Posted on 06/11/2014 at 12:00 AM by Embria Health Sciences
By Julie Revelant
You might not think that rocks, colors, lettuces and “bugs” could help keep you healthy during spring and summer. Well, think again.
Stress, environmental dangers and lack of sleep are always putting our immunity on alert. A weak immune system, therefore, puts our good health at risk year-round. When you stop to think about it, your good health should be a priority even during the warm months of the year. So, if you’re looking for some ways to strengthen your immune system, here is my “surprising five.”
1. Brightly colored fruits
Blueberries, bright pomegranates, and dark red cherries are all rich in vitamins and a wide range of antioxidants, which can help neutralize free radicals before they can harm our cells and cause further damage. They’re great alone as an energy-filled snack, as well as a delicious addition to plain Greek yogurt when hunger strikes. We all know that berries tend to turn fast, so go ahead and freeze your over-ripe leftovers for use in a healthy, fun smoothie treat.
Zinc is a mineral that’s been shown to support immune function, protect your vision, and provide other important health benefits.
Good food sources of zinc include oysters, crab, lean red meat, chicken, milk, cashews, and chickpeas. Zinc can also be taken as a supplement, so ask your doctor if you need one, and be aware than some forms of zinc may be more researched than others.
3. Dark leafy greens
Kale is the “it” green getting all the attention these days and for good reason; it’s teeming with vitamins, minerals, carotenoids (especially lutein), fiber and other phytonutrients. Other excellent green choices include mustard, collard, and turnip greens, Swiss chard and spinach, which also pack a ton of vitamins, minerals and helpful phytochemicals. According to the FDA, “Studies in various parts of the world indicate that populations who habitually consume a diet high in plant foods have lower risks of some cancers.’ What’s more, the fiber you’ll get will probably help curb your hunger!
4. Probiotics and Prebiotics
Research continues to show that immunity is directly linked to having a healthy GI tract; and when taken together probiotics and prebiotics may be a powerful prescription for optimal health. A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition finds a probiotic supplement may even help women lose weight, which may in turn help to lower the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Prebiotics are the lessor known “sibling” to probiotics, but also have implications for improved gut function and healthier immune function. In a recent published study, EpiCor was shown to act like a prebiotic in a sophisticated gut health model.
Probiotics and prebiotics are found in many foods but you may want to consider taking supplements, including EpiCor for an extra dose of immune strength.
5. Healthy fats
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is essential for a healthy diet because they help with blood flow, brain development, and may protect your heart as well. Salmon (canned is just as healthy as fresh), avocados, olive oil, walnuts, and flaxseed are some of my favorite choices. You can also take an omega-3 supplement, but be sure to ask your doctor if you need it.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my “surprising five.” What health-promoting idea have you discovered?