and strengthen immunity. Natto, kimchee, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt (watch for sugar), and olives are great sources.

4. Organic eggs from free-range chickens: Organic eggs are an inexpensive and amazing source of high-quality nutrients that many people are deficient in — especially high-quality protein and fat. To find free-range pasture farms, try your local health food store, or visit EatWild.Com or LocalHarvest.Org.

5. Coconuts and coconut oil: These contain monolaurin, which is the actual compound found in breast milk that strengthens a baby’s immunity.

6. Locally grown organic vegetables: Stating the obvious here. Eat a variety of fresh, organic and preferably raw vegetables.

7. Blueberries and raspberries: These power-packed little berries rate very high in antioxidant capacity.

8. Mushrooms: Mushrooms strengthen your immune system because they’re rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, and other minerals.

9. Teas: The two best types of tea for fending off microinvaders are matcha green tea and tulsi tea.

10. Herbs and spices: There are far too many immune boosting herbs to summarize in a one page article. So, here are a few of the top contenders that deserve special mention; garlic, honeysuckle, licorice, turmeric, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, peppermint, and ginger.

Incorporate some of these wonderful foods, herbs and spices to evade the circulating viruses and improve your overall health and longevity at the same time.

Buon appetito!

*****

Get more culinary and health tips at Facebook.Com/TheCulintaryComposer.

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