5 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

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Source: Sara Siskind

With the cold winter months here, we find ourselves spending more of our time indoors and hibernating from the harsh weather. This is the time of year people are more susceptible to colds and the flu.  One reason is that viruses tend to live longer in cold air. Also, being indoors leaves us closer in proximity to others where germs can spread more easily from person to person. Since part of our wellbeing depends on how we treat ourselves, now is the time to fuel our bodies with immune boosting vitamins and minerals found in a whole food diet.  Prevention is key! Sara Siskind, Certified Nutritional Health Counselor and founder of Hands on Healthy has come up with 5 of her favorite immune boosting foods has come up with 5 of her favorite immune boosting foods you can add into your diet to help you feel your best all winter long no matter if you’re trapped indoors, traveling, or just in your day-to-day activities. 

1. Eat colorful fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals. Reach for red and pink grapefruits, oranges, kiwis, and berries. Choose cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. These fruits and veggies are not only loaded with essential vitamins and phytonutrients, but they are also rich in antioxidants which give your immune system a boot and help build up your digestive track.

2.     Add in pistachios as a heart healthy, protein rich snack. Pistachios are also rich in antioxidants and the heart healthy fats to help your body absorb vitamin E.  Vitamin E is needed by the immune system to fight off invading bacteria. Pistachios are also rich in vitamin B6 which also helps prevent infection and create healthy red blood cells your body needs. Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites are an easy way to eat pistachios on the go or simply adding to your lunch bag.

3.    Look for omega 3 fatty acids and selenium which are found in shellfish, salmon, mackerel, and herring.  These foods help white blood cells produce a protein which helps clear flu viruses out of the body. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body by clearing the lungs pathways. This can help protect from colds and respiratory infections.

4.     Make yogurt your go-to breakfast or snack. Yogurt contains probiotics; “healthy bacteria” that your body needs to keep your immune system strong and keeps your digestive free of disease-causing germs.  Yogurt is also filled with protein that keeps your body energized and strong.

5.     Spice up your food with turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon.  These spices are especially known to contain antioxidants that help to protect your cells and keep inflammation in the body down.  I add turmeric to soups, eggs, rice, and poultry. Fresh grated ginger brings warmth to any beverage. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and easily added to anything you bake.

Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind is the founder of Hands On Healthy, cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York. Sara has dedicated her career to educating clients on how food and lifestyle choices affect health, and how to make the right choices to look and feel your best each day. Sara translates unnamed-1the complexity of integrated nutrition into usable tools with easy-to-cook recipes that appeal to the entire family. Sara counsels privately to offer highly customized health and nutrition plans for her clients. She also works with parents on shopping and cooking smarter to create healthier homes. In addition, she teaches beginner to gourmet cooking classes with her signature “toss it in” approach. In addition, Sara regularly works with corporations and non-profit organizations to lead workshops and lectures on healthy eating.

Website: www.sarasiskind.com

Sara Siskind’s 7 Pantry Staples

unnamedAre you trying to keep your healthy eating habits on track, but always seem to accidentally veer off course? Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind, has pinpointed a big reason – it’s your pantry! Stocking your cupboard with healthy options can help you stay on the path to success! Sara gives us the 411 on her Top 7 Pantry Staples for Quick and Healthy Cooking. Armed with these essentials, it’s easy to stick to your goals. With these simple ingredients, anyone can whip up healthy and delicious meals on the fly!

Sara’s 7 Pantry Staples

1. Legumes – I love having an assortment of dried or canned beans to create a quick protein and fiber filled dish. Toss them in salads, soups, dips or even bake with them. They are loaded with cancer fighting chemicals, good for your heart, and cleans out the digestive track.

2. Herbs and Spices- Cayenne pepper helps to stimulate your metabolism, cinnamon keeps your blood sugar stabilized, turmeric anti-inflammatory, ginger eases digestion, sea salt, dried thyme, mint and rosemary for lots of flavor.

3. Pistachio Chewy Bites, Raw Nuts and Seeds – Nuts are my go to for a quick, healthy snack. I love chopping up Pistachio Chewy Bites and adding them to my salads and quinoa to make a simple dish into a fabulous, tasty one you can serve yourself or even at your next dinner party.

4. Whole Grains-Quinoa, Brown Rice, Millet and Oats – take the lead for naturally gluten-free grains that give you protein and fiber giving you quick energy and fiber to keep you full.

5. Low Sodium Organic Broth – either Chicken or Vegetable. Create quick soups, use for light sauteing, or even to cook your whole grains in. Adds taste without adding in calories.

6. Heart Healthy Oils – my favorites are Extra Virgin Olive Oil- to use in dressings or light sauteing, Coconut Oil for high heat and a hint of flavor and Grapeseed Oil for high heat with neutral flavor.

7. Dark Chocolate – dark chocolate covered nuts are fantastic for satisfying your sweet tooth without spiking your blood sugar. The nuts help to slow down the absorption of sugar, keeping your blood sugar levels even.

unnamed-1Sara Siskind is a Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara and is the founder of Hands On Healthy, cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York. Sara has dedicated her career to educating clients on how food and lifestyle choices affect health, and how to make the right choices to look and feel your best each day. Sara translates the complexity of integrated nutrition into usable tools with easy-to-cook recipes that appeal to the entire family. Sara counsels privately to offer highly customized health and nutrition plans for her clients. She also works with parents on shopping and cooking smarter to create healthier homes. In addition, she teaches beginner to gourmet cooking classes with her signature “toss it in” approach. In addition, Sara regularly works with corporations and non-profit organizations to lead workshops and lectures on healthy eating.

Website: http://www.sarasiskind.com