One of my biggest pet-peeves is reading about foods that are good for me, but are so unappealing to my taste buds. I always imagine myself holding my nose and eating whatever it is, so that at least I get the health benefits. But I know I’m sacrificing taste for health. So I came up with the following list of my favorite (healthy) foods, which also happen to help boost the immune system… and I promise you won’t have to hold your nose!
1. Lemons restore the body’s acid-alkali balance, maintaining natural pH levels that support healthy bacteria instead of viruses that thrive in acidic conditions.I love them in ice water in the morning…before my coffee!
2. Garlic is an “edible antibiotic” that seems to cure many ailments, particularly when raw. It especially targets H.pylori – the bacteria associated with ulcers and stomach cancers. I started using fresh garlic a few years ago, and I add it to almost everything I cook. It does not leave you with great smelling breath, however!
3.Greek-style yogurt contains live and active cultures which are good yeast-minimizers. Be sure to look for low or fat free varieties because Greek style yogurt has more fat and calories, however it has less sugar (plain and vanilla especially) and lots more protein than regular yogurt. An awesome breakfast for kids (and adults) is yogurt with granola and blueberries or strawberries.
4. Watermelon is one of my favorite foods to eat in the summertime, but I didn’t think it was all that nutrient-rich, just water-filled. I was wrong…it is full of glutathione, which is known to strengthen the immune system so that it can better fight infection.
5. Almonds or Brazil nuts are a good source of protein and (Brazil nuts especially) are full of selenium, an antioxidant that helps to rejuvenate the immune system. This mineral increases natural killer cells and mobilizes cancer-fighting cells. I find that a handful of nuts is a great way to satisfy and curb the hunger that hits me mid-morning.
6. Grapefruit is full of vitamin C and flavonoids (chemical compound that has been found to boost the immune system). I’m always sad when summer fruits go out of season… but grapefruit gives me something to look forward to! My kids love grapefruit too, so it’s hard to keep around.
7.Lentil beans contain the necessary daily protein required for a healthy immune system. Actually they are second only to soy beans in protein content. Lentils also have cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, as well as about twice as much iron as other legumes. And lentils are higher in most B vitamins and folate, which is especially important for women of childbearing age because folate reduces the risk of birth defects. Lentils are rather tasteless, however they happily take on the flavor of whatever spices are added. I love curried lentils served as a soup or over brown rice!
8. Broccoli is probably one of the easiest veggies to find and to incorporate into meals all year long. It’s the one vegetable ALL my kids like. All I do is steam it and add Janes Krazy salt (not the healthiest salt mixture probably, but certainly the tastiest). Broccoli is full of nutrients that protect the body from damage . It’s also a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and glutathione.
9. Sweet potato is not as well liked in my family as broccoli. In fact I usually only buy a few at a time because I am the only one who eats them (except Sam who liked the baby jar variety). But I add it to my list because it is packed with nutrients and totally yummy when baked and buttered (or I use Smart Balance) with Janes Krazy salt (I use it with practically everything). Sweet potatoes are a favorite snack of mine. They are loaded with beta-carotene (which mops up damaging free radicals), and vitamin A. I love sweet potato fries too, but haven’t sold those on my family yet, either! They really don’t know what they are missing!
What foods would you add or subtract from this list?