Tag Archives: immunity

Foods and Supplements for Healing

 Hi there! In case you were wondering, I was unable to blog last weekend because I was finishing up my first law school brief ever.  Suffice it to say, I was running on very little sleep that weekend—as I’m sure were all of my peers—and now I’m feeling the sniffles coming on to pay me back for it. So that means it is time to get proactive and beat it before it gets worse. Thank you Washington for giving me a full three days to recover! Here is what I’m using.

 

Elderberry

Elderberry is a very powerful fruit that has several antioxidants and helps boost the immune system. Although I’ve never been able to find it in its natural form, pharmacies produce a form of it called Sambucol, which you can find at any CVS or Duane Reade. I’ll take a tablet the second I feel a cold coming on. Be careful not to overdo it though. Since it doesn’t come in its natural form, there is often added sugar, which in large quantities can counteract the benefits of the extract.

 

Ginger

I remember when I was teaching elementary school and feeling sick all the time, my friend and self-studied health expert Amelle would take out a small piece of ginger and tell me to place it under my tongue for half an hour. Sounds crazy, but I’d feel better immediately! This is because ginger has tons of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that have been utilized by several civilizations for years.  The gingerol and shogaol components help relieve stomach pain, while its volatile oils have been proven to reduce the production of mucus. Although I don’t think I have the guts to walk around with ginger under my tongue all day (you elnd up tarking like dis), I drink tons of ginger tea and put ginger in my green juice whenever I’m feeling under the weather.

Garlic

Garlic is composed largely of a compound called allicin, which acts as an anti-fungal and antibacterial.  Unlike prescription antibiotics, your body will not develop a natural resistance to this compound, which means you can eat as much of it as often as you like. In order to make sure you are gaining all of the benefits, make sure to mince it, as the allicin becomes active in response to the deterioration of tissue. I personally make myself a big batch of garlic soup seasoned with cayenne pepper, saffron threads, and cumin. If you’re an egg-eater (I personally try my best to stay away for ethical reasons, but I understand that they have several nutritional benefits) you can throw a beat egg and gluten-free bread in there for extra taste.

Olive Leaf

Olive leaf has several antioxidants—including Oleuropein, Hydroxytyrosol & Tyrosol. The most powerful of these is oleuropein, which acts as a natural antibiotic. Unlike prescription antibiotics, oleuropein only inhibits the production of bad bacteria, leaving good, digestive bacteria intact. When I’m feeling sick, I take 4 tablets of Nature’s Way Olive Leaf in the morning and 4 at night.

 

NAC

From bad skin to indigestion to sickness, this stuff treats everything! NAC is short for N-Acetyl Cysteine, and is a supplement form of Cysteine, a naturally occurring amino acid. It helps to produce glutathione, which not only detoxifies the liver, but also helps rebuild muscle tissue. In addition, it also lessens the production of mucus, keeping me from coughing up a storm during my 9AM lecture!  I like to take two tablets of 500mg NAC in the morning and two at night.

Stay Away From Refined Sugar

Studies have shown that eating too much refined sugar feeds yeast in the colon, which results in an overproduction of yeast, which messes up the digestive system. As a response, your body needs to exert an extra amount of energy to digest food and to fight against yeast that can leak into other parts of your body. This gives less energy for your body to fight against illness. So give your body a break and let it devote its energies to fighting the illness!

Avoid Casein and Gluten

Gluten and Casein are components that are found in wheat and dairy products, respectively. They both have glue-like properties; casein, in fact, is used to bind paint. Studies suggest that casein and gluten have similar binding effects on our bodies by thickening mucus, making it harder for our bodies to dispel it and leaving us feeling congested. Better to stick with almond milk or gluten-free bread if you really have a craving

I know these tips will help you feel better in no time. Happy President’s Day!

Sugar: You Might Be Consuming More Than You Think

When you think of sugar, what is the first food you think of? Chances are, you’re thinking of chocolate, sour-patch kids, or lollipops. Perhaps you only consume one of these things a day—or maybe you stay away from them altogether. But that doesn’t mean you’re completely in the clear. Sugar is everywhere.  It comes in most pasta sauces, ketchup, yogurts, granola bars, and even dried fruit. If you’re not careful, you could unknowingly consume it in unhealthy quantities, creating serious health risks, such as obesity, impaired immune functioning, and indigestion. So what can you do? Here are some tips for being smart about your sugar consumption.

Become a Label Expert

Just because it doesn’t say “sugar” doesn’t mean that it’s not in there. Sugar can come under many disguises—malt extract, molasses, cornstarch, dextrose, maltodextrin, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, evaporated cane-juice, sorghum syrup—and these are just to name a few. Personally, if I see a foreign ingredient on a label while grocery shopping, I avoid it altogether until I’ve found some research proving that its safe. I highly suggest you do the same–you are the only one in control of what goes in and out of your body!

Avoid Flavored Drinks

A lot of people on diets think that turning to 0 or low-calorie drinks is a safe and effective way to lose weight. However these drinks tend to be the biggest sugar bombs of all! Take Vitamin Water, for example. The drink boasts only 50 calories, but the primary ingredient is crystalline fructose, which is basically the same thing as high-fructose corn syrup. Other flavored drinks, like Chrystal Light and Coke Zero contain harmful sweeteners such as aspartame (or as Coke Zero calls it,”sweetener 951″) which increases sugar cravings. You’re much better off sweetening water with a citrus fruit and stevia!

Make Your Own Pasta Sauce 

Pasta sauce is one of the biggest sugar offenders. But who wants pasta sauce with tons of sugar anyways? I know when I think of pasta sauce, I think of freshly grown vegetables blended together outside of an Italian garden; not man-made table sugar! Here are two pasta swaps I use.

Don Bruno’s Marinara Sauce: This stuff is great! Its ingredients are whole peeled tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, black pepper, and sea salt. I can pronounce every single one of these ingredients and no sugar!

Homemade pasta sauce: Place six tomatoes in boiling water for one minute. Chop two of the tomatoes and mix the rest of them in a blender, without the skin. Cook garlic, onion, and peppers in oil (I recommend avocado oil). Then mix all of the ingredients together with basil, oregano, and parsley and leave it under low heat for about 10 minutes. Flavor with sea salt and pepper. Buonissimo!

Swap out Store-Brand Dressings 

Most dressings will list sugar as one of the first two or three ingredients, which means that it makes up the majority of the recipe. Fat-free dressings tend to be the biggest culprit of this. Get rid of them and make your own instead! Here’s one of my favorites.

Tahini Dressing:

Mix tahini, soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari) olive oil, apple-cider vinegar, 1 garlic clove, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Add sea salt and pour over your favorite salad.

Use Frozen Bananas To Make Your Own Fro-Yo 

Although bananas do have sugar, they are a much better option than the refined sugar you will find in “healthy” frozen yogurt options. Their have lots of fiber, which prevents spiked insulin levels and are full of essential vitamins and minerals, whereas refined sugar is depleted of all these in the manufacturing process. Just take one frozen banana and spin it in a food-processor. Add cinnamon and a bit of almond milk if you want to make it creamier, and you’re done! Much better than tasti-d-lite!

Once you realize how present sugar is in all of our food products, it can be very annoying to realize just how many swaps you need to make! Just remember to stick with it, and feel free to ask me for any further sugar-swap suggestions here or by email. I am happy to help. Good luck and happy eating!