Feliz Noviembre, BL Family!
If you’re completely sold on Airborne and other commercial methods for staying cold and flu free, please allow me to warm you up to the notion of “comer por tu vida” or eat for your life. I prefer the word vida (life) over salud (health) because eating to be healthy is not a sustainable suggestion. To eat for your life means you eat healthy for life, an investment in You. The fall and winter months do not come without consequences, and it’s important to know your food allies in the process. They will guard your body’s frontlines of defense aka your immune system, in ensuring that you’re ready to fight -and win.
You recently heard my comrad and yours, Eric Cortes, mention in his blog Healthy Eating Lifestyle – Local Foods? that we can think of eating organic foods as, “leading a longer, lasting healthy life.” and I support Eric’s statement wholeheartedly. With that said, here are some foods you’ll want to explore to help build your immunity.
Eat oranges. Increase your daily intake of vitamin C intake to 1000-2000 milligrams. Vitamin C ensures you increase an important blood protein agent known as immunoglobulin, produced by the immune system.
About those vitamins and minerals… before you think of that bottle of one-a-days, you can find these immunity builders in squash (also grown locally), legumes such as lentils and beans, and fish (wild caught) and lean meats.
Beta carotene is another great source to turn to for immunity building because it increases infection fighting cells. Carrots, sweet potatoes, cilantro, spinach, squash (pumpkin and butternut are currently in season!) kale, and cilantro are all great.
Our good friend, Ginger/gengibre… he’s a root, not cute, but my is he ever helpful! Ginger helps fight congestion. Try it as a tea by simply cutting off a 1-2 inch segment and bringing it to a boil in a pan of water. Ginger is itself an antioxidant, wards off congestion, is a natural antibiotic, speeds up the healing process of any cold regimen you’re on and kills bacteria!
Garlic is an important cooking ingredient across Latino cultures. Needless to say, its natural properties of spice draws us to it. It is responsible for acting as yet another supporter for your line of defense.
An apple a day? Don’t miss that local apple picking opportunity. If you have, don’t worry, just make it to your fruit stand and don’t miss out on the fiber that apples have to offer. They’ll clear your system and are a refreshing treat, with or without the caramelo on top.
Pumpkin seeds/pepitas are packed with Vitamin D and omega-3 fats. They are great for fighting depression. If you’re down during the cloudiest of winter days, consider eating them. Be sure they are naturally roasted and/or salted.
Find an outdoor activity that you can walk or jog to during the winter months. Whether it’s a brisk walk daily to get your morning paper or thirty minutes a day for three days a week on a treadmill at your favorite fitness center, just do it! Your body will release toxins through perspiration and therefore, also be prepared for the day’s activities with a huge natural energy boost!
Still loving that warm cafecito? Increase your water intake with every demitasse! Did you know that in Europe, espresso is served with a tall glass of water? Here’s why: caffeine is a natural diuretic, meaning it drains the body of water. If you are dehydrated, your body will be vulnerable to attack by the common cold and flu. So, drink up. The minimum requirement is 6-8 glasses, but we can do better than that, right?
As you can see, the benefits to the body exceed commercial promises by far. Need a guide to get your 5 cups of immunity builders daily? I downloaded this seemingly elementary guide from a supermarket chain called Wegmans. It’s very simple to use, and I’m sure there are many like it out there. Take your own steps towards eating for your life, y ¡Cuídate, Latino!
(Consult your healthcare practitioner if you have allergies, are pregnant, or have other health concerns before making changes to your diet.)