As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise, many people are looking for ways to stay healthy.
Hand-washing and social distancing can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. But, what if you could do more? It turns out you can.
According to holistic nutrtionist Jordana Hart, founder of I Hart Nutrition, making healthy lifestyle choices – especially those that improve your diet and sleep – can give your immune system an advantage.
Immune Supporting Foods
In this installment of Eat Well To Age Well we look at some immune-supporting “superfoods” that you can pile on your plate this winter:
Apples: We’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. This may be because apples are a significant source of soluble fiber (daily consumption is said to reduce LDL cholesterol by 40%); they’re also rich in potassium and vitamin C. Moreover, apple skin contains an antioxidant called quercetin that provides antihistamine and anti-inflammatory support.
Blueberries: Also known as the king of antioxidants, blueberries are packed with vitamins C and K, as well iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Regular consumption has been linked to maintenance of brain function, primarily due to high flavonoid levels. Blueberries are also a good source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease and adds bulk to your diet, which may help you feel full faster.
Cherries: An antioxidant provides this small fruit with a vibrant color, but also gives it significant inflammation-reducing and triglyceride-lowering power. Containing a significant amount of melatonin, cherries may help people get a good night’s sleep.
Grapes: In addition to its abundance of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that helps promote heart health, studies have shown that grapes can slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Asparagus: High in lycopene – thought to play a role in preventing prostate cancer, heart disease, and macular degeneration – asparagus also helps the immune system with its plentiful supply of vitamin A.
Broccoli: It’s almost become a cliché, but broccoli could very well be considered a miracle food. With plentiful fiber, vitamins A, C, B9, and K, just about every aspect of your body is directly benefited. New research suggests that broccoli may also help aid in reducing the risk of certain cancers. What’s more, it contains nutrients that protect the eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts.
Butternut Squash: Loaded with beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, this winter squash is important to immune function. Butternut squash is also high in potassium, which can help keep your blood pressure in check. And, because of its high fiber, it helps to maintain stable blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.
Kale: Kale is high in Vitamin K, a vitamin that helps your blood to clot when you are bleeding. Vitamin K also helps to build strong bones. And, whether it’s prepared raw or cooked, these leafy greens are an excellent source of iron and fiber.
Yogurt & Probiotics: Researchers continue to find evidence of a relationship between probiotics and the development of the immune system. When taken regularly, probiotics can help balance gut health and keep the digestive system functioning normally. As we age, the natural levels of healthy bacteria decline. Plain yogurts with “live and active cultures,” are a healthy source of probiotics. If you don’t like it plain, add fruit or a drizzle of raw honey. Sauerkraut, pickles, traditional buttermilk, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha are all packed with health-promoting probiotics, too.
What are superfoods, anyway?
Many foods have alternately jumped to nutritional stardom over the last few decades. Their popularity has come about thanks to the term ‘superfood’. Originally a marketing campaign designed to help food producers expand sales, the word has given rise to misconceptions.
While there is no official definition for the term ‘superfoods’, natural foods that contain a high concentration of nutrients typically fall into the superfood category. These foods are believed to have health benefits beyond those of ‘common’ foods due to rich phytochemical and antioxidant content.
Antioxidants are known for their ability to fight against the harmful effects of free radicals, which damage DNA and cells, contributing to the process of ageing and the development of heart disease and cancer. But purely focusing on antioxidants overshadows the broad array of other important nutrients that are found in many foods.
For that reason, All Seniors Care’s team of chefs rely on the sound advice of our dieticians to design meals, and meal plans, that focus on maximizing the health of individuals in our retirement community. Meals are delicious and packed full of nutrients – think of them as “super plates”!
Remember, for protection against influenza and COVID-19, following hand washing recommendations and social distancing recommendations is key to reducing, instead of adding to, the work your immune system has to do to protect you.
If you’re considering senior living options that makes healthy lifestyle a priority, explore our web site to find a residence near you!